Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm Back

Missing the Point

I did not attend the last JJOKE meeting. I was busy catching some waves at the shore. When I got back, I watched a recording of the session and then I sat down to write.

Maybe it was the mesmerizing and therapeutic effect of the ocean or maybe I’ve realized that they’re not going to change and I’m making a very good living (good enough that every year the waves and the view keep improving) because they are acting they way they do so why waste energy and ink.

With that thought in mind I've decided to stay on the beach for the time being, my clients are unaffected by the latest JJOKE exercise in how many lawyers does it take to screw up ethics so instead of going off on the utter foolishness of the commission, I’ve decided to tone things down and try to be constructive.

So here’s my contribution to the so-called “source of funding” discussion:

The commission really needs to think through its implementation of these new regulations. What it has proposed is too broad. In this regard, consider the following hypothetical’s:

A New York State-based yogurt company that is privately held spends over $50,000 to hire lobbyists to get new yogurt laws passed. As a startup, this new yogurt company has total expenditures of under $1.5 million for 2012. As a result, it is subject to JJOKE’s new regulations. On January 15, 2013, it must disclose every customer that bought more than $5,000 worth of yogurt during the year, every investor that provided more than $5,000 in capital during the year and even every bank that loaned them more than $5,000 during the year.

No kidding here. This is what is required under the new regs.

Or try this one:

An association of yogurt manufacturers (or casinos, or gay marriage advocates or bar association) spends more than $50,000 lobbying for their issue. Their expenditures for lobbying exceed 3% of their total expenditures thereby subjecting them to the source of funding disclosure. As a result every member who paid dues in excess of $5,000 will be revealed.

Now I’m all for transparency but enough is enough already.  If I want to purchase over $5000 worth of yogurt does the state of New York really need to know who I am?

Maybe someone at the Business Council or non-profit community will wake up and tell JJOKE that its proposed regulations are way too broad when it comes to the definition of contribution. They need to be tweaked and it shouldn’t be a big deal to do it.

Having contributed to the discussion it’s now time to get back to my summer reading as I watch the waves roll in.

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