JCOPE commissioner Ravi Batra is making good on his threat to quit the ethics watchdog. He just released the following letter of resignation he sent to Chairwoman Janet DiFiore:

“Dear Chair DiFiore,

Permit me to gracefully submit my resignation to you now, effective immediately, rather than coming to Albany for a final good bye to the many good and decent people working at Jcope as well as those serving as commissioners. I will miss them all and am grateful for their friendship and public service.

I wish to express my profound gratitude to the Senate Democrats, led by Leader Sampson, who appointed me. I’m also grateful to Governor Cuomo for having pushed to create Jcope, a most noble experiment enshrined in the enabling legislation, after the failed experiment that was the Public Integrity Commission.

However, recent events have been cascading into a crescendo where I feel compelled to resign over principle. A concept that US Attorney Preet Bharara announced upon taking his public oath of office and one I have previously mentioned.

I wish you well and hope that my resignation aids in focusing attention on the need for proper policies and practices to effectuate honest and independent ethics enforcement so as to actually restore public confidence in government and public service.

I acknowledge the continuing confidentiality obligation as well as the 2-year bar. I welcome a subpoena from a federal prosecutor or a Moreland Act-empowered special prosecutor to share my experiences and impressions about the reality of Jcope in practice, for then the confidentiality bar would no longer apply, and public trust further enriched.

I have tried to serve, to the best of my ability, so that everyday New Yorkers knew that I was working overtime to honor our leaders’ call to bring integrity back to Albany.

As a matter of housekeeping, I continue to waive any reimbursement for expenses, including, travel.

I will cherish the time and effort spent with at Jcope.

/s/
Ravi Batra”

JCOPE held a special meeting earlier this week at which it voted to open an investigation into the Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal, but NOT – according to leaks that are technically illegal – into the handling of that scandal by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The commission is scheduled to meet again on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Batra’s abrupt resignation comes on the heels of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s criticism of his appointment to JCOPE by Senate Minority Leader John Sampson. Earlier today, Batra signaled that he would be stepping down when JCOPE meets next week, but apparently he decided he didn’t want to wait.

The colorful and outspoken Batra has made JCOPE meetings very interesting. I suspect not a few reporters will be sad to see him go.

I’m not sure what happens now…does Sampson get to select a replacement since Batra was his appointee? Stay tuned.