Monday, March 17, 2014

Hope for JJOKE? As soon as Susan Lerner and Common Cause fess up

I can't remember the last time I laughed this much at a bunch of know it all limousine liberal lawyers from New York City showing everyone what buffoons they are . . . wait a minute the last time was at the last JJOKE meeting when Shelly Silver's appointees tried to rationalize their vote for 3 of the 4 groups that sought exemptions from the source of funding disclosure requirements.

But this time it isn't JJOKE that has me laughing it's the NYCBA and Susan Lerner's Common Cause report on JCOPE's first 2 years.

You can read the report in the NYLJ but let me save you the time.

After saying that the panel is not casting dispersions on the fine outstanding lawyers that serve on JJOKE it goes on for 60+ pages saying how JJOKE flubbed the Lopez report but never once notes that it was one of the reports authors, Susan Lerner, who made the original complaint to JJOKE about Lopez and Silver.  Talk about disclosure hypocrisy otherwise known as the pot calling the kettle black.  Yes Susan we get it, you are still pissed that Shelly's appointees stopped the Cuomo appointees from a star chamber lynching of the Speaker at a time when the Gov was looking for leverage.  Get over it JJOKE is your creation live with your mistake.  And speaking of mistakes just be grateful that no one on JJOKE decides to investigate that bs source of funding disclosure you made in January of 2013. 

Now I will not bore the reader with my critique of the smart NYC lawyers work in this report, all you need to do is have read my blog for the past 5 years to get the real story about PIC, JJOKE, Teitelbaum, Ginsberg, Cherkasky, Feerick, Biben, Difiore and all that went with that illustrious group of smart New York City lawyers, no I just want you to ponder one thing in the report.

They thank JCOPE, it's executive director and it's chairperson for engaging in two off the record meetings with the reports authors. 

Yes by all means thank them and then make the transcript of those two meetings available to the public for review.

Transparency my ASS.

Monday, March 3, 2014



It is such a simple word and yet when applied to New York State Government and especially ethics or the lack thereof I don't think most of the people that use it have a clue what it means.

And yes I am referring to the elected officials that announce they are going to reform this or that every press conference.  Somebody please ask them to define reform the next time they overuse it

And I am referring to the Goo Goos who can't seem to get enough reforms into every press release they send out and yet never follow up to see if the reform actually worked.  Think about it, in 2007 they agreed with Spitzer to reform the various ethics commissions which spawned Herb Teitelbaum's PIC.  Once the scandals hit PIC it was reformed into JJOKE, once the resignations and revolving door of executive directors ends it too will be reformed as part of the push for campaign finance reform.  Don't laugh this is serious important reform we are talking about.

And we in the media bear some responsibility.  Every time someone says reform our Pavlovian reaction is to dutifully report it as if the new reform is a step in the right direction.

With the foregoing in mind I've thought of a couple of reforms I'd like to see discussed.  Notice the distinction between discussing a reform and announcing a reform.  One requires a vigorous debate and the intellectually ability to support your position the other just requires typing 6 letters.

Reform #1 - Campaign finance reform.  Let's reform the system by establishing a newly reformed (see how easy typing reform is) Board of Elections to establish a donation repository.  All donations must be made to the depository who will then distribute the funds to the intended campaign accounts.  And while the repository will have the donor identification information the recipients will not.  In fact we create a reform of the Penal code to make it a felony to disclose the identity of campaign donations even by the donor themselves.  Now lets see how many donors donate because they support the positions of the candidate as opposed to the legal bribery the present unreformed campaign finance system results in and by the way no need for a taxpayer match since once we reform the pay or pray system to my new reformed anonymous system the candidates with the most support for there positions will receive the most funding.  In reality my guess is if donor's identities can not be known (no more fundraisers) it will take a lot less money to be competitive.

and speaking of taxpayers and competition

Reform #2 - Lets reform this one man one vote principal.  From now on we use proportional voting.  That is your vote is proportionally weighted to reflect the taxes you pay.  If I own a couple of shares of Microsoft I cannot expect that my vote at a Microsoft shareholder meeting will have as much importance as Bill Gates's vote.  Works pretty well in the corporate world.  You want a bigger say in how things run put your money where your vote is.

Now you may not agree with my reforms but since they are reforms they must be for the better . . . right?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Each JJOKE meeting is worst than the last

Todays meeting reached new lows even for JJOKE

It's clear that Mitra Hormozi is far and away the smartest JJOKE commissioner.  The fact that she chooses to skip these meetings is proof of her skills.

