Assemblyman Charles Lavine this week criticized the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’s pursuit of a case against a rape survivor and advocate of the Child Victims Act, writing in a letter that the effort to have her register to lobby is misguided.
“This is not the kind of investigative action I intended to be pursued when I voted for the bill that was enacted into law establishing JCOPE,” Lavine, a former chairman of the Assembly Ethics Committee, wrote in the letter.
Lavine, a Long Island Democrat, added he’s concerned the investigation “ventures too far afield.”
Spectrum News, as well as the Times Union and The New York Times, reported last month JCOPE’s effort to have Kat Sullivan register to lobby over the last year — a contention she is challenging.
Sullivan, a rape survivor, paid for billboards and a plane to fly a banner over the Capitol to highlight the measure, which makes it easier for sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits.
Failing to register to lobby could result in a minimum fine of $25,000.
JCOPE’s investigations are meant to be content neutral and the lobbying enforcement agency seeks cases regardless of the issue advocacy or person. But in a phone interview on Wednesday, Lavine did not rule out seeking changes to the lobbying law as a result of the investigation against Sullivan.
“It troubled me greatly that someone who has gone through what Ms. Sullivan has gone through now has to contend with the actions of a state agency,” Lavine said in the interview.
Sullivan on Wednesday told Spectrum News the Lavine letter gave her some hope the issue could be resolved, but she said more officials should take notice.
“I need for other people to do the right thing and contact JCOPE and let them know how this feels for them as an observer of watching a victim be revictimized by a system that victimized them in the first place,” Sullivan said.