No question last year Susan Lerner of Common Cause played a major role in providing cover for Governor Patterson to veto Speaker Silver’s ethics bill which had almost unanimous support in both houses (before Senator Skelos and the republicans in the senate became against it after they were for it). The end result was we were stuck with the Public Integrity Commission for another year and you know how well that worked out for the State of New York.
Now just when it looks like we get a second bite of the apple and one more try to rid ourselves of the folks at PIC here come the goo goo’s again claiming we should have financial disclosure from the Governor’s girlfriend (whatever that term means). Talk about taking your eye off the ball. Now I can appreciate ethical voyeurism as much as the next guy but come on PIC hasn’t done the basic job of policing the actual disclosures of public officials much less their spouses and/or girlfriends. Does anyone remember Joe Bruno or Pedro Espada or Vincent Leibell or Alan Hevesi or Efrain Gonzalez or Tony Seminerio or Brian Mclaughlin or Antonio Novello the list goes on and on. Those cases were not prosecuted because New York’s ethics agencies utilized the disclosure now required by law. If the Public Integrity Agency can’t use the disclosure laws it presently has to prosecute our corrupt public officials what makes anyone think they are going to do a better job if the public official’s girlfriends, nieces, nephews, neighbors, golfing buddies, friends or donors have to disclose their financial records.
I’ll give you an example take a look at our former lieutenant governor’s disclosure report. If anyone bothered to look he had extensive securities holdings that he was buying and selling while in office, anyone want to bet if PIC was aware of it and if they were would they have looked into it to see if it resulted in conflicts.
Here’s another example if you want to talk about spouses, the PIC executive director’s spouse disclosed that her spouse’s agency had jurisdiction over her the year before she registered as a lobbyist if you read this blog you know how aggressive the PIC was with that disclosure.
It’s not the tools that make the artist. It’s time the goo goo’s learned that and brought the focus back to getting an ethics bill that results in the extinction of the PIC. I’m not sure that what comes next will be better but I’m positive it can’t be worse unless Feerick, Cherkasky and Teitelbaum come back to help Ginsburg ruin Ms. Hormozi’s and Mr. Cuomo’s reputations.
Speaking of the new Chairwomen her first meeting is this coming Tuesday and the agenda is up on the PIC website. A couple of changes, first the meeting is starting later at 11:30 could it be they are going to wrap up and then have lunch so we don’t all have to wait for the ritual gorging that occurred under Cherkasky? Second no Q & A at the conclusion of the meeting. If nothing else Mitra is politically smarter that the ex-chair, just like this gov is politically smarter than the ex-gov. I can’t lie it’s a disappointment and will certainly make it tougher to point out how bad PIC is but I like a challenge and can appreciate the quality of the opponent.
Since I can’t ask at the meeting I’ll just send Mitra a written request for an answer to the question the ex-chair ducked for 7 months – Did the commission change the way it calculates due dates? It’s amazing but they have never disclosed the fact that they have. Only a guilty man needs to hide the truth you would think the guardians of public ethics would know that. If you can’t get Ralf and Barry to tell you the truth Mitra just ask me I’ll show you Ralf’s internal email.