New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has nominated James Caras, most recently the special counsel to the current speaker of the New York City Council, to sit on the state’s ethics watchdog panel, her office announced Wednesday.

As a nominee to the Commission on Ethics in Lobbying in Government, Caras will be presented to the Independent Review Committee, which is composed of the deans of New York’s law schools, to review his qualifications.

Prior to his work with the speaker, Caras was at the Manhattan borough president’s office as special counsel, general counsel and land use director. He currently teaches a class on legislation at New York Law School.

“The Commission on Ethics in Lobbying and Government is a crucial body to hold government accountable and increase transparency,” Hochul said in a statement. “I am pleased to nominate James Caras for the Committee's review and look forward to continuing our work to restore trust in government.”

The nomination comes as the Commission on Ethics in Lobbying and Government faces legal questions of its legitimacy. A state appeals court ruled in May that the commission is unconstitutional in that it violates the principles of separation of powers. The panel is seeking a review of the decision by the Court of Appeals.


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