ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke out Wednesday regarding the Joint Commission on Public Ethics or JCOPE investigation involving the sexual harassment charges against Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the circumstances surrounding the Assembly's decision sign off on a $135,000 settlement with two of his alleged victims.
Cuomo defended their work and the fact that its work has remained private.
Aside from saying its members unanimously voted to start that probe, they haven't offered specifics.
"How can the Assembly police its own house? We're much better off than we were," Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
It was the first time the Governor has spoken out about COPE and its ongoing investigation publicly.
The watchdog entity started about nine months ago and replaced the Commission on Public Integrity.
Cuomo explained that its secrecy is needed to allow JCOPE's members to discuss matters freely and insisted that counter to what some have said, Albany is changing for the better.
"Inarguably better! Government is functioning, government is functioning better than its functioned in decades," Cuomo said.
Still, the Governor left the door open to changes; reminding reporters that this is the first time JCOPE has really had to handle an investigation of this nature and on this scale, which puts it directly in the spotlight.
"Let's see how it works. Do I believe we'll come up with tweaks that can be improvements, of course I do!" Cuomo said.