monkeeys

monkeeys

Friday, March 27, 2015

When the governor met with the goo goos

It has been reported that the governor met with Blair Horner and Susan Lerner today to talk ethics reform.  Fortunately everybody at the capital is wired nowadays and we have the radio intercept equipment to eaves drop on the meeting.

Lerner: Hey Blair isn't this cool the governor is asking for our opinion on what should be in the ethics reform bill.

Horner: Easy big fella I've been here before.  These motherfuckers will tell us one thing and then do another.  All they want is our quotes for there press release that this is the strictest ethics reform in the nation.

Lerner: I know the last 3 times we did ethics reform they had my quote written for me before the bill language was even released.  Not this time though I'm going to insist that I actually see a bill before they use the quote they write for me.

Horner: Why isn't Dick Dadey here?   That's a bad sign it must mean he's already been rolled.

Lerner: And Barbara Bartolletti too that bitch was on Moreland and didn't do squat.

Horner: What did you want her to do? tell us what she knew? It's all confidential remember that.

David Alfonso: Thank you so much for coming in I wanted to share with you the quotes we've prepared for you to release in our press release on ethics reform.

Lerner: Not so fast I'm not making that mistake for the 4th time I need to see the bill language.

Alfonso: Well we don't actually have any language but I can assure you it will be the strictest ethics reform in North America.

Horner: What will it say? you know for an administration that preaches transparency you are as open as a nuns knees.

Alfonso:It will be the strictest ethics reform in the world.  But we can't tell you what it is because you may speak to reporters about it.

Horner:  Of course we will we are good government groups we have to be open with the public.  Transparent and honest no matter how many times we fuck up ethics reform.

Knock knock and the governor peeks his head into the room.

Cuomo: How is everything going?  Alfonso get off your knees you only have to bow and genuflect when we are alone.

Lerner: If at all possible we would like to see the bill language if it's not too much trouble.

Cuomo: Not a fucking chance but trust me it will be the strictest ethics reform in the known universe.

Horner/Lerner: that will be great this is a historic opportunity for ethics reform.

Cuomo to Alfonso: How dumb are these two? We do ethics reform every year.

OK great meeting guys go tell the media that you are fully behind the strictest ethics reform in the cosmos.

So what do the pillars of transparency do after the meeting?

They tell the press they can't talk about what was discussed.

Bobbleheads one and all

Bobbleheads discussing ethics reform

I read the story about the legislature being told to return the bobbleheads they received from the Alzheimers Association as a thankyou for passing some piece of legislation the Association had lobbied for and I started laughing.

Not about how absurd Albany has become when it comes to ethics but about how willing a participant the media has become in "ethics reform".

And I get how the media has to report on the great bobblehead scandal but how about just one reporter or columnist or editor slow down and think about the larger issues this puts in play.

Here is how my thought process went when I read the bobblehead story:

Why is it a violation?

There is a specific exemption in the lobby act for promotional items given to public officials if the item is marked with the givers logo etc.  It is well settled that a Yankee's lobbyist can give a public official a baseball cap with the Yankee's logo.  A Pepsi lobbyist can give a public official a commemorative bottle of Pepsi marked with the Pepsi logo, the exemption taken to the extreme would even allow for the presentation of more expensive items like crystal vases and a governors book as long as they are marked with the givers logo, marked not for resale and presented in a public fashion (just read JJOKE's guidelines on exempt gifts).

But even if it was a violation for the public official why is the penalty only that they give the bobblehead back?  If it's a violation somebody should be paying a penalty for it.  You don't tell the bank robber to just give the money back.  (Maybe this is the natural result of JJOKE's handling of the Ellenhorn/Boies private plane scandal). 

And if it's a violation shouldn't The Alzheimer's Association have to report the expense as a lobbying expense?

I looked to see if they did and you know what I found?

NOTHING

The Alzheimer's Association doesn't show up in the 2015 database of registered lobbyists.

