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Friday, March 27, 2015

Bobbleheads discussing ethics reform

I read the story about the legislature being told to return the bobbleheads they received from the Alzheimers Association as a thankyou for passing some piece of legislation the Association had lobbied for and I started laughing.

Not about how absurd Albany has become when it comes to ethics but about how willing a participant the media has become in "ethics reform".

And I get how the media has to report on the great bobblehead scandal but how about just one reporter or columnist or editor slow down and think about the larger issues this puts in play.

Here is how my thought process went when I read the bobblehead story:

Why is it a violation?

There is a specific exemption in the lobby act for promotional items given to public officials if the item is marked with the givers logo etc.  It is well settled that a Yankee's lobbyist can give a public official a baseball cap with the Yankee's logo.  A Pepsi lobbyist can give a public official a commemorative bottle of Pepsi marked with the Pepsi logo, the exemption taken to the extreme would even allow for the presentation of more expensive items like crystal vases and a governors book as long as they are marked with the givers logo, marked not for resale and presented in a public fashion (just read JJOKE's guidelines on exempt gifts).

But even if it was a violation for the public official why is the penalty only that they give the bobblehead back?  If it's a violation somebody should be paying a penalty for it.  You don't tell the bank robber to just give the money back.  (Maybe this is the natural result of JJOKE's handling of the Ellenhorn/Boies private plane scandal). 

And if it's a violation shouldn't The Alzheimer's Association have to report the expense as a lobbying expense?

I looked to see if they did and you know what I found?

NOTHING

The Alzheimer's Association doesn't show up in the 2015 database of registered lobbyists.

How is that possible?  They are a big lobbying group they know the rules.  Granted I don't represent them (If I did they never would have had to be embarrassed the way they have) but still they must know to register and report.

The answer is simple.

JJOKE has not processed there filings.  It's 3 months into 2015 and JJOKE has not processed the vast majority of filings.  A competent agency (like the old lobby commission) would have been done processing the registrations by the end of January, but JJOKE is far from competent.

And this is where it gets scary.

With all this talk of "ethics reform" I'm hearing that JJOKE will be given more power and more funding.   It's bad enough the bobbleheads in charge of New York's government are trying to make us believe the latest bullshit will be the strictest ethics requirements in the known universe now you are going to give the clowns at JJOKE more power and more money?

That's like giving the governor another sweetheart book deal.  Fool me once shame on you fool me for the hundredth time and you can go fuck yourself.

Blair Horner and I have argued for a decade about the ethics issue of change the people or change the law.  It's gotten so repetitive we just use the old vaudeville habit of referring to the joke by number rather than tell the joke.  I say 17 Blair says 28.  But now I can prove substantively that I am right.

I have statistics.

JJOKE receives approximately 5000 to 6000 registrations for each biannual period.  In 2013-2014 they got 5624 to be precise.  The vast majority of registrations are filed in the first 2 weeks of the year.  We are now 3 months into the year and JCOPE has approved exactly 1311 registrations.  That's less than 1/4 of the registrations it receives.  At this rate by 2016 you will know who registered in 2015.  IT IS A TRAVESTY.

They are approving approximately 22 a day.  The old lobby commission would average over 50 an hour.  What is JCOPE doing?

Are they oblivious to the backlog?

Nope I told LT about it a while ago.

And I know the person in charge of approving registrations, Maria Guevarra, is aware because she has complained about how much work she has to do. 

What makes it worse is that Maria is sending emails to the lobbying community warning them to amend reports within 10 days of a change to the terms of a lobby agreement but you can't amend until Maria approves your registration and she is over 3 months late in doing so.

And until the registrations are approved the public can not see how much money is being spent because the bimonthly reports can not be approved and therefor the disclosures of money spent lobbying are not available for public review.

The governor and the legislature are negotiating new disclosure requirements while the existing law and it's disclosure requirements are not available for viewing because JJOKE sucks at being a disclosure agency.

Someone should be publicly humiliated for this and I suggest the entire JCOPE Board resign over it.

Why worry about the governor's girlfriends financial disclosure we will never see it if JCOPE is in charge.

Why worry about legislators outside income we will never see it if JCOPE is in charge.

Why worry about local lobbying JCOPE can't get the state lobbying disclosure correct.

Why worry about bobbleheads when they would do a better job of disclosure than JCOPE.

I'm serious the bobbleheads are more competent than JCOPE

1 comment:

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