From the Daily News:
A new ethics panel unveiled Monday to root out corruption in state government is packed with cronies of the very state leaders the body is supposed to watch over.
No appointment of the 14 panel members was questioned by political observers more than that made by Senate Democratic Minority Leader John Sampson. He appointed Ravi Batra, a lawyer with ties to disgraced ex-Brooklyn political boss Clarence Norman.
Before Norman was tossed behind bars for misusing campaign funds, he served as of-counsel to Batra’s law firm. Norman also appointed Batra to a judicial screening panel.
While Batra’s selection was the attention-grabber, a number of other panel appointees have ties to those who put forward their names.
Cuomo appointed Mitra Hormozi, his former deputy chief of staff when he was state Attorney General; he had picked her to chair the previous ethics board. He also appointed Daniel Horwitz, a lawyer who formerly worked in the frauds bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office; he has donated more than $4,000 to Cuomo in recent years.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) selected his former Senate colleague Mary Lou Rath, who represented western New York for 15 years before retiring in 2008. Rath, who served with many current state senators, narrowly met the requirement that an ex-lawmaker must have been out of office for three years in order to be eligible to serve on the panel.
Skelos also appointed former state appellate division judge Joseph Covello. In May, Covello returned a ruling on legislative redistricting that was favorable to Skelos and fellow Nassau County Republicans. Covello stepped down from the bench not long afterward, explaining that pay raises awarded to judges for the first time in 11 years were not sufficient.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed Pat Bulgaro, who has held several roles in state government, including as budget director under Cuomo’s father, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo. He had previously been Silver's appointee to the now-defunct state lobbying commission.