Official SEAL of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government

Commission Members

Commission Structure
Independent Review Committee

The Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government consists of 11 members with staggered four-year terms. The breakdown of nominations/appointments to the new Commission is as follows:

  • the Governor (3);
  • Senate President and Majority Leader (2);
  • Senate Minority Leader (1);
  • Assembly Speaker (2);
  • Assembly Minority Leader (1);
  • the Comptroller (1); 
  • the Attorney General (1).


Instead of elected officials making direct appointments to the Commission, as has historically been the case, the Ethics Reform Act of 2022 created the Independent Review Committee (“IRC”) comprised of the Deans of the State’s 15 law schools to determine whether or not nominees should be confirmed for appointment.

Commission members appoint an executive director who serves a four-year term and is responsible for carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the Commission.

More information on the IRC can be found at


Frederick Davie

Frederick Davie is Senior Strategic Advisor to the President at Union Theological Seminary, where he had served as Executive Vice President for a decade. As Senior Strategic Advisor, he provides counsel on public programming, racial justice and racial equity, and social justice and community engagement.

Mr. Davie is also a Senior Advisor for Racial Equity at Interfaith Youth Core.

As Executive Vice President at Union, Mr. Davie was the institution’s chief administrative officer and served as an advisor to the President on strategic planning, institutional advancement, and vision implementation. He also served as the administrative liaison for all work of the President, coordinating the efforts of executive office staff and senior staff in relation to the President. Over his ten-year tenure, Mr. Davie recruited Trustees with a vision for the future; supported the recruitment of world-class students; assisted with maintaining a stellar faculty; recruited and hired committed and highly competent staff; improved community life; coordinated a committee of Trustees and executive staff to develop and implement a plan to address the campus’ infrastructure needs; resourced the creation of a critical path to financial sustainability; and enhanced Union’s voice and presence in the public square.

Mr. Davie is a Commissioner and Interim Chair of the New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. He was nominated for the Commission by Governor Kathy Hochul and confirmed by an Independent Review Committee comprised of deans of law schools in NY State. The Commission was created to restore public trust in government by ensuring compliance with the State’s ethics and lobbying laws and regulations. It has jurisdiction over more than 250,000 officers and employees at State agencies and departments, including commissions, boards, State public benefit corporations, public authorities, SUNY, CUNY, and the statutory closely-affiliation corporations; the four statewide elected officials; members of the Legislature and candidates for those offices; employees of the Legislature; certain political party chairpersons; and registered lobbyists and their clients.
Mr. Davie is also Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), appointed by US Senator Charles Schumer in June 2020. USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. government commission dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

Mr. Davie has served in several external other leadership roles to address public policy and social issues in the public square. From September 2016 until January 2022, Mr. Davie served as a member NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. He was the Chair of the CCRB from December 2017 until January 2022. The CCRB is an agency established by the City of New York with civilian oversight of the New York City Police Department, the nation’s largest municipal law enforcement agency. With a staff of 200 and a board of 15 members, CCRB is the nation’s largest independent civilian oversight agency of a police department.

In March of 2021, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Mr. Davie to the Racial Justice/Charter Reform Commission of the City of New York, a commission tasked with reviewing the City’s Charter and delivering proposals for charter revisions, as well as policy and programmatic revisions on the state and federal level. The Commission focused on significant structural changes to the powers, structures, and processes of New York City government that underlie sources of inequity, and submitted three NYC Charter changes to advance racial equity, approved overwhelmingly by the voters in November 2021.

In January 2021, Mr. Davie participated in the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the invitation of President Joseph R Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris and collaborates with the White House on several issues related to faith and public policy.

Mr. Davie also served on President Barack Obama’s transition team, performing agency reviews for faith-based and community initiatives, and accepted an appointment by President Obama to the White House Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As a member of the White House Council, Mr. Davie advised on strategies for more effective partnerships between the White House, federal agencies and community and faith organizations. Mr. Davie provided leadership for the inclusion of non-traditional families and marginalized populations in policy formation.

Mr. Davie has been an interfaith advisor for the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Davie accepted an invitation in July 2021 from former US Vice President Al Gore to join the Board of Directors of Climate Reality. Climate Reality’s mission is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.

