October 22, 1998
Mr. Gary Fusfield
1067 Park Ave
New York, NY 10128
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions.
The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your
Dear Mr. Fusfield:
I have received your letter of October 13, as well as the correspondence related to it.
You have requested an advisory opinion concerning your requests for records of the Office
of the Inspector General and the State Ethics Commission.
With respect to the former, in a letter addressed to you on October 5, Deputy Chief
Inspector Joseph W. Flynn indicated that your complaint had been investigated by the
Inspector General for the Workers' Compensation Board and that, therefore, his office would
take no further action. As I understand his response, the Office of the Inspector General did
not conduct an investigation separate from that conducted by the Workers' Compensation
Board. Consequently, it does not appear that his agency maintains records on the subject of
With regard to the State Ethics Commission, rights of access to its records are not
governed by the Freedom of Information Law, which is also known as Article 6 of the Public
Officers Law. Specifically, §94(17)(a) of the Executive Law, which pertains to records of the
State Ethics Commission, states that:
"Notwithstanding the provisions of article six of the public
officers law, the only records of the commission which shall be
available for public inspections are:
(1) the information set forth in an annual statement of
financial disclosure filed pursuant to section seventy-three-a of
the public officers law except the categories of value or
amount, which shall remain confidential, and any other item of
information deleted pursuant to paragraph (h) of subdivision
nine of this section;
(2) notices of delinquency sent under subdivision eleven of
(3) notices of reasonable cause sent under paragraph (b) of
subdivision twelve of this section; and
(4) notices of civil assessments imposed under this section."
Based on the foregoing, the records that you are seeking from the Commission are exempt
from the disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Law.
I hope that the preceding commentary serves to clarify your understanding of the
matter and that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
cc: Joseph W. Flynn