Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the folks at JJOKE and MOREJOKE are like the johns in a whorehouse

Or maybe a better analogy would be they are like a bunch of District Attorneys visiting an illegal casino.

Once they throw the dice we can't trust them to prosecute the owners of the joint.

And that is what happens all too often with the appointed members of ethics agencies or Moreland commissions or blue ribbon panels set up to investigate this or that.

They come to the jobs with sterling reputations and at least some connection to the politicians that appoint them (how else could they be appointed).

And then very very few have the sack to tell the other heavyweight genius appointees that what is going on is wrong and before you know it they have taken the free drinks and comped buffet at the casino (a metaphor for all the Casey Seiler types out there) and its too late to stand up and say that what is going on in there own commission is wrong.  No whistleblowers at this level.  And we end up with JJOKE and MOREJOKE.

Here is a fundamental question.  If you believe the NY Times reporting about Cuomo interference with Moreland (and its the Times so you have to believe) what was David Soares and Kathleen Rice and the other dozen or so District Attorneys doing?  Shooting ethics craps and gorging on the free buffet of complimentary press releases.  What was AG Eric "shakedown"  Schneiderman doing? my guess sitting in the rafters taping everyone else shooting ethics craps and gorging on the free buffet of complimentary press releases and wondering how to get his name in the press releases.


And thats why ethics in Albany will remain broken.  Ethics enforcement is based on trust that those appointed to oversee it will "do the right thing"  And in Albany that means go along and get along

Trust these clowns?  Hell the dice are probably loaded in their craps game.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

That was quick

As I wrote yesterday JJOKE's settlement with David Ellenhorn and the new Ellenhorn/Boies rules for jet travel gifts seemed awfully fishy to me.   So I FOILed "any and all documents,records, depositions and relevant and requested information as set forth in the substantial basis investigation report".  Lo and behold today I got a response.  In under 24 hours I got a response . . . that is amazing.  I have Foils that are years old that they ignore.   A response in under 24 hours?  Something is going on and the response speaks volumes about how crooked this inquiry, investigation and settlement were.  The response?   "There are no publicly available records at this time conforming to your request" 

Of course there aren't.     Either they don't exist because no real inquiry was made.  As I have heard and feared Boies and Ellenhorn thru Harlan Levy got to the Cuomo Commissioners and did their best Larry Schwartz impersonation or the records exist but JJOKE will not release them because they prove the allegation above.  Either way a damning indictment of JJOKE's lack of transparency, independence and honesty.

And please don't tell me that you can not release these records because you have before.  Remember Vito Lopez?  When JJOKE wants or Cuomo tells them to the entire investigation file is made available or at least the portions they want you to see  (see

JCOPE -controlled, secretive and dishonest    and that is the best NY state has for ethics enforcement.

You don't need bleach, you don't need new laws, you don't need politicians or goo goos mouthing the words reform 


I contacted LT for her thoughts on the FOIL request   I will post it here when she calls me back

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transparency and Independance

Anytime you see or hear a politician using the phrases transparency and/or independence in the context of ethics you can be sure that they are full of shit.

Governor Cuomo and his lap dogs on the Moreland Commission are no exception.

The more Cuomo said the Moreland Commission was independent the more positive I became that he completely controlled it.

Cuomo claimed that shutting Moreland down was worth it because we got an independent enforcement counsel at the Board of Elections.  Of course that independent enforcement counsel was hand picked by Cuomo from Cuomo's staff but by god she is independent.

I have an easy test to see how independent she is . . . why doesn't she explain why the gov can use his campaign cash to buy hockey playoff tickets for his daughter and girlfriend in a private box.  In a stretch I can understand using your campaign account to but tickets for the gov and some donors to attend the game but how does having his girlfriend and daughter in attendance relate to the campaign?

And this would be a good example of the independent enforcement counsel practicing transparency by telling us all her thought process for this use of campaign funds.

Yup transparency the other term that guarantees whatever comes next is pure bullshit.