On the other end of the scale is Commissioner Renee Roth.  I've watched a lot of truly bad appointments to New York's various ethics agencies and Ms. Roth is the worst I have ever seen.  Unprepared, argumentative and confused might work as a Judge doling out work to your buddies in the Brooklyn clubhouse but it is no way to act as a JJOKE commissioner.  Running a close second is the new guy from New Jersey.  I wish Gov. Christie would close the bridge on commission meeting days just to keep this guy from proving how uninspired a choice he truly was.  Congratulations go to Marvin Jacobs he is now the best JJOKE appointment of Speaker Silver.

Without putting too fine a point on it.  If a commissioner can not attend one meeting in Albany every other month DO NOT AGREE TO SERVE AS A COMMISSIONER.

It's not rocket science to quote Commissioner Weismann who was actually in Albany,was coherent, prepared and intelligent in short the exact opposite of a majority of the JJOKE in attendance.

I originally planned a much more in depth blog about all the missteps, misstatements and mistakes from this meeting but it appears the media has those issues well in hand.

I'm just going to make an observation JCOPE has outlived it's usefulness and needs to be replaced.  It is too far gone to be fixed.  The talent just isn't there.

LT seems to be well meaning but unless you are willing to fix the problems you are just the cruise director on the Titanic.

And all the smart rats have already abandoned ship.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

JJOKE has become the home of the JDOPE's

I never thought I would say this but I agree with the NYCLU.  Nyclu stated in response to JJOKE denying their application for an exemption from the source of funding disclosure that "commission itself meets in private, is "selectively secret" and has unclear and constantly changing standards."  I'm afraid that's an understatement.

Yesterday's meeting was a rare chance to watch the JJOKE commissioners operate in public and anyone that saw it knows why these JDOPES do everything in secret.  WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT!!!!

Who appointed these dopes?

From the moment Mike Gormley of Newsday asked Dan Horowitz to state which section of the Open Meetings Law he was invoking to move into executive session it was nonstop stupidity.

Horwitz clearly does not know what the open meetings law is or how it is applicable to JJOKE.  As he stumbled and bumbled his way to his statement that they were going into an executive session under the "open motions law" (whatever that is) because they wanted to discuss confidential stuff the audience clearly saw someone appointed by Governor Cuomo for his outstanding legal talent unable to articulate a coherent response to one of the easiest question a government official trying to hide behind the closed doors of an executive session could be asked.  Here is a hint Dan next time just say you are discussing issues that relate the health and safety of donors.  It really isn't that hard.  As to the rest of the JDOPE staff that stood around with their mouths open read the law every now and then.

When they returned from their secret illegal executive session Dan stepped on his . . .vestigial appendage by announcing that while in executive session the commission acted on three revolving door applications.  WHAT you stated the reason you were doing this executive session  was to discuss confidential matters related to application for exemptions from the source of funding.  You have to stop lying to the public Dan  it just looks bad and continues to erode any faith the public has that JDOPE is not an incompetent highly partisan bunch of clowns.

And speaking of partisan next came the motions by Speaker Silver's appointees to grant exceptions from the source of funding disclosure requirements for the 3 progressive liberal groups that applied but not a peep for the right wing conservative group that also applied.  Even though all 4 groups were active on the same highly charged political issue Shelly's appointees, Marvin "the mushroom" Jacobs, Renee "forever" Roth and the newest addition from New Jersey sitting in a place of honor to Dan's left and doing his Gary Busey impersonation only were interested in granting exemptions to  the progressive liberal groups.  Hmmm I wonder what they based there rationale on?  I'm sure we will see it in there written dissent to all 4 denials.

And then came NARAL.  After a public discussion on the first 4 applications and a public vote we learn that NARAL gets to keep there exemption after a secret deal was reached, who knows what and why but they clearly got treated differently than the other 4.

When you add it all up NYCLU has a pretty easy case to prove that JDOPE was arbitrary and capricious in there application of the arbitrary and capricious regulations they passed to implement the arbitrary and capricious source of funding legislation.

I can't wait to watch the transparency that will occur as part of that litigation.

Do you guys remember when you tried to depose me and I invited all the media to the deposition and NYCLU refused to ask a single question at there own deposition?  Transparency my ass but give JDOPE hell guys you got screwed by a bunch of dopes.


As to the few non dopes at JDOPE resign your reputations are being ruined by your association with these clowns. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Black boxes and black holes

Blair Horner has recently described JJOKE as a black box.  That mythical creation that one deposits items in and they are never seen again.