Mr. Davie has extensive experience in senior-level roles in philanthropic and social and economic justice organizations, including Public/Private Ventures and the Ford Foundation. At Public/Private Ventures, Mr. Davie served as President and CEO, promoted from Senior Vice President. As SVP, Mr. Davie developed a model national program for the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons and delivered a White House keynote address on the same in 2007. As a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, Mr. Davie developed a national program to support local faith-based and community juvenile justice programs to reduce rates of incarceration and recidivism.

Mr. Davie has also served in a number of leadership roles in public administration for the City of New York, including Deputy Borough President of Manhattan, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Community and Public Affairs, and Chief of Staff (special assistant) to the President of the NYC Board of Education.
Mr. Davie’s community and civic engagement work include executive-level positions with New York City Mission Society, Brooklyn Ecumenical Cooperatives and the Presbytery of New York City.

Mr. Davie serves on the Board of Trustees of Greensboro College, his alma mater. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Center of New York. He has served for decades as a member of the Advisory Board of the Interfaith Assembly for Homelessness and Housing. Mr. Davie is a founder and past Chair of Faith 2020/Faith Forward, a multi-faith organization committed to supporting progressive political campaigns and causes.

A Presbyterian minister in the Presbytery of New York City, Mr. Davie has served the national Presbyterian Church, the NYC presbytery, and local congregations in various volunteer capacities.

Mr. Davie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Greensboro College ’78. Dean’s List and the Harold H. Hutson Award; and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School ’82, where he was a Benjamin E. Mays Fellow of The Fund for Theological Education, and President of Yale Black Seminarians. He is also a recipient of Yale Divinity School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service. Mr. Davie was a Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University, from 1989 – 90.

He lives in New York City with his husband Michael Adams, a lawyer and CEO of SAGE.
Headshot of Interim Chair Frederick Davie

Commission Member


Hon. LEONARD B. AUSTIN was appointed to the Appellate Division, Second Department as an Associate Justice in March 2009. Prior to his election to the bench in 1998, Justice Austin was engaged in the private practice of law. In 1999, Justice Austin was assigned to a dedicated Matrimonial Part in Suffolk County. Thereafter, Justice Austin was assigned the Commercial Division in Nassau County until his elevation to the Appellate Division.

During his tenure in the Commercial Division in Nassau County, Justice Austin drafted the original Statewide Rules of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court. In addition, since 2004, he has served on the Pattern Jury Instruction Committee which is responsible for drafting jury charges and regularly updated commentaries on the law. He is the author of several articles dealing with Equitable Distribution and New York City’s Forfeiture Law, as well as an article in the Banking Law Journal entitled The Impact of New York’s Commercial Division on Banking Litigation. Justice Austin has served as the President of the American College of Business Court Judges, the Theodore Roosevelt Inn of Court and Presiding Justice of the Judicial Section of the New York State Bar Association.

In the Appellate Division, Justice Austin authored numerous opinions which have significantly impacted New York jurisprudence in such areas as conflict of law; long-arm jurisdiction; SORA (sex offenders registration act); burden of proof in no-fault threshold cases; discovery sanctions; establishing the standard for dissolution of limited liability companies; declaring inheritance rights of second adopted children; rights of biological mother in surrogacy birth: tolling of statute of limitations in accounting malpractice claim; and determining vicarious liability of landlord and co-tenants in dog bite case.

In addition, Justice Austin is a frequent lecturer to the Bar in the fields of e-discovery, appellate practice, commercial and matrimonial law, ethics, and civil practice. He is an Adjunct
Professor of Law at Hofstra University School of Law. Justice Austin is a graduate of Georgetown University in 1974 and Hofstra University School of Law in 1977.