Here's another idea for the gov   if you want to prove Moreland and its staff and commissioners were independent why don't you be transparent and summon them all to Albany or New York City for a press conference where you can insist they answer questions related to what happened on the Moreland Commission.  They can all bring their lawyers who in unison can claim that while Moreland was the most independent and transparent body in New York's history they can not answer any questions while a federal investigation is pending.

Right . . . independent and transparent

And now with the gov's dad jumping in to defend junior we can add honest to the lexicon of ethics horseshit.

Enough already!!!!   politicians are a lot of things some of them even admirable but independent, transparent and honest when it comes to ethics are not even in the area code.

Every single commissioner and staff member of the Moreland Commission should be forced to testify under oath about what they knew, when they knew it and what they did about the independent, transparent and honest advice they received fron the governor's office.

And while I'm on the subject of independent, transparent and honest work by ethics agencies I have to go back to JJOKE, JDOPE JCOPE's work on the Boies/Ellenhorn rewriting of the gift ban that resulted in the Ellenhorn settlement agreement announced last week.

I've FOILed the investigation file to see what actual investigation took place.  I'm hearing disturbing rumors that very little to none actually took place.  No sworn testimony, no independent verification of facts relied upon in the settlement agreement and no independent, transparent and honest decisions related to the case.

In fact I hear that LT and the staff at JJOKE felt this was a serious case deserving of a serious fine but commissioners controlled by the governor would not allow it and the best LT could get was the settlement agreement that was announced last week and even that agreement was ghost written by David Boies and David Ellenhorn to cover up their alleged violations of the Public Officers Law.

A careful independent, transparent and honest reading of the agreement is very telling.

For example it lists Ellenhorn's long history of work as an attorney but makes no mention of what happened to the previous private firm that bore his name.   Could the troubling SEC allegations and that firms subsequent demise be the reason?  No mention of Ellenhorns failure to timely file his disclosure reports, no mention of any outside employment by Ellenhorn unreported on those tardy disclosure reports.  Trust me this wasn't Ellenhorn's first ethical rodeo but we are supposed to believe the mere admission of a violation of travel rules was sufficient punishment.

No mention in the report that Ellenhorn attended a deposition of Warren Buffet without disclosing his financial interest in Buffet's company Berkshire Hathaway and no mention that said interest was only included in amended reports after a complaint about Ellenhorn was made.

The report does mention that the travel was first raised by different counsel than Mr. Boies four years later.   Let me be independent, transparent and honest I was that counsel and the commission raised the incident with me after it was widely reported in the media.  Why make it seem in the report like it was an afterthought 4 years later?  Ellenhorn wasn't going to report it and neither was Boies because they knew what they did was wrong, very wrong.

Why did the commission limit it's inquiry into the incident as a violation of travel regulations when it was a clear violation of the Public Officers Law?

Why does it matter that Ellenhorn claims he did not know the rules for accepting free travel?

Is JJOKE going to allow the I didn't know the law defense for others in the future?

And I won't bore the readers again with how bogus the Elenhorn didn't fiancially benefit and it didn't cost Boies additional money excuse that the report now incorporates as a JJOKE rule for gifts.  By the way almost identical language Boies used when first questioned by the media.

Speaking of which why no mention that Boies lied to the media when he said he offered the free jet ride because Ellenhorn missed his flight?   Now it is because Ellenhorm would have had a long delay.   Another lie since there were flights available from Omaha to New York all afternoon, a fact JJOKE knew because I gave them the flight schedules.

And what about the ticket Ellenhorn didn't use.  Never returned to the state even though it was refundable.  The report says Ellenhorn didn't know because someone else made his travel arrangements.  Who made those arrangements and did you take that persons testimony to verify.

Speaking of verify who was Ellenhorn's supervisor at the time?  And what did he know and when did he know it?

These are important questions because now governor Andrew Cuomo was AG when Ellenhorn and Boies pulled this little travel stunt.  And you know the governors history of independent, transparent and honest management.

