Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting in the holiday spirit




I’ve received numerous inquiries in the last several weeks wondering why I haven’t blogged lately.


They’ve run the gamut from I’m not blogging because I’ve been either told not to or been bought off.  Both not true.


To I’m not blogging because the JJOKE is doing such a good job I have nothing to write about. Also not true and I’m surprised anyone named Milgram would write that to me but hey it’s the holiday season.


To I’m too busy reading Proust sitting on a bench in the park by the Capital to write the blog.  Also not true they must have me confused with Casey Seiler.  As an aside I discovered I have a karmic connection with Casey, no I don’t read Proust hell I’m lucky I can spell Proust.  Nope I’ve learned that Casey used to work for the Burlington Free Press and as a former student at UVM and having read the Free Press I  now understand Casey’s point of view a little better,


No the reason I haven’t blogged is far simpler   I need time and inspiration.  I usually can find the inspiration it’s the time that’s been the problem.


In case you missed it I served a complaint on JJOKE last week you can watch here

At about the 1:10 mark you will see me serve the complaint against Comptroller Dinapoli on behalf of my client Chevron,


Now I’m no psychiatrist but at the 1:14 mark you will see Chairwomen Difiore accept the complaint AND PLACE IT BEHIND HER BACK.


WTF is she subliminally hiding the complaint?  She had no idea what it was or who it affected and the first thing she did was hide it.


If I had any doubt about JJOKE being a legitimate watchdog that settled it for me.  It’s all about hiding ethics for this crowd.


See what I mean about inspiration?


Anyway at that moment I was positive my idea of a not for profit dedicated to doing the job JJOKE was suppose to do has to happen.


I’ve created the entity it’s called Ethics Watch Inc.


I think our logo might be a picture of Chairwomen DiFiore from behind so we can see what else she’s hiding.


I know Milgram wants to know what Ethics Watch will be doing.  I know because he’s asking reporters.  It’s simple John we will be doing what you were created to do but we won’t be under government control and we won’t hide ethics behind our back.  We will disclose our work to public scrutiny.  Watch and learn.


What kind of things will Ethics Watch be interested in?


Well the Chevron complaint against Dinapoli is a good example.


How JJOKE handles the complaint is another example.


Matching campaign contributions to official actions temporally will be a big part of our work.  I think it will yield a ton of pay to play scandals


Reviewing financial disclosure statements and providing analysis of those reviews to the public should keep us busy.


On that point I’ve requested Jeff Klein’s financial disclosure report.  But you know that already don’t you John.  I’ve got a hunch that guy might have some skeletons in his closet that need to be looked at.  Just a hunch at this point but certainly worth a look giving that he’s following in Pedro’s footsteps.


And it’s the holidays so maybe Santa will bring me a present.


And since it’s almost Christmas regular readers of the blog know I’ll be posting my latest twas the night blog again.


With a twist this year I’m going to post one stanza every day    feel free to submit your own stanzas if I like them I’ll add them and we can end up with a collaborative result.


This year’s theme is Twas the Night before Biben


Here’s how it starts


Twas the night before Biben 


Twas the night before Christmas and all thru the JOKE

No NYC staffers were working the Beaver office Sandy did smoke


Work from home Biben did declare

No one is watching no one will care


Biben’s posse stayed home secure in their nest

The Public Officers Law they thought only applies to the rest



Now the theme is how Biben has brought all her buddies in from the IG, how she is the governor’s attack dog, how the newest cast of JOKER’s is not that different from Ginsberg or Teitelbaums minions,


Enjoy and be creative

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can a brother get an audit done?



I’ve purposely not blogged in several weeks as the storm and the election made my blogging seem more irrelevant than it usually is.  But I think enough time has passed and since JJOKE doesn’t think folks need a break from their attention (compare the common sense blanket extensions the New York City Lobby Commission has granted with JJOKE’s failure to grant any extension) I think I can get back to talking about the hypocrisy that is JJOKE


And being mindful of the fact that the JOKE’s New York City office is still closed and all New York City employees are having to work from home (just a thought but you do have an Albany office you can work from)(just another thought why is there a New York City Office? That’s right all of Biben’s buddies and coworkers live in New York City) I’m going to avoid taking cheap shots at the JOKE.


For example it would be a cheap shot at this time to say that the Governor’s Moreland investigation should be expanded to investigate why Ellen Biben failed to complete the audit of LIPA that was announced with such great fanfare 18 months ago.   So I won’t do it.


But I will discuss how badly Biben and her minions are handling audits at JJOKE.  That’s fair and unrelated to the tragedy of Sandy and whether New York’s governing bodies have some level of responsibility for the failure to properly regulate LIPA, including responsibility for completing that aforementioned audit that Biben promised us she had the “tools and resources necessary to conduct a swift and thorough audit” of.


You see the same people that were unable to conduct a swift and thorough audit of LIPA 18 months ago are now in charge of auditing lobbyists and clients under the Lobby Act.  And while I have empathy for those folks on Long Island that have been affected by the storm and perhaps by Bibens’ failure to conduct a swift and thorough audit of LIPA 18 months ago they are not my clients whereas those being audited by Biben and JJOKE today are.


So what are Biben and her chief economist, Kitty Kay Chan PhD, who presumably was the  tools and resources necessary to conduct a swift and thorough audit” of LIPA 18 months ago doing wrong this time?


Well to begin with they are trying to audit reports filed more than 3 years ago even though the Act says no records are required to be kept for any period of time in excess of three years.  Now I don’t begrudge them trying to go beyond their statutory authority, I did it all the time, but once you are told that you are overreaching you should stop, apologize and change your behavior.  To the rest of the lobbying community don’t be afraid to tell Biben and the chief economist NO  there is no penalty for refusing to cooperate with an audit so there cannot be a penalty for refusing to cooperate with an overbroad audit request.  Anymore than there will be a penalty for failing to complete an audit of LIPA for 18 months even after you promised that you had the “tools and resources necessary to conduct a swift and thorough audit”.


What else are Biben and her chief economist, Kitty Kay Chan PhD , who presumably was the  tools and resources necessary to conduct a swift and thorough audit” of LIPA 18 months ago doing wrong this time?


They are trying to require lobbyists and clients to disclose and verify the salaries of support staff.  Now this is information that prior versions of the Lobby Commission wrote opinions about saying it was NOT required and prior versions of both the Lobby Commission and the Public Integrity Commission never attempted to audit.  So why audit this information now?   I’ve been told that the JJOKE auditors do not know and when asked merely state that the chief economist wants the information to comply with GAAP.   Someone must have given the chief economist a book about how to properly audit sometime in the last 18 months.  I guess it helps to have the “tools and resources necessary to conduct a swift and thorough audit”.


Now I hope to get the opportunity to have a thorough discussion of tools and resources with JJOKE on behalf of a client being audited because there are a lot of things that I’m sure would make for interesting reading on the blog when it comes to Biben, the chief economist and doing audits the right way under the Lobby Act.


Stay tuned hopefully it won’t take 18 months to get the power to shine a light on Biben and audits.