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Cuomo Appoints New JCOPE Chair as DiFiore Resigns

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The state ethics panel tasked with policing corruption in Albany has a new chairman.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed Daniel J. Horowitz as chair of the Joint Commission On Public Ethics. He replaces Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who resigned and is preparing for her relection campaign in November. 

The apointment of DiFiore, an elected official who raised compaign cash, as JCOPE chair, created a fair bit of controversy. 

Politics on the Hudson pointed out that DiFiore's fundraising took off after her appointment as JCOPE chair. A number of those contributions came from elected officials.

A JCOPE spokesman told Politics on the Hudson at the time that they were vigilant about who they accepted cash from and that DiFiore would return money. “If someone raises something that gets by and it’s appropriate, then the money would be returned," the spokesman said. 

JCOPE members are not banned from accepting political contributions but its statute does prevent members “from making, or soliciting from other persons, any contributions to candidates for election to the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, member of the assembly or the senate, attorney general or state comptroller.”

Horowitz praised Cuomo and DiFiore in a statement: "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.”

JCOPE's new chair Horowitz was appointed to JCOPE by Cuomo in December of 2011 and is currently a partner at Lankler Carragher & Horwitz, LLP. He previously served as New York County asistant district attorney for a decade. 

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Guest Wednesday, 10 February 2016