And absolutely no mention of the free limo ride Ellenhorn got from Westchester to NYC after the flight.

Independent, transparent and honest   don't make me laugh

Two things I can guarantee.

One - I won't stop until I find out what really happened inside JJOKE that caused certain commissioners to overrule LT and the staff and,

Two - David Boies needs to be held accountable for what happened and I intend to do just that (by the way what do you think the odds are that Harlan Levy leaves the AG and goes back to work as David Boies partner in the future?)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

David Boies and David Ellenhorn rewrite the gift rules

There is a story in the NY Daily News by Ken Lovett that says JJOKE has determined that David Ellenhorn violated New York State travel rules when he took a private jet ride from superlawyer David Boies.  BUT JJOKE is not going to punish Ellenhorn because "Ellenhorn . . . did not profit financially. It also says having Ellenhorn aboard did not cost Boies more money.
And Boies doesnt get punished at all for providing this trip to opposing counsel. 

Back in May I blogged about this trip and analyzed the law surrounding Boies and his largesse, you can read it here

Obviously I was wrong on the application of the law.  After this case I think its fair to say JJOKE is applying a new rule when it comes to offering bribes oops illegal gifts. 

Now as long as the recepient "did not profit financially" and having the recepient in attendance did not cost the giver  "more money"  its not a violation.

WOW that is a very liberal oops progressive interpretation.

Using that rule lets see how the following bribes oops gifts oops transactions would be handled.

The governor is invited to spend the weekend at a lobbyists summer home in the Hamptons and catches a ride from the city on the lobbyists helicopter with the lobbyist.  A lobbyist with say a casino proposal before the state.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction.  The governor did not profit financially and the helicopter was flying with or without him and the summer home was going to be in the Hamptons with or without the gov and its not like there is a per night cost for guests to use it.


The speaker is invited to watch a rangers game from the corporate box of a major corporation with business before the state.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction. The speaker did not profit financially and the rangers were playing with or without him watching and the private box was going to be used with or without the speaker being there and its not like there is a per person per game cost for guests to use it.


The majority leader is invited to play a round of golf on a private course owned by a corporate titan with business before the state.  And the leader catches a ride to the course with the titan in his limo.  Under JJOKE's new Boies rule there is no problem with this bribe oops gift oops transaction. The leader did not profit financially and the limo was going to the course with or without him and the golf course was going to be playable with or without the leader and its not like there is a per round cost for guests to use it since no one but the titan has access to it.

Now those are hypotheticals lets apply this new rule to actual cases from the past.

Governor gets tickets from the Yankees to see a Yankee playoff game.  The gov did not profit financially and the seats did not cost the Yankees more money they already owned them.  If I was Governor clueless I'd demand a do over on that one.   OOPS

How about the speaker getting that cool suite in Vegas from Caesars?  The speaker did not profit financially, in fact if he gambled and lost he would be in the opposite situation.  And it did not cost Caesar's any more money to let him use the suite it was already there.  My apologies to Shelly had I known of this rule I never would have put you thru the trouble.   OOPS

How about Roger Green taking that free limo to Albany from correctional services?  Roger did not profit financially and the limo did not cost Correctional Services more money they were already traveling to Albany.  My apologies to Roger had I known of this rule I never would have put you thru the trouble and caused your resignation.   OOPS

I think the point is clear JJOKE once again has proven that they are inept or corrupt or both.

In this case I think two factors were at work.

One  - Democrats protecting Democrats.  Boies is a major democratic party supporter.  Schneiderman's office is full of democratic apparatchiks.  Including Boies former partner Harlan Levy.  JJOKE's chairman Dan Horwitz allegedly has ties to those same people.  OOPS

Two - Smart NYC lawyers protecting smart NYC lawyers.  The tribe takes care of it's own.  This logic of "it didn't cost Boies extra and Ellenhorn didn't profit financially" sounds exactly like a smart NYC lawyer justifying doing something that is clearly unethical.

