Kolb: Abolish JCOPE in the wake of Lopez scandal

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The top Republican in the state Assembly is calling for the abolishment of the state ethics commission in the wake of the Vito Lopez scandal.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) thinks the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has “proven ineffective,” said his spokesman, Mike Fraser. Kolb unveiled a proposal that would replace the 14-member JCOPE with a new commission that sports five members appointed by New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

JCOPE’s configuration has led to complaints that it lacks independence. Currently, the governor appoints eight members, the Assembly leader three, the Senate leader three, the Assembly minority leader one and the Senate minority leader one.

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Kolb introduced a bill that would also impose eight-year term limits on legislative leaders, tighten restrictions on discretionary or “pork-barrel” spending and limit the use of campaign funds to campaign activities – money couldn’t be used to pay defense lawyers or make car payments, for example.

With his party outnumbered 105-42 in the Assembly, Kolb would have to get a Democrat to champion the bill.

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