State ethics panel drops probe against rape survivor who rented billboards and plane advocating for Child Victims Act

New York Daily News Politics 6 days ago

ALBANY — The state ethics panel has dropped its probe of a rape survivor who used billboards to proclaim her support for a law protecting victims of child sex abuse.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics laid out its reasoning for accusing Kat Sullivan of illegal lobbying in a letter Wednesday, concluding that, despite its own findings, the panel would not take any action.

JCOPE general counsel Monica Stamm wrote that Sullivan faced “substantial civil and criminal penalties” and has shown an “outright contempt for the law as demonstrated by your increasingly defiant and profane emails."

But in the end the panel decided "not to take any additional action.”

Sullivan said she was surprised by the sudden dismissal and the lengthy letter recapping her correspondence with the commission.

“Clearly they’ve got some feelings towards me that they needed to express,” she told the Daily News.

Poster created by Kat Sullivan.
Poster created by Kat Sullivan. (Obtained by Daily News)

Last year, the pediatric nurse hired a plane to fly a banner over the state Capitol and bought billboards in support of the Child Victims Act, which increased the statutes of limitations for sex crimes against minors and opened a one-year civil suit window for victims after finally being signed into law this past February.

JCOPE looked into Sullivan’s spending and determined that because she paid out more than $5,000 on the effort she was participating in “grassroots lobbying.” The money used came from a settlement Sullivan received after being raped as a student at the Emma Willard School in upstate Troy.

As the probe continued, an angry Sullivan fired off a series of profanity-laced emails that referred to the commissioners as “fascists” and “rapists.”

The letter from Stamm states that Sullivan continued to send “threatening, demeaning, and profane emails to specific commissioners and staff members," calling them “f---ing stupid,” “A--CLOWN,” and stating, “F--- YOU,” and “See you in f***ing court you !@#%&*$#@!$:&$@.”

She also created an online lobbyist profile in the JCOPE filing system under the name “Kat Motherf---ing Sullivan” and listed the responsible party as “Motherf---ing pissed off citizen.”

“This is gaslighting,” Sullivan said, admitting to sending emails with some less than savory language as the investigation dragged on. “Basically this is JCOPE in five pages saying, ‘your fault, we’re going to let it go, do it again, criminal charges.’ ”

Stamm said Sullivan must register as a lobbyist and could face a minimum penalty of $25,000 if she undertakes “any future activity covered by the Lobbying Act.”

Sullivan vowed to keep fighting and plans to keep up her court case.

“This is a threat to all grassroots activism, which is the last stand against big money in politics,” she said. “They are such a joke."

The abrupt end of Sullivan’s case follows weeks of scrutiny for JCOPE over allegations that info was leaked about a closed-door vote regarding a potential probe into Gov. Cuomo’s disgraced former aide Joe Percoco. Reports of the leak led to an Inspector General probe that couldn’t substantiate the claim.

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