One last point on Boies Ellenhorn  how does JJOKE explain the fact that Ellenhorn got a free limo ride to the city and he was the only one in the limo?

Shame on you JCOPE commissioners and staff you are no better than Nixon's plumbers that claimed they were just following orders.

There is no ethical concience left in Albany.  And no shame in Boies or Ellenhorn at all.

And if you think I'm overracting read the excellent story in the New York Times about Cuomo and his Moreland Commission.   The only way to stop this is to prosecute the commissioners and staff at Moreland and JCOPE and Legislative ethics that pervert the offices they hold.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The JDOPEs are at it again

For those that don't remember last January the JDOPEs from JJOKE denied applications for exemptions from groups that did not want to disclose the source of their funding.  At that time I blogged how stupid the JJOKE commissioners were and that I could not wait to see the dissents and commission opinion explaining why the exemptions were denied.  I also predicted NYCLU would kick JJOKE's ass if they brought an Article 78 claiming JJOKE was arbitrary and capricious.

Turns out it was even easier than that.  A hearing officer hearing the appeal by the groups that were denied ruled that JJOKE . . . JDOPE  . . . JCOPE was clearly in error in denying the applications and that was based only on the record because JJOKE didn't bother to submit any additional information, no opinion other than the "we do what we want pronouncement" no written dissents nothing.   Your tax dollars at work.

The hearing officers decision was the equivalent of a bitch slap to Horwitz and the rest of the legal geniuses that engineered this fiasco.  Smart NY lawyers, the smartest guys in the room  DOPES one and all.

And you have to love Milgram's comment once they found him and the 2nd floor told him to comment.  He said this is the first time that JCOPE has been overturned.   WOW hey Milgram you asshole it's also the first time anyone appealed one of your decisions.   But I've got a hunch it won't be the last.

Do you think that anyone at tomorrows meeting will discuss this public beatdown?   My guess is all the smart NYC lawyers just act like it never happened.

I'd love to see and hear Horwitz Weismann Levine Hormozi etc justify this stunning proof of their lack of legal acumen.

Hope springs eternal when it comes to JJOKE

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

See an ethics violation dial 1-800-JJOKE

It was that time of the month again a JJOKE commission meeting.  So off I go to JJOKE.  I stopped on the way at Eggy's lunch truck to grab the areas best egg sandwich.  I got it to go thinking I would eat it at the meeting so that I at least accomplished something by sitting there.  And as usual neither Eggy nor JJOKE disappointed.  The sandwich was delicious and watching the JJOKERs looks of dismay that I would sully their very serious meeting by eating breakfast was a bonus.  For the record the meeting lasted 8 minutes the eggwhich lasted 6.  And there was HUGE news on the ethics front . . . JJOKE has a 1800 tip line and a new poster.  Thats right after 3 years they have a poster to show for all there hard work.  And they are going to distribute the poster thruout the state.  WOW that is impressive, quite the accomplishment.   One small problem JJOKE has had a tip line on their website since it was created.  I've used it and they ignore the complaints they receive.  Will the 1800 line be any different? Yes now the 2nd floor can moniter all complaints and WAIT now there is a poster too so that should make all the difference.  At what point do these commissioners all "very accomplished" people realize they are a laughing stock? a running JJOKE?

I got a small glimpse into how delusional they are when commissioner Mike Romeo left the executive session and was standing close enough for me to engage him in conversation.  I asked Mike if he thought the poster would make a difference (I did so in a serious tone of voice)  He responded that he did when combined with other efforts they were engaged in.  I then asked if he was aware that JJOKE has had a tip line on the website for over 2 years.  His look was priceless.  It is the look of a smart person who just realized how foolish JJOKE has made him.  After a little more give and take he stated the classic JJOKE line "I just want to do whats right"   So I then asked why doesn't JJOKE investigate the state democratic party for being an unregistered lobbyist as a result of there lobbying ads.  His answer "well all the parties do it"   YES MIKE THEY DO SO INVESTIGATE ALL OF THEM.