Having retired from the Bench in early 2022, Justice Austin is now an arbitrator/mediator with National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM) and is of counsel to the Law Offices of Steven Cohn, PC. In September 2022, Justice Austin was confirmed as a member of the New York State Commission on Ethics in Lobbying and Government. At its first meeting, the Commission members elected him to serve as its Acting Vice Chair.
Commission Member Hon. LEONARD B. AUSTIN

Commission Member

Ava Ayers is an associate professor of law at Albany Law School, where she previously served for five years as Director of the Government Law Center. She teaches courses on the law of government, administrative law, legal ethics, and civil procedure. Before teaching, Ayers worked for nine years in the office of the New York Attorney General, where she was a Senior Assistant Solicitor General. She served both as a supervisor and as lead counsel in various cases involving immigration law, federalism, constitutional rights, environmental law, and other issues. Ayers clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for the Honorable Gerard Lynch in the Southern District of New York. She graduated first in her class from Georgetown Law in 2005.

Ayers is the author of articles on immigration law, federalism, legal ethics, and other subjects, as well as the book A Student’s Guide to Law School, published by the University of Chicago Press. Before her gender transition in 2020, she was known as Andrew Ayers.
Headshot of Commission Member Ava Ayers

Commission Member
Dolly Caraballo

Dolly Caraballo is a managing member of Caraballo & Mandell, LLC, a general practice law firm established in 1999, specializing in Commercial and Real Estate matters. She has extensive experience handling complex Commercial and Real Estate disputes and transactions. She has litigated cases in the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern District of New York, the Supreme Courts of the State of New York, the Civil Court of the City of New York, various alternate dispute forums and has briefed and argued appeals in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Divisions and Appellate Terms.

Ms. Caraballo was nominated by New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and unanimously approved by the Independent Review Committee to serve as a Commissioner on the New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. She is a member of the Latino Judges Association Foundation Board. She served on the New York City Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary from 2003 through 2013 as Chief Judge Kaye’s nominee. Her other bar association and civic positions have included, President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, Co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Minority in the Professions, New York State Bar Association Delegate; Executive Council for the Network of Bar Leaders; Member of the New York County Democratic Judicial Screening Committee; and Member of the Office of Court Administration’s Commission to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice.

Ms. Caraballo is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and the City University of New York, Baruch College. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the Courts of Record of the State of New York.

Commission Member

Michael A. Cardozo, a member of the Commissioner on the recently created New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, is a retired partner of Proskauer Rose where he represented a wide range of clients in commercial litigation, particularly sports, matters. He also spent a great deal of his time assisting and overseeing the firm’s pro bono practice and diversity efforts.

Mr. Cardozo previously served from 2002 to 2013 under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as New York City’s 77th Corporation Counsel – the City’s chief legal officer. In that role he served as legal counsel to the City and its agencies and the Mayor and other elected officials, and headed the 650 lawyer New York City Law Department. Mr. Cardozo’s twelve year service as Corporation Counsel made him the longest-serving Corporation Counsel since the position was formally created in the early 19th Century.

Working with Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Cardozo spearheaded several key municipal legal initiatives, including working to eliminate illegal guns from City streets; seeking to prevent sales of untaxed cigarettes; encouraging progressive environmental actions; defending numerous health care initiatives; reducing by 13% the amount the City paid out in judgments and settlements; advocating for judicial selection reform and lobbying to reform local and state tort laws.

As a partner at Proskauer, Mr. Cardozo was both an active trial lawyer and counsel to numerous sports leagues. He also served as co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Department and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
Mr. Cardozo has long been active in the public sector. From 1996 to 1998, he was President of the 21,000-member New York City Bar Association. He has also served as Chair of the Fund for Modern Courts, Chair of the Columbia Law School Board of Visitors and a member of the Lawyers’ Committee of the Anti-Defamation League. In addition to serving as a member of the State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government Mr. Cardozo is presently a member of the Board of Citizens Union and the Advisory Board of Legal Outreach. Among the honors Mr. Cardozo has received are the American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award, the Citizen’s Union Public Service Award, the New York Urban League Frederick Douglas Medallion, the George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award from the American Friends of Hebrew University, and the Diversity Champion Award from the City Bar Association.

Mr. Cardozo is a 1966 graduate of Columbia Law School, where he served as an editor of the Law Review, and received a B.A. in political science from Brown University in 1963. Mr. Cardozo is married to Nancy, his wife of more than 57 years. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Commission Member Michael A. Cardozo

Commission Member

Edward D. Carni graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1982 with a BA in Political Science. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Whittier College School of Law in 1985 and began his law career that same year in the legal division of the Onondaga County Department of Social Services.

