Quote of the week: It’s a toss up between Jimmy Olson and Mr. Magoo oops I mean John Milgrim and Ravi Batra.
Milgrim gets nominated for his repudiation of Jim Odato’s big story that JCOPE had launched a probe of Tom Libous. Milgrim claimed Odato got it wrong. The exact quote was: “Information published in today's Times Union newspaper is inaccurate and misleading."
OK, OK, but what information in the Odato story was wrong? Was it a preliminary review as opposed to an investigation? Was there a vote to commence the “review” or not? Was it all inspired by a political rival’s letter or something else? Milgrim doesn’t say. He just insists that the story was wrong. He refers to JCOPE’s supposed cone of silence.
My thought here is that JCOPE is getting rather tangled up in its secrecy and tripping over itself. But wait, we’re only getting started…
Ravi gets nominated for this gem: "What is clear is that JCOPE needs confidentiality to be able to freely and honestly deliberate in private so as to function as an independent and impartial ethics watchdog, capable of living up to its promise and to deter public corruption. . . Otherwise, let's shut down JCOPE; for public ethics are too important to be a farce or JCOPE to be a political tool."
Note to Ravi: It’s already a farce when a member of JCOPE goes public to complain about the need to be secret. Second note to Ravi: Usually you go public to complain about the need to go public – not the other way around.
An honorable mention for (farcical) quote of the week goes to all the public figures who confirmed Odato’s story after the fact by denouncing the leaking of confidential information.
Now for the inside gossip, which is always interesting and fun:
And for the record, let me state again that this unverified information comes not from JCOPE, but people talking everywhere about JCOPE. I advance it to stimulate public dialogue:
Word is that someone on the second floor “green lighted” the probe against Senator L. Word is that Ellen B. checked with that individual before sending out the letter. Does anyone remember the 1970’s and “deep throat”
If so, this is rather problematic. It would be worse than Herb Teitelbaum and Robert Hermann. Let’s hope it’s not true.
Word is that there was indeed a vote on the Libous matter. Word is that it came up short of the required votes needed to commence a probe. However, word is that a Republican commissioner later told Ellen that he would switch his vote if it was needed.
If true, this is really weird. Could it really be possible that Ellen proceeded against the wishes of the commission? Which GOP commissioner caved, and why?
Word is that the Senate Republicans are none too pleased about how this whole matter was handled. Their comment might have been: “If Carl Paladino files a sworn complaint against Cuomo, would JCOPE issue a 15-day letter and tell the press about it?” They may hold hearings and do their own probe of JCOPE and its policies wouldn’t that make for interesting drama. Ravi’s wish may come true.
Hmm. Methinks this controversy is only just beginning.
Switching gears now: Word is that JCOPE has hired multiple members of the IG’s office to work in NYC. Word is that JCOPE has also hired a “chief economist.”
I’m confused. Isn’t Albany the HQ? And what is an economist going to do?
Lastly, word is that the whole JCOPE gang is getting ornery as can be, especially Ellen and Marvin Jacobs, who people regard as exceedingly pompous.
Guys and gals, get used to it. This is what life in Albany is all about. The secret is not taking yourselves to seriously. I certainly don’t.
As always learn to laugh at yourselves this stuff just isn’t that important in the long run, in the short run it could ruin your careers.