Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Calling All Cars Calling All Cars


Car 54 where are you?


Now I may be dating myself (does anyone else remember the classic cop show Car 54?)  But we’ve reached the point in gropergate that the call to all those with a vested interest in ethics in New York needs to go out.


Recent columns in the Times Union by Fred Lebrun and Casey Seiler have for all intents and purpose put out  the call that something very similar to the old troopergate phenomenon is occurring.
We need to investigate the investigators.
On the road to that investigation three things are going to happen.

One:  At the end of the day the various investigations into gropergate will conclude that Vito Lopez is a pig, duh.


Two:  the various investigations will conclude that the settlement was legal, proper and ethical if poorly handled by all involved, duh.


And Three:  the public will conclude that JJOKE is far from an independent watchdog, but rather an attack dog following its masters commands duh.


Now DA Donovan and JJOKE can handle issues one and two but who can do the thorough,  complete and wide ranging investigation that is needed to get to the bottom of issue three?


Let’s start by discussing who can’t do it.


Unfortunately the statute gives jurisdiction to investigate the divulging of confidential JCOPE information to the Office of the Inspector General.


Now I know Dick Dadey and the goo goos have said that they (and Jeremy Creelan) couldn’t think of anyone better but with all due respect (if you say that you can follow it with whatever you want) that’s complete horseshit.


They set it up for the Inspector General because the IG works for the Governor, duh.


Everything wrong about gropergate so far can be traced back to the simple fact that the governor has far too much control over JJOKE both in statute, in reality and most importantly in perception.


In this case the problem is made crystal clear in Mr. Lebrun’s column and in Ravi Batra’s rambling prose.


The IG CANNOT investigate leaks at JJOKE that may involve former members of the IG (Biben et al) and the current governors staff that the IG reports to (even the Spitzer minions realized that in troopergate).


But someone needs to investigate.  The statute should have been drafted for the AG to investigate leaks from JJOKE (didn’t the AG during troopergate do a good job?) but it wasn’t and because gropergate involves the AG he needs to stay out of this one.


And that brings me back to where I started, calling all cars.


I think we need to hear from the good government groups about what they think.  Curiously after filing complaints in gropergate not a peep.  I wonder if anyone suggested they file those complaints hmmm maybe that’s why they are so quiet.


I think we need to hear from the governor, he was pretty adamant about  JJOKE investigating what happened  in gropergate why stop now?
I think we need to hear from ex governor David Patterson.  He said he has a lot of experience with ethics agencies leaking.  Of course he has a lot of experience with fibbing too so after a second thought no need to hear from Patterson.


I think we need to hear from the JJOKE commissioners past and present.  Marvin Jacobs started the ball rolling at the last meeting, don’t stop Marvin keep it rolling demand an internal investigation of the leaks.  Even John Feerick did that in troopergate he made every PIC employee sign an affidavit that they did not divulge confidential information, everyone but his executive director who it turns out had a good reason for not signing his since he was the leaker.


I think we need to hear from Ellen Biben.  An honest statement that she has not discussed this investigation with anyone outside JJOKE would go a long way to putting this matter to rest . . . if you believe her.


I think we need to hear from Albany County DA David Soares that he will not ignore his jurisdiction over JJOKE leaks.  You did a good job in troopergate, , , eventually.   Mr. Soares this is not a difficult investigation.  Get Biben's emails, text messages and put her under oath let’s see what the facts are.


And I think we need to hear from the Inspector General or the acting Inspector General or someone in that office.  Tell us why you can investigate JJOKE and that we can trust you to do it independently.


I guess all I can do is keep transmitting a distress signal “calling all cars”


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