I'm hearing rumors from inside the JOKE that it is much worse than a black box it is actually a black hole.  Complaints, correspondence and data are provided to staff and just like a black hole they never see the light of day again.

I've been hearing rumblings for years that staff was not providing the commissioners with information, or was selectively picking those commissioners who would be in the know and those they would treat like mushrooms (you remember Marvin how much in the dark you are kept and after watching Gary Levine shut down dissent at the October meeting how much manure is being heaped on the legislative appointees).  Now it appears under Chairman Dan Horwitz the censorship has reached new heights with only certain commissioners being shown complaints and even fewer commissioners deciding what matters staff will be allowed to pursue and how. 

My insiders tell me certain commissioners have had enough of being bullied by Dan and his minions and fireworks may be in store at the next commission meeting.  Of course with this bunch that may just mean someone will have the temerity to actually ask if they can see their own mail.

And remember Dan now has a secret ally, his new law partner and fellow commissioner Renee Roth.  You see Dan has left the law firm with his name on the door to join Ms. Roth's firm.  Not since the days of Andrew Celli and Richard Emery have two partners in the same firm been on New York's ethics commission (and everyone remembers how well that turned out).  There must be a story behind the move and I'll do my best to find out the why but it does explain why Ms. Roth has seemed so helpful to Dan when the other legislative appointees are getting mouthy about how Dan is running JJOKE, and make no mistake Dan Horwitz is running JJOKE. 

We may get a sneak peak at the divisions in JJOKE tomorrow during the first attempt to go into executive session.  And I say first because JJOKE has scheduled two executive sessions for tomorrow's meeting.  I've never seen that before.  Why two?  My guess is they want to get behind closed doors to talk about granting exemptions to pro choice and pro life groups from the source of funding disclosures contained in the Lobby Act.  Now remember the commission is subject to Open Meetings Law for any business they transact under the Lobby Act with the exceptions of those topics that the Open Meetings Law allows to be done in executive session.  Discussing exemptions to the disclosure requirements is not one of the subjects you are allowed to discuss in executive session.  Of course a tree only makes noise in the forest when it falls if someone is there to hear it.  Will anyone complain tomorrow when they move to go into executive session?  Not me its not my issue and not my clients.  Will anyone ask the JOKE to specify why they are going into executive session?  I hope the media does but if they don't I might just to see Dan's reaction.  I would hope the commissioners that have been trying to make JJOKE "more transparent" can muster the moral outrage to insist this topic be discussed in public,

The JJOKE executive sessions are a long way from transparent and there is no way to really know if the gravitational pull of JJOKE's black hole will reach that far.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Source of funding update


I spoke too soon and JJOKE is overreacting to the blog.

They have just modified the paper forms to match the electronic forms (SMART) but did so by requiring an addendum to be filed to existing paper filings (DUMB TIMING)

I get that you want to be consistent and had the addendum been part of the original csa form no big deal but it is seperate, it requires another signature by the client and THEY DID IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAST WEEK TO FILE

Are they crazy?

And no notice or announcement either.

It's like we are at a jersey shore house party and the cast forgot the red solo cups and are telling guests go out and buy your own.

Do they know how many clients will not know to file the addendum?

Do they have any idea of the additional work they just made for the regulated community?

Do they care?

Just when you think things are improving it is like they brought back the old Ginsberg crowd or the old Biben crowd . . . wait a minute most of them are still there now it makes sense.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New JJOKE Commissioner is perfect for JJOKE

So Shelly replaced Ellen Yaroshefsky.

And I think his pick is perfect.

It ticks all the boxes you would want from a New York Ethics Commissioner.

He is married to the Chief of Staff of an Assembly person so he knows what's what in the Capital.

He is a criminal defense attorney so he has first hand experience with the types of cases the Joke likes to focus on.

Hopefully he has experience with sex related cases.

He appears to specialize in freeing wrongfully convicted defendants which should come in handy with all the cases that have been sitting at JJOKE waiting for action.

And best of all . . . wait for it . . . he is a lawyer in . . . here it comes . . . New Jersey.  Hoboken to be precise.  David Paterson is rolling over in his Saturday Night Live cameo.

Which means he will drive all these smart New York City lawyers on JJOKE absolutely insane.  I can't stop laughing. . . New Jersey  whats next Chris Christie running New York?

Anyway good luck Paul and don't take no shit from those smart New York City lawyers that run the JOKE, you are only seperated by a river and a state of mind.

New Jersey . . . you gotta love Shelly's sense of humor