Saturday, February 2, 2013

JJOKE reacts to our criticism

JJOKE is responding to the blog

I opened the Times Union newspaper this morning and was surprised to see James Odato’s story about the Gaming Association’s source of funding.

The story said that Mr. Odato got the data from JCOPE documents.

And that is what caused my surprise.  I wondered how