In 1986 and for the next 15 years he was in private practice of law representing clients in a variety of corporate, estates, personal injury, real estate, and other matters.

From 1990 to 1995, he served as a member of the Syracuse Common Council. In 1995, he was appointed to the position of Syracuse City Court Judge and was elected to continue in that capacity later that same year. He was a Syracuse City Court Judge until July of 2001 when Governor Pataki appointed him to the New York State Supreme Court. In November of 2001, he was elected to serve a full term as a Supreme Court Justice and in 2015 he was re-elected for another term. He has served as chairman of the Judicial Hearing Officer Selection Advisory Committee – Fourth Department and liaison for the Fifth Judicial District Article 81 Committee.

On December 22, 2006, Governor Pataki designated him as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department where he served until his designation by Governor Patterson as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department in January 2009. He was re-designated to this position until his retirement from the bench in February of 2022.

Edward D. Carni is now a partner in the Appellate and Litigation practices at the law firm of Hancock Estabrook, LLP. Drawing on his many years of service on the bench, he represents clients in commercial and personal injury litigation and appellate matters and serves as an arbitrator, mediator, and expert witness in litigated disputes.
Commission Member Edward Carni

Commission Member
Claudia L. Edwards

Claudia L. Edwards is the President and Founder of Edwards Consulting Group and is recognized as a high performance leader in government, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors. Her areas of expertise are in board development, strategic planning, organizational structure, organizational change, workforce diversity training and executive coaching. Claudia is also a Commissioner on the NYS Commission of Ethics and Lobbying in Government.

As a successful senior executive for over 30 years, Claudia has a demonstrated history of leading non profit organizations to financial stability and growth. As an assistant professor, she worked with administrators and executives pursuing their education doctoral degree (EdD). In addition to serving as chair for several dissertation committees, Claudia provided instruction in social theory, public policy, law and ethics; applied research and preparing leaders for building and sustaining a diverse workforce. Her publication, Who Stole Public Schools from the Public (2011) is recognized by researchers across the country. She is also co-author with Jerry Willis, PhD for their publication, Action Research: Models methods and examples (2014).

Claudia was re appointed for six terms by the Governors of New York—Governor Pataki and Governor Cuomo to serve as a trustee for the Westchester Medical Center (20 years). She was appointed by the County Executive to serve on Westchester County’s Planning Commission (nine years) and the Department of Transportation Board (two years). In addition she served on the advisory committee for Westchester Fund for Women and Girls (three years). She has been recognized by the New York Times as a distinguished African American in corporate philanthropy and has been awarded several prestigious proclamations and awards.

Claudia holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University; a Masters of Urban Planning from New York University, Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from Purchase College at State University of New York.
Commission Member Claudia L. Edwards

Commission Member
Nancy G. Groenwegen

Nancy G. Groenwegen has served for nearly 35 years in a variety of executive-level legal and policy-making roles in State government. Most recently, she served as Counsel to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, providing guidance to the Comptroller and his senior staff, State agencies, and municipal officials on matters related to the Comptroller’s constitutional and statutory roles.

In 2007, Groenwegen was appointed to serve as head of the Department of Civil Service overseeing operations of that agency, including administration of the State’s merit system and the New York State Health Insurance Program. Before her appointment as Commissioner of Civil Service, she held a variety of positions in the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo, including assistant counsel to the Governor, where she advised the Governor on employment and retirement issues, and Deputy Commissioner and Counsel to both the Department of Civil Service and the Department of Labor. She began her career in public service as an Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Robert Abrams, defending State agencies in State and federal court.

Groenwegen received her B.A. from SUNY Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Commission Member
Seymour W. James, Jr.

Seymour W. James, Jr. is a partner focusing his practice on criminal defense, wrongful convictions and civil rights litigation at the law firm of Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea and LoTurco. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Attorney-in-Chief for The Legal Aid Society in New York City where he was responsible for the overall operation of the Society’s Civil, Criminal and Juvenile Rights practices. Mr. James began his career as a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society and before serving as Attorney-in-Chief held various supervisory positions in the Criminal Defense Practice, including city-wide Attorney-in-Charge, Queens County Attorney-in-Charge, Deputy Attorney-in-Charge in Queens and Kings Counties, and Supervising Attorney in the Bronx and Kings County.