How is that possible?  They are a big lobbying group they know the rules.  Granted I don't represent them (If I did they never would have had to be embarrassed the way they have) but still they must know to register and report.

The answer is simple.

JJOKE has not processed there filings.  It's 3 months into 2015 and JJOKE has not processed the vast majority of filings.  A competent agency (like the old lobby commission) would have been done processing the registrations by the end of January, but JJOKE is far from competent.

And this is where it gets scary.

With all this talk of "ethics reform" I'm hearing that JJOKE will be given more power and more funding.   It's bad enough the bobbleheads in charge of New York's government are trying to make us believe the latest bullshit will be the strictest ethics requirements in the known universe now you are going to give the clowns at JJOKE more power and more money?

That's like giving the governor another sweetheart book deal.  Fool me once shame on you fool me for the hundredth time and you can go fuck yourself.

Blair Horner and I have argued for a decade about the ethics issue of change the people or change the law.  It's gotten so repetitive we just use the old vaudeville habit of referring to the joke by number rather than tell the joke.  I say 17 Blair says 28.  But now I can prove substantively that I am right.

I have statistics.

JJOKE receives approximately 5000 to 6000 registrations for each biannual period.  In 2013-2014 they got 5624 to be precise.  The vast majority of registrations are filed in the first 2 weeks of the year.  We are now 3 months into the year and JCOPE has approved exactly 1311 registrations.  That's less than 1/4 of the registrations it receives.  At this rate by 2016 you will know who registered in 2015.  IT IS A TRAVESTY.

They are approving approximately 22 a day.  The old lobby commission would average over 50 an hour.  What is JCOPE doing?

Are they oblivious to the backlog?

Nope I told LT about it a while ago.

And I know the person in charge of approving registrations, Maria Guevarra, is aware because she has complained about how much work she has to do. 

What makes it worse is that Maria is sending emails to the lobbying community warning them to amend reports within 10 days of a change to the terms of a lobby agreement but you can't amend until Maria approves your registration and she is over 3 months late in doing so.

And until the registrations are approved the public can not see how much money is being spent because the bimonthly reports can not be approved and therefor the disclosures of money spent lobbying are not available for public review.

The governor and the legislature are negotiating new disclosure requirements while the existing law and it's disclosure requirements are not available for viewing because JJOKE sucks at being a disclosure agency.

Someone should be publicly humiliated for this and I suggest the entire JCOPE Board resign over it.

Why worry about the governor's girlfriends financial disclosure we will never see it if JCOPE is in charge.

Why worry about legislators outside income we will never see it if JCOPE is in charge.

Why worry about local lobbying JCOPE can't get the state lobbying disclosure correct.

Why worry about bobbleheads when they would do a better job of disclosure than JCOPE.

I'm serious the bobbleheads are more competent than JCOPE

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What is the success rate for those bribing New York public officials?

I think it is 100%.

Shocking, I know but think about it logically.

Are bribes offered to elected officials at the state level?

The answer obviously is yes just based on the number of criminal cases that have been successfully prosecuted.

Does every offered bribe get accepted?

That answer is not as obvious.  You would think the answer is no, someone must be turning down the bribe (if for no other reason than negotiating a larger bribe).  But how disturbing is the fact that not one single New York elected official has come forward to say I've been offered a bribe and here is the name of the person that did it.

That's simply amazing.  That means every bribe that is offered is accepted.  100%. Every bribe every time.

Because if a bribe is offered and not accepted why wouldn't the trusted elected official publicly report it?

The media should poll the legislature and statewide electeds and ask have you ever been offered a bribe?

If the answer is a uniform no across the board (as I imagine it will be) then lets just stop getting so worked up over ethics reform.  Accept that every bribe offered is accepted (by the one bad apple) and everyone else is honest and hope Preet and/or your local DA can make some cases.

And it's not just bribes.

It's corruption in general.

