There is a rumor going around town that JJOKE is under active investigation.
By whom? That’s the question and my best guess is it’s the Inspector General’s office.
What for? Well that’s easy they are being investigated for the leaks that continue to fill reporters boats (notice the veiled reference to last week’s double entendre blog title “The man in the boat”? I may have the maturity of a 13 year old but I’m complex).
Just Monday Fred Dicker, using unnamed sources, reported that JJOKE would be issuing its "gropergate" report shortly.
Now I have no doubt Fred is accurate, I also have no doubt his sources are “close” to JCOPE; in fact I’d be willing to bet they are only a phone call or two away from Ms. Biben. This isn’t my first rodeo I can even guess what that report will say; let me try a little prognostication.
First it will say Vito Lopez is a pig and should be run out of the legislature on a rail. But because the only section of the Public Officers Law that he violated does not provide for a punishment all JJOKE can do is say shame on Vito and shame on the legislature for tolerating his behavior.
Next in a little troopergate dejavu (and remember this investigation and report is brought to you by the same folks that were behind troopergate) JJOKE will say that the actions of Silver, Schneiderman, Dinapoli and everyone else in government other than those loyal to Andrew were ill advised, against public policy, craven, cynical, thoughtless, amateurish, incompetent and any other adjective short of a violation of the Public Officers Law but not illegal. It will then recommend new procedures for the legislature and pat itself on the back for a job well done.
Why am I so sure they will not find a violation?
Is it because I am aware of facts that lead me to that legal conclusion?
Nope, I don’t have that level of knowledge. It’s far simpler.
JJOKE has to find no violation if they want to get the report made public in the next few weeks as Fred Dicker’s “sources” said they would.
You see JJOKE can’t release the report, they can only send their findings to legislative ethics AFTER the commissioners hold another special meeting and vote in favor of Biben’s conclusions. And does anyone think the legislature is going to release a report that says they violated the law before the election? Not a chance.
End result a troopergate oops gropergate report that finds no illegality.
I guess if I’m wrong some source close to the commission could leak the findings but that brings me full circle to where I started is JJOKE being investigated by the Inspector General?
If the answer is yes then we need to know is it a real investigation? Is it a whitewash? Or is it a witch-hunt?
Or is it two of the three? It won’t matter because this is a political miscalculation. The inspector General is the wrong entity to be tasked with this investigation.
Putting aside everything else it just looks like the executive branch is investigating a non executive branch organization. Any findings the Inspector General comes up with will be tainted by that perception.
Remember the Inspector General works for the governor. I’ve blogged about this point before; any legitimate investigation of leaks at JJOKE will by necessity involve investigating the governor’s staff at a minimum. The statements made by the governor and those close to him leading up to the last emergency meeting of JJOKE would leave a serious investigator no choice.
And as we saw in troopergate once that happens the inspector general must recuse and turn this investigation over to an office that is not involved in the scandal. In my opinion, as I have said before, that’s Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
That’s exactly the path that cost former Ethics czar Herb Teitelbaum his reputation, his job and if you believe ex governor David Paterson almost cost him his liberty.
Add it all up and it’s no wonder JJOKE and Ellen Biben might be a little distracted.
And I can’t think of any other reason why anyone as competent as Ellen Biben would have missed the opportunity to enforce the new definition of lobbying that requires those attempting to advocate for or against the introduction of legislation to be registered as lobbyists.
Who am I thinking about? The irony here is too good to be true.
The same people that brought you the last reforms, the same gang that created JJOKE, the same bunch that insisted on adding “introduction of legislation” to the lexicon of lobby enforcement are now working on campaign finance reform.
And this time they brought in big money supporters and high profile lawyers, people with connections to the man holding the leash on the ethics attack dog.
People that have not registered as lobbyists, people that I’m sure do not want to have to disclose the source of their funding.
Stay tuned, I’ll out them in future blogs.
You see unlike JJOKE I’m not distracted at all.