The Joint Commission on Public Ethics said today it reached five settlements: two involving former state officials and three involving lobbyists.
In one, Peter Kiernan, former Gov. David Paterson’s counsel, admitted he twice sought state contracts since leaving office — a violation of the two-year waiting period for those who leave state government service and then want to lobby or seek contracts. There’s also a lifetime ban against former state employees doing work directly associated with their former employment.
Kiernan paid $3,500 in fines. Kieran, now in private practice, was listed as “lead partner and counsel” to contracts being sought by the state Budget Division and the Thruway Authority.
“Public servants’ ethical obligations extend beyond their state employment, and the post-employment restrictions are an important mechanism to ensure that individuals can’t improperly trade on their prior public service,” said JCOPE’s executive director Ellen Biben(far left) in a statement. “The Joint Commission on Public Ethics will continue to enforce these critical provisions.”
JCOPE does most of its work behind closed doors, which has drawn the criticism of the media and good-government groups. It was created in 2011 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the state’s ethics watchdog.
In another case, James Ludlam, a DEC engineer, appeared before the state’s taxation department, which JCOPE said was a violation. He paid a $250 fine.
The three lobbying agreements involved: lobbyist Kenneth Plummer of Kensworth Consulting of Mount Vernon and lobbying clients Phusion Projects — which makes Four Loco, the high-energy alcohol drink that was banned in 2010 — and Metatomix, Inc. They all didn’t file proper disclosure forms, JCOPE said.