Did you see Cuomo's response to the Senate's proposal to require disclosure on the outside income of his girlfriend?  His spokesman said they will start requiring disclosure of legislator's girlfriends (I'm assuming he was referring to their income not their status).  It's a great threat because like bribes girlfriends in politics is a given BUT if the governor knows of some particular abuse why make the threat?  You should just report what you know. The same logic applied to the Moreland commission.

You don't need ethics reform to do the right thing.  You just need people to do the right thing.

How long until someone reports they were offered a bribe?  Will it happen before the next "ethics reform"?

I can say in all my years in government I was never offered a bribe.  But with a 100% success rate can all of our public officials say the same thing?

100%

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Let them eat cake

Congats to Andy and Carl

For yet another tremendous job on "ethics reform".

New York will once again lead the nation in the scope and reach of it's ethics policies.

We will have the most transparent government anywhere in the known universe.

And government corruption will cease and a more open and honest legislature will emerge.

And Lucy will never pull away the football Charlie Brown is about to kick.

And the check is in the mail.

And Casey Seiler isn't a pompous dilettante (how do you spell dilettante Casey?).

And Carl was actually being frugal with the purchase of a $38000 Jeep, most of his friends are leasing $80000 Escalades (of course they can't make the lease payments but that's what credit cards and debt consolidation loans are for).

Just a couple of observations before I end by saying this is the same ethics bullshit Andy's been shoveling since he first ran for gov.

Our ethics laws are already sufficient but NO ONE is enforcing them (other than Preet).

How do new laws help if NO ONE is enforcing them (other than Preet).

On the disclosure of outside income when will it go into effect? and what are the exceptions? (you know there will be exceptions).  Why can't Andy and Carl actually release the language of the new ethics laws? (is it because they haven't actually agreed on specifics?).  Here is how that negotiation went:

Andy - Carl lets just say we agree on ethics reform that will make Dean and Schneiderman look bad.

Carl - silence

Andy - Great now give me a big hug for the cameras and I'll send you a set of 20 inch rims for the Jeep.

Carl - 20's? everyone else is rolling on 22's.

Andy - I'll use my campaign funds for 20's if you want 22's put the difference on your credit card.

Carl - I can't, my personal Visa is maxed out.

Andy - No Carl just use Shelly's old Assembly credit card.

Carl - (big smile) Governor not only is that a great deal but I'm happy we could get to that place.

The best part of this is how consistent Albany is.  You can count on what's going to happen.  Andy announces the latest scandal shows we need ethics reform.  He announces a simple multi point plan to solve the issue and threatens dire consequences for any that oppose his multi point plan (be it Moreland or linkage to the budget).  A little saber rattling then the big announcement that ethics reform is a done deal (and it basically follows the multi point plan but with lots of exceptions).  The media dutifully report the announcement as a meaningful event.  The co-opted goo goos all gather to praise the plan.  Blair Horner politely points out it was not everything the goo goos wanted but half a loaf is better than none no matter who bakes the bread.  It's months before anyone realizes that the new ethics reform isn't any better than the 5 ethics reforms that came before it because NO ONE is enforcing the new laws (other than Preet).  Another legislative leader is indicted and we start baking bread all over again.

No one enjoys watching the loaves of bread rising more than I do.

To quote Jean-Jacques Rosseau "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

For everyone other than Casey that means let them eat brioche.

For most legislators with less refined tastes, that do not know what brioche is, try

LET THEM EAT CAKE

I'm just wondering when the heads will start to roll.





Monday, March 16, 2015

You can't make this stuff up

My vast network of spies, informants, tipsters and rumor mongers combined with all the listening devices I've planted at JJOKE and that key I use to get in and rummage about for confidential information has reliably informed me that JCOPE is aware of and asking questions about the new speakers habit of doing his best David Paterson impersonation when he is downstate and relaxing.

Specifically they are interested in his attendance at a Brooklyn bar for a lobbyists birthday party.  It seems Speaker Heastie showed up with his trusty sidekick lobbyist Patrick Jenkins and proceeded to party like he was a regular guy . . . who didn't pay for anything.  As long as Carl has receipts to show no lobbyist gave him a gift the JJOKER's should be satisfied.  But being compared to David Paterson in your first month is not a good start Carl.  I know you've been told but appearances and ethics matter.

