Spectrum News | December 4, 2019 | Nick Reisman
The state’s top ethics regulator on Wednesday dropped its unregistered lobbying investigation against a rape survivor who had advocated for the Child Victims Act.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics in a letter to Kat Sullivan wrote it “will not take further action” in the case, which stemmed from her support for the measure that is meant to make it easier for rape victims and survivors to file lawsuits.
Sullivan had hired plane to fly a banner in support the law and paid for billboards.
The commission in its investigation sought to determine whether Sullivan spent more than $5,000 — the threshold that trigger’s state’s lobbying disclosure law. Sullivan faced a fine of at least $25,000 for failing to register as a lobbyist if the commission determined she had broken the law.
Sullivan is a rape survivor from her time as a student at Emma Willard, an all-girls school in Troy.
In the letter, JCOPE general counsel Monica Stamm criticized Sullivan for “increasingly profane” emails and creating an online lobbying profile calling herself “Kat Mother— Sullivan” as well as calling the commissioners “fascists.”
The commission also alleged Sullivan wrote several members “threatening that they will be forced to resign.”
“Notwithstanding your conduct, in a case such as this, the Commission can act through guidance and further regulatory clarification, or through continued investigation and enforcement,” the JCOPE letter states. “The Commission has elected to issue this guidance letter and to review the regulations in the coming months 17; it will not be taking any further action against you regarding your attempts to influence the CVA.”
The timing of the letter coincided with the commission coming under scrutiny for a separate matter in Albany: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s discussion with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie about the actions of an Assembly appointee on the commission as the panel considered an investigation of Joe Percoco, his disgraced former aide.
An investigation did not make clear who shared with Cuomo information surrounding the closed-door work of the commission. The inspector general’s office last week, a day before Thanksgiving, released a three-page report that concluded the review was unable to substantiate whether information was improperly disclosed.