monkeeys

monkeeys

Monday, December 10, 2018

COMING SOON

COMING SOON

It's now December 10, three weeks until registrations and when you go to the JJOKE site for the new lobby application and try to use the new application that is what it says "COMING SOON".

But what does that mean?

Does it mean the registration portal will be available today?

Tomorrow?

This week?

Next week?

Next Year?

It's a fair question for those in the regulated community that want to follow the law (not the illegal regulations but the law)

And since the old application will not be available for 2019 registrations (or will it if the injunction is granted declaring the illegal regulations null and void) it is a critical piece of information that should be made public.

Coming soon - if you are a whore involved in a financial transaction with ex gov spitzer it means you get paid soon.

If it said "available soon" we could surmise from JJOKE's prior use of that term on the website for business relationships that it might take 3 or more years (that's how long it has been posted on the lobby query portion of the website).

But it says "Coming Soon"

Which is really strange because if JJOKE actually knew when it would be available wouldn't they tell us a specific date.  And if the application was fully tested and operational why post coming soon and wait? why not just release it and let people start using it?

Is it possible the idiots at JJOKE are promising something they can't deliver?

Coming soon? - Agata's resignation?

Coming soon? - Kind of like the check is in the mail.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Christmas Story

Many of you, at least the sophisticated, well read ones, have seen the Christmas classic "A Christmas Story"   the heartwarming Christmas saga of Ralphie and his trials and tribulations during his pursuit of the unobtainable red rider bb gun with the compass in the stock.  For my money the best line in the movie is everybody telling Ralphie that he will shoot his eye out.  As JJOKE gets ready to unveil it's new lobby application, that is unless Judge Mackey grants my petition to declare the illegal lobby regulations null and void, I am constantly reminded of the line "Ralphie you'll shoot your eye out".  You see, I've been thru a roll out of a new lobby application before, from the inside.  I was the executive director of the old lobby commission the last time this happened.  Back then Jeanine Clemente was in charge of insuring a smooth roll out.  My understanding is that even though Jeanine has retired she was hired back at the state max of $30k per year while collecting her retirement specifically to work on the new lobby application.  It took over 2 years (way to max that benefit Jeanine) but Jeanine knows what it takes to do it right.  Last time, once the application was ready (we stole it from Connecticut so all we needed to do was modify for New York) we gave it to a couple of large lobbying firms to try it and provide us feedback (Tonio Burgos was one of the firms - Thank you Tonio)  We took the feedback from people that would actually be using the system, made some corrections and then implemented the system during a slow filing time with plenty of notice for people to get used to it.  This time?  No user input, in fact I'm told the actual staff members who will be interacting with the regulated community have not even seen it.  And lets go live with it for January 1, 2019 the single busiest filing period possible.  How could Jeanine have regressed so far from her excellent work on the original system?  

One big difference from the last time.  Back then I didn't let the lawyers touch it.  We only had one, Ralphie (hence my reminder of a Christmas Story) now there are more Raphies (lawyers) at JJOKE than Bumphus had dogs stealing turkey (watch the movie if that went over your head).  No decision at JJOKE gets made without at least three Ralphies trying to shoot their eyes out.

As a result it's December 7 (pearl harbor day) just three weeks till registrations are due and we haven't seen the new lobby application.  JJOKE says it will be unveiled in early December.  JJOKE staff was originally told December 10.  Now they are being told December 17.  Not only is JJOKE going to shoot their eye out they are going to lick the flagpole on this one (another movie reference).

Why the delay?

Because the application will not work.  Too many Ralphies trying to show how smart they are and not a single one has ever actually filed a registration statement.

A simple example.  The new regulations require that any lobbyist that has a contract must file that contract with the registration, you cannot use "an authorization" unless you use the JJOKE authorization form.  OK where is that form?  According to JJOKE staffers they haven't seen it and the Ralphies at JJOKE say it's coming.  A ricchochet off the fence right into Ralphie's glasses.  How will the Ralphies handle overlapping agreements?  How about in house authorizations for employed lobbyists?  How about for Coalitions?  Remember Ralphie, Coalitions do not really exist no matter what your regulations say so how can they enter into a contract or an authorization no matter what the form.

That's the easy stuff,  I'll save the rest of my snowballs till I actually see the application and can try to use it. 