Now I have to laugh when I read the Cuomo camp is chastising the senate dems for not following the state's FOIL laws.  Someone please point out to the 2nd floor that if they really cared about FOIL they would tell JJOKE to follow FOIL.  After all they actually could make JJOKE follow FOIL all they can do with the senate dems is talk about it.

On that same note did you read about Skelos and Flannigan belonging to law firms that have clients that benefited from there official actions in voting on bills?  Applying that logic to JJOKE, when are the lawyers on JJOKE going to tell us who the clients of their firms are so we can check them for conflicts.  How ironic will it be when "ethics reform" occurs and legislators will have to disclose their outside income and clients to JCOPE but the JCOPE commissioners will not have to disclose their clients to anyone.  Does anyone remember Cherkasky, French, Alonso, Celli and Emery?  All ethics commissioners with conflicts in the lobbying world, hell Emory, Celly and French were even registered lobbyists at some point.

Maybe David Paterson can send a letter calling out JJOKE and the Gov for being hypocrites.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Following the Glaser model

I owe a debt of gratitude to Howard Glaser.

His recent emails have shown the Albany establishment that it is perfectly legal, legit, fine, acceptable even preferable for an individual to both represent a client before a state regulatory body and provide consulting services to that regulatory body.

And don't kid yourself it happens all the time . . . informally.

Now Howard and Andrew took it to another level if you believe the published reports of his activity (and I always do), because Howard had a consulting agreement with Cuomo's office of the Attorney General.  And it is that consulting agreement that will be key to any investigation of Glaser's activity.  How long will it take to get that document?  Do you think Cuomo had an automatic 90 day deletion policy for contracts at the Attorney Generals Office?

If that agreement exists and has not fallen prey to some other deletion policy we can see what Howard was supposed to be doing for the Attorney General.  If his activities where for his own or his clients benefit that's a pretty easy case for JJOKE to make as a violation of the Public Officers Law not to mention a potential violation of that theft of honest services law that Preet seems so fond of.

If however he stayed within the lines of separating his clients work from his consulting work good for him but then why did he lie about it?  These Cuomo types lie almost reflexively don't they?  It's a bad habit in the long run.

But back to the bigger issue of working as a consultant for a regulatory agency where you appear on behalf of clients all I can say is I told you so LT.

You see LT and I talk all the time about what JCOPE should do, I guess I am an informal consultant to her when you think about it.

And I've told LT if I am not appointed by Heastie to JCOPE (and time is running out Carl, Patrick Jenkins ought to pay careful attention to the Glaser case) I'd be happy to formalize our informal consulting arrangement, after all Glaser and Cuomo have already built the model we can use.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fear and Loathing at JJOKE

It was somewhere outside Cairo on the New York State Thruway when the ethics delusions began to take hold.  The purple mamba was cruising at double the speed limit towards the mecca of corruption, Albany, and I was looking for that rarest of creatures, an honest ethics enforcer. 

You see "in a closed society (like Albany politics), where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity."

Maybe I've lived in this town too long, maybe I've seen and heard too many false ethics gods come and go but sometimes you just have to buy the ticket and take the ride.

I'm standing in line ready to pay for my ticket to ride the JCOPE merry go round but Carl won't take my offer.  It's a short line Carl in fact I may be the only person that actually wants to take the ride.  And I've read enough Hunter Thompson to really want to experience JCOPE from the inside.  What a trip that would be.  I could become David "GONZO" Grandeau.  Their is a book there I'm sure of it.  All I need to do is get Michael Del Giudice to talk to the folks at Harper Collins and abbra cadabra I have a $1 million dollar book deal.  No royalties just a straight show me the money and as a bonus agree to kill Dicker's book and I'm off to the races.  I can probably even use the staff at JJOKE to write it.  It would be at a 5th grade level but fuck it no one is going to read it.  If it sells 3001 copies I'm ahead of some of the other great Albany authors and if the book payment is big enough I'm sure I can entice Casey Seilor to edit and proofread the work of the merry JJOKERs.  Casey is supposed to be a journalist but as I'm sure you know “Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”  Hey Casey "who's your daddy"