A poster thats what JJOKE thinks will clean up Albany


Albany ethics is doomed

Monday, June 23, 2014

JJOKE even when they try they come up short

It's been one month since I last blogged about JJOKE.  I've been trying a new approach rather than ridicule them publicly on the blog I've been having extensive dialogue with LT (the executive director) in the hope that some of my constructive criticism may just seep into the JJOKE executive sessions.   I doubt it does but if nothing else I no longer have to keep close tabs on that idiot Milgram and worry about what he may be up to. 

Now I think LT is trying hard within a very sensitive situation to try to do some good at JJOKE.  I don't think she has yet but she is trying and one on one without the filter of 2nd floor control and idiot commissioners she is exceedingly bright and insightful so it is fun to match wits with her.  But publicly the combination of gubernatorial control, commissioners that are only interested in following political orders or worse are not getting any orders at all and are following their own political instincts (or lack thereof) and a staff that may be the most incompetent in NYS government has left LT in an untenable position and JJOKE continues to underwhelm.

For example source of funding disclosures.

Now you could argue the policy implications of requiring the source of funding disclosure to begin with but who cares the legislature passed it and the governor signed it for better or worse.

Now you could argue that the effective date was established by JJOKE to protect the governors friends and give them time to adjust to the mistake of passing the source of funding requirement to begin with but who cares Biden did it for better or worse and Ravi resigned over it and complained  both publicly and privately to the US Attorney.

Now you could argue that once it was effective JJOKE had an obligation to enforce it uniformly but who cares they are not enforcing it at all and no matter how many times I have pointed out that Susan Lerner and Common Cause filed but failed to accurately disclose their source of funding JJOKE has ignored my complaint.

Now you could argue that even if JJOKE was not going to enforce it they should make the disclosure as painless as possible for the regulated community and here is where I started to care because last January in typical JJOKE fashion they required those filing on paper forms (over 50% of clients) to fill out an additional form after they had already filed.  Now this form was something that online filers did not have to do and simply put was an example of how out of touch JJOKE was and is with the regulated community.  But rather than blog about their incompetence I tried a new approach and just called LT and explained what her staff had done (without her knowledge) and the effect it had.  She got it immediately but then shocked me by asking what I would do if I was her.  After I sat down I told her.  Apologize for the f up.  Tell the regulated community you are sorry and don't worry about the extra form and fix the form before the next filing period of July 15, six months away (it should have taken about 6 minutes to fix the forms).  And lo and behold that is what happened everything except that fixing the form thing, JJOKE waited until last Friday to do that.  I'm sure a whole shitload of overpaid under talented JJOKE lawyers had to work on that without any consideration to how the real world of lobbying works, but after 6 months we have new forms.

Now you could argue and I have that you should not require an affirmative statement that you are not required to disclose source of funding anymore than you should have to do it for reportable business relationships.

Now you could argue and I will when LT returns my call that you don't change the forms during a filing period TH ATS JUST PLAIN STUPID.

But the part that is pissing me off enough to blog about it is the fact that some idiot at JJOKE posted the new form on the website right next to the directions for the old form that required a separate affidavit (the reason I spoke to LT in January to begin with) and I know a bunch of clients are going to file their source of funding using the wrong forms and then call me to fix it.  So LT lets find out which of your many well intentioned but incompetent lawyers fed it up this time and just apologize again and wait till 2015 to implement the new forms.  You aren't enforcing it anyway so who cares.

Now on the positive side JJOKE's recently implemented gift regulations have effectively carved out a loophole for elected officials large enough that illegal gifts may now be a thing of the past.  In the old days I would have said it was done on the orders of the leaders now... I think JJOKE just stepped on their own vestigialous appendage by accident.

One last note on the positive side this new sexual harassment hotline at JJOKE?  At least now the JJOKE commissioner's have something involving real sex to pay attention to so they can stop the ethical masturbation they have been practising for the last 7 years.