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New York Inspector General investigates JCOPE ‘hot mic’ incident

The New York State Inspector General’s office is is investigating a breach of confidentiality concerning the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ (JCOPE).

At an August 26, 2021 meeting of the JCOPE, livecast audio meant to stream the opening public portion of the meeting accidentally streamed ten minutes of the closed executive session, according to Albany Times-Union. The public was able to hear discussions about the confidential investigation related to former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

In the accidentally-broadcasted portion of the meeting, an unidentified person said a vote on a “substantial investigation” would be held at the JCOPE’s next session. The Office of General Services was reportedly responsible for cutting the audio feed but failed to disconnect a cable after the public portion.

JCOPE Commissioner Gary Levine has criticized Lang’s office for failing to investigate a January 29, 2019 incident, where information about a confidential vote concerning a potential investigation into a former top Cuomo aide was leaked to Cuomo himself. Levine considers this a more serious matter than the August 2021 accidental audio stream.