Speaking of which, those ethics delusions are coming hard and fast.  Am I hallucinating or did I read that the guy I'm counting on to put me on the JCOPE ride, Carl Heastie, claims to have started the whose your daddy chant at the 2009 world series?  Put aside for a moment the all too easy comparisons to Al Gore and the internet or Brian Williams and the helicopter what I want to know in my addled ethics state is how did Carl get those seats at the world series.  This is the same series that the accidental governor got in trouble for taking free seats.  Now the Yankees didn't get in trouble  but the gov did.  Must be the immaculate deception that results from that old ethics god Michael Cherkasky being the head of the ethics agency at the same time he had connections to the Yankees.  So in my full delusional state I believe Carl will put me on JCOPE so I can investigate how he got those seats and who paid for them, after all I can't see a legislator that reports $10000 in equities and $50000 in credit card debt and debt consolidation loans buying his own tickets.  This is Albany, best case he used his campaign account to pay for them.  Memo to self when I come down from this ethics delusion check Carl's campaign expenditure records to rule out the campaign account angle.  Remember Carl at the ball game 3 strikes and you are out.

3 strikes hmmm that number 3 is ringing a bell 3 . . . 3     Now I have it, 3 is the number of job offers Andrew says Larry Schwartz has right now.  Now why Andrew would say that is a good question I guess the media pissed him off saying Larry couldn't find a job and that's why he is still  on the state payroll.  Andrew says nope he is just using up accrued vacation time.  Anyone want to bet when Schwartz leaves he still gets paid 6 weeks of accrued vacation time?  I think this cheap bastard is using up the imaginary accrued vacation time he thinks he is entitled to above the 6 weeks the state limits you to, but what do I know it's strictly my delusion.  Kind of like that job offer from Durst that Schwartz in his delusions thought he had or all those discrepencies on his disclosure report that I pointed out to JJOKE.  Jokes on you Larry but if Carl puts me on JCOPE I'm going to demand an investigation of who those job offers are from.  Remember the 30 day rule, as a state employee you can not solicit or discuss job offers unless you notify the boss and wait 30 days and then not have any contact officially with the employer.  We need to know who made those job offers to determine if you violated the Public Officers Law. Comeon Larry fess up.  I can hear Larry now talking to Preet  “Jesus Creeping God! Is there a priest in this tavern? I want to confess! I'm a fucking sinner! Venal, mortal, carnal, major, minor - however you want to call it, Lord... I'm guilty.”

I'm not sure how long this ethics delusion will last Carl but for the sake of ethics reform appoint me to JCOPE fast before I sober up and go back to lampooning  all the flawed characters in Albany that have made us the laughing stock of the nation in the field of ethics and corruption. 


How many times do I have to write about the next ethics violation before the regular media does?  For Christ sakes I blogged about Cuomo's book deal being a problem in December I even told the big wigs at JCOPE to watch out because it would come back to bite them. “Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my attorney, but he seemed oblivious...”

Here's one more ethics delusion.  Andrew isn't the only New York Public Official to write a book for Harper/Collins.  The head of that other Moreland Commission, Regina Calcaterra, did as well. Of course she wrote hers when the focus was on Con Ed's failure after Sandy.  Who was on the Con Ed board at the time, you guessed it Michael Del Giudice. Why is Regina still on the state payroll?  must be using up accrued time, I wonder if she actually shows up to work.  Carl, I promise if you put me on JCOPE I'll get to the bottom of all these issues and then my delusions can become some prosecutor's reality.

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”

“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from (New York to Albany)... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”

“You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.”

I love it when fast driving and the spirit of Rauol Duke take over.

Fear and Loathing at JCOPE