Albany, NY - April 22, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today appointed Daniel J. Horwitz to serve as the Chair of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). Mr. Horwitz was appointed to JCOPE by Governor Cuomo in December 2011. The current Chair, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, will resign in order to run for reelection in November 2013.
JCOPE is an independent ethics and lobbying regulator with oversight that includes State legislators, candidates for the Legislature, and legislative employees, as well as the four statewide elected officials, candidates for those offices, executive branch state employees, certain political party chairs, and lobbyists and their clients. The Commission provides information, education, and advice regarding current ethics and lobbying laws, and promotes compliance with these laws through required disclosure filings, audits, investigations, and enforcement proceedings.
“For the past 16 months, Chair DiFiore has shown real dedication and commitment in her leadership of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am deeply grateful for her service and am confident that under Chair Horwitz, this commission will continue to hold our public officials accountable to the state’s ethics standards and help give New Yorkers the government they deserve.”
JCOPE Chair Horwitz said, “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to serve as Chairman and to continue the Commission's critical mission of restoring public confidence in our State government. I am honored to be able to help build on the progress made under the leadership of District Attorney Janet DiFiore, and look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners towards a government based on integrity and public service that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the people of the State of New York as Chair of JCOPE. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to serve and for the leadership he has demonstrated in the area of ethics reform.”
Mr. Horwitz is currently a partner at Lankler Carragher & Horwitz, LLP, a boutique litigation law firm in New York City. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Horwitz was a partner in an AmLaw 100 law firm. He previously served as a New York County assistant district attorney for nearly a decade, where he investigated and prosecuted complex business crimes in the Frauds Bureau. Mr. Horwitz was recognized in the 2009-2012 editions of New York Super Lawyers and in The Best Lawyers in America, 19th Edition, in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense: White Collar and Business Litigation. In 2012, Super Lawyers recognized Mr. Horwitz as a Top 100 New York Metro Attorney. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Horwitz served as legislative director to Congressman Thomas J. Downey. Mr. Horwitz received his J.D. cum laude from the American University Washington College of Law and his B.A. from Columbia University. Mr. Horwitz was appointed to the Commission by Governor Cuomo.
The 14-member Commission consists of six members appointed by the Governor, at least three of whom must be enrolled members of the major political party that is not that of the Governor. It also consists of eight members appointed by the legislative leaders. The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly each appoint three members and the minority leaders of both houses each appoint one member. The Governor appoints the chair from among the Commission members.
JCOPE has jurisdiction to investigate and impose penalties on executive branch employees and lobbyists. JCOPE also has jurisdiction to investigate potential violations of state ethics laws by legislators and legislative employees and, if violations are found, issue findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which has jurisdiction to impose penalties. Any potential violations of federal or state criminal laws are referred to the appropriate prosecutor for further action.
JCOPE was created as part of Governor Cuomo's ethics reform package passed in 2011 to address major inadequacies in the state's ethics system and to restore public trust in government. The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 contained some of the most comprehensive ethics enhancements in modern history, including reforms that create unprecedented transparency, require strict disclosure, and increase penalties for ethics violations.