A leader of the organized bar, Mr. James is a Past President of the New York State Bar Association and the Queens County Bar Association. He currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors and in its House of Delegates as well as on the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Criminal Justice Section. He is a Vice-President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He formerly served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.

Mr. James has served on important State and City commissions including the Chief Judge’s Justice Task Force, the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, the Permanent Sentencing Commission, the Moreland Commission, and the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of the Center for Community Alternatives and the Queens Volunteer Lawyers’ Project. He previously served on the board of directors of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Correctional Association of New York, the New York State Defenders Association, the Osborne Association and the Queens Legal Services Corporation.

Among the honors Mr. James has received are Lifetime Achievement Awards from the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York Law Journal; Lifetime of Commitment Award from Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice; New York State Bar Association’s Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner; Judicial Friend’s Jane M. Bolin Award; Metropolitan Black Bar Association’s Public Servant of the Year; Robert L. Haig Award from the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar; and the American Bar Association’s Dorsey Award.

Mr. James is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law.
Commission Member Seymour James

Commission Member
Kaylin L. Whittinghamm, Esq.

Kaylin L. Whittingham is a New York State Commissioner on Ethics and Lobbying in Government and a Referee for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. She is the principal of Whittingham Law, where she concentrates her practice on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Prior to private practice, she served as counsel at the Attorney Grievance Committee, First Judicial Department where she investigated and prosecuted a wide array of professional misconduct cases. Kaylin served as Staff Attorney at the Mental Hygiene Legal Services in the First Department; Judicial Intern to the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable Milton Tingling, Supreme Court for the State of New York, New York County. She started her legal career in the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Kaylin currently serves on the American Bar Association Commission on IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts). She is the immediately Past Chair of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Professional Discipline Committee. Kaylin served as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics; The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Council on the Profession Committee and Litigation Funding Task Force; the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Ethics Compendium Board of Advisors; and Secretary of the Ethics and Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New York Chapter.

Kaylin served as President of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and Board member of the National Bar Association’s Board of Governors. She served as member of the Network of Bar Leaders’ Executive Council, and the New York State Bar Association’s Nomination Committee, and Committee on Leadership Development. Kaylin is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Executive Committee, a member of the House of Delegates, Co-Chair of the Committee of Bar Leaders, Secretary of the Women in the Law Section; and a New York State Bar Foundation Fellow. Outside the legal community, Kaylin serves on the Board of Catholic Migration Services and served on the Board of Unique People Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS.

Kaylin is featured in the Book and World Exhibit—"200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World.” She is the recipient of the 2016 Black Women of Influence (BWOI) Trailblazer Award; 2017 Association of Black Women Attorneys Achievement Award; 2018 National Bar Association Presidential Award; the 2020 National Top 100 Black Lawyers; and
was named a 2022 Super Lawyer for the New York Metro Area. Guided by her mantra: "Inspire. Empower. Engage."—Kaylin advocates for women rights, immigrants, victims of domestic
violence, and the mentally ill.

Kaylin is admitted in New York, New Jersey, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the United State District Court of New Jersey.
Headshot of Commission Member Kaylin L. Whittingham

Executive Director
Sanford N. Berland

Sanford N. Berland was appointed Executive Director of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government on December 16, 2022, after serving as its Interim Director and overseeing the transition from the former Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which he served as Executive Director beginning in May 2021. Prior to his JCOPE appointment, he most recently served as a Judge on the New York State Court of Claims and as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Suffolk County. Judge Berland has a long career in private practice, including 14 years with Pfizer, Inc. as well as a number of stints as a law firm partner after beginning his legal career as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge Edward R. Neaher, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York. Judge Berland is a magna cum laude graduate of both the State University of New York at Buffalo and of SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. He is a member of the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is admitted to practice in the State of New York and in various federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Judge Berland has served the community as a past president of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, member of the Advisory Board of the Jewish Community Relations Council-Long Island and as co-founder of Families Against Anti-Semitism and for Campus Tolerance.
Executive Director Sanford N. Berland
Code of Conduct and Recusal Policy