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The 14-month wait for a new state inspector general is over.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Catherine Leahy Scott to the position today. Scott had been acting inspector general.
The vacancy at the IG's office was created when Cuomo appointed then-IG Ellen Biben as executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics — a move that cause some to question whether JCOPE was actually independent of the executive branch. Biben worked for Cuomo during his time as attorney general.
It just so happens that Biben is now officially stepping down in her position at JCOPE to pursue work in the private sector. Biben's departure from JCOPE comes on the heels of the resignation of JCOPE Chair and Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. DiFiore left to pursue her reelection bid.
JCOPE has had more than its share of troubles since coming into existence last year. Its biggest case so far has languished as its report about the Assemblyman Vito Lopez scandal has remained out of public sight thanks to a request from the Staten Island district attorney, who is reviewing whether to bring criminal charges against Lopez.
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.