I guess we will just have to wait and see how this movie ends.  I'm hoping Judge Mackey brings the judicial cleaver down on Agata's neck.  Falalalala la lala lah.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

JJOKE Press Conference

For those of you that missed the JJOKE press conference that followed the commission meeting today I've reproduced the transcript of it for your reading enjoyment.

McClueless - Please be seated the press conference is about to begin.  Let me introduce Chair Rozan and Commissioners McAuliffe, Knox, Dering and McNamara.  The other commissioners are participating by teleconference.  Also with us today is soon to be former Executive Director Seth Agata who has been instructed to refuse to answer any questions after his last performance at a press conference.  Before we begin let me state that you should not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.   Now who would like to ask the first question?

Casey Sailer Times Union - Mr. Rozen are you aware that your statement prior to the executive session contained a tense that was grammatically inconsistent?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Chris Bragg Times Union - Is it true that you are required by statute to vote on commencing an investigation within 45 days of a complaint being filed?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Chris Bragg - A followup question please.  Isn't it also true based on the decision of Judge Zwack in the Trump v JCOPE matter that after voting you are required to notify the target and the complainant if no investigation will be undertaken?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Ken Lovett NY Daily News - Mr. Agata based on the Trump decision have you been notified by JCOPE that Mr. Grandeau's complaint against you has been dismissed?

McClueless - I can answer Seth.   Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Fred Dicker NY Post - Has the Republican State Committee been notified that their complaint against Governor Cuomo and Joe Percoco been voted on?

Chair Rozen -Please do not take the silence of any member of JJOKE as a confirmation that we are or are not taking or not taking any action.  We are prohibited by law from commenting or not commenting on any action we have or have not taken or that we should or should not take or from confirming or not confirming that we have or have not recused ourself from participating or not participating in any matter.

Fred Lebrun Times Union - What response do you have to Senator Defrancisco's call for Agata to be fired?

The entire commission in unison - He can go fuck himself.

McClueless - any further questions? no? great I think this was a very successful exchange of ideas and a truly open and transparent press conference.

Monday, March 26, 2018

How do JJOKE commissioners and staff show up at commission meetings and act like everything is ok?

Tomorrow will be yet another JJOKE meeting post Percoco.  And about half the Commissioners will be in Albany.  None will say even one word to the press, that's if any press bother to show up and ask questions.

But my thoughts about tomorrow are far more fundamental.

How do they sit at that table with Agata and act as if everything is ok and they are doing a great job?

I can't figure out what kind of drugs one takes to be that delusional in public.

I mean some of these commissioners actually have reputations to consider, yet they sit at the table ignoring the elephant in the room.  (That would be Weissman, Jacobs and Yates)

Others are under the Governors thumb and have to do as they are told no matter how foolish they look or sound (Rozen, Lavine, Dering and Sample)

Still others are just clueless and blissfully ignorant and politically tone deaf.  (That's Cohen, Knox and Smalls)

And still others have family members whose jobs depend on their compliant behavior (McAuliffe)

And there is even one whose law firm may be at risk for it's lobbying efforts (McNamara)

Of course some fall into multiple categories like Lavine, Smalls, McAuliffe and Rozen.

But just once I'd love to see these commissioners make themselves available for public questioning, it would be like the ugly duckling whose friends keep saying how attractive he/she is until he/she actually looks in a mirror.

Just imagine the JJOKE commissioners looking in that ethics mirror and seeing Agata's testimony at the Percoco trial staring back at them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

JJOKE tells Defran to kiss their ass

In an unprecedented move the entire JJOKE board wrote a letter to powerful State Senator and candidate for Governor John DeFrancisco responding to his call for the firing of Seth Agata, you can read it here  http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/JCOPE-letter-to-Senator-DeFrancisco.pdf   or on the JJOKE website.

Now I've been calling for Agata's firing for years.  So I applaud the Senator in joining me although I must ask what took so long.  But I am shocked and dismayed that JJOKE never sent me a letter like the one they sent DeFran.

If I was DeFran and got this letter I would do 3 things immediately.

First I'd go have a chat with the majority leader about pulling JJOKE funding out of the budget.

Second I'd demand that the three republican senate appointees resign,  I might even terminate any of their family members that work for the senate

Third I'd hold hearings into JJOKE and take testimony under oath about what goes on there and

Lastly I'd file a complaint against Rozen for the letter itself.  In it he states that Agata "has demonstrated the highest integrity, and his reputation for professionalism is well-earned".  Aside from the fact that Rozen's opinion about Agata is not supported by the facts the very fact that he used a JJOKE press release to voice that opinion on behalf of "every member" of JJOKE (did they vote on that? and if so did that vote violate the open meetings law?) has resulted in JJOKE being unable to investigate the complaint I filed against Agata and has tainted any investigation into Agata's actions.  A clear violation of the Public Officers Law section 74 (3) f and h. 

Mr. Rozen please consider this a complaint against you.  I look forward to my letter.

One last thought.  This isn't the first time an ethics commission has blindly supported their executive director against allegations of wrong doing.  The Public Integrity Commission did the the same thing for disgraced executive director Herb Teitelbaum.  He resigned shortly thereafter and his commission was erased by Cuomo who created JJOKE.

What is old is new again and the wheel keeps turning.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rich Azzopardi would be perfect as the next head of JJOKE

I'm serious Rich has all the attributes you need to be the head of JJOKE.

He will do exactly as he is told.
He has no idea what the ethics laws are.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He has no shame in saying whatever is needed to protect the 2nd floor.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He will not let the facts stand in the way of his positions.
He will do exactly as he is told.
His incompetence is his strength.
He will do exactly as he is told.
You can't shame him by pointing out he is lying.
He will do exactly as he is told.
He knows how to say we can't comment it's confidential.
He will do exactly as he is told.

As proof of my position on Rich "Fat Azz" Azzopardi read Chris Bragg's story today https://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/280777/trial-raises-questions-about-many-cuomo-practices/

"Fat Azz" is quoted as follows regarding Seth Agata violations of the Public Officers Law:

 Azzopardi said it is "perfectly appropriate for a counsel to give advice to a former employee on complying with a two-year lobbying ban."

Lets review that comment.

Starting with what law or ethics opinion does he base that on?

While it may be appropriate for JCOPE to give advice to former employees about post employment restrictions the Public Officers Law is clear you cannot use your official position and state resources to benefit a former employee.  If Mr. Fat Azz is right then I will ask him to provide me under FOIL all the opinions the governor's counsels have given FORMER employees about post employment restrictions.  I won't hold my breath waiting.  BTW I've given quite a few written opinions to former employees of the 2nd floor on post employment restrictions, you would be surprised Rich to know who the smart ones were that asked for the opinions rather than violate the Public Officers Law and get wrong opinions.

In addition Rich, you're quote that it was advice on a lobbying ban is telling.  It was a post employment restriction not a lobbying ban but maybe the trial has proven that you might know more about what was really going on with Percoco and Agata than you are letting on.

Plus if you actually look at Agata's memo on Executive Chamber stationary you would see it wasn't advice to Percoco , the former employee, it was a memo to the file.   What does that mean?  Who was his client? Percoco or the executive chamber? And how (no pun intended) did a memo he wrote on July 9 2014 end up attached to an email Todd Howe wrote on July16, 2014?  Who gave it to Howe?

Was it "perfectly appropriate" for that official executive chamber memo to be provided to Todd Howe for use as part of his criminal scheme?

I can't wait for your answers Rich.  It will be a good audition for your future role as the head of JJOKE.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ethics reform? How about Agata?

The following groups are inviting comment on their 832nd proposal for ethics reform   This time as part of a constitutional convention.  Can you say teets on a bull?

Brennan Center for Justice, New York University Law School
Campbell Public Affairs Institute, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Carey Center for Government Reform
Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, Columbia La School
Citizens Union
Committee on Government Ethics and State Affairs, New York City Bar Association
Committee to Reform the State Constitution
Common Cause/New York
League of Women Voters of the State of New York
New York Public Interest Research Group

But rather than point out all the hypocrisy contained in their proposal (including the fact that the chief judge would get the majority of the appointments and she was a Cuomo appointee on JJOKE) I would like to ask those groups one simple question.

Based on Seth Agata's sworn testimony in the Percoco trial about his misuse of state resources in providing private citizen Percoco an ethics opinion, do you think Seth Agata is fit to be the head of New York's ethics agency?

Simple question.

One the media should ask before printing press releases from the groups named above.

The inmates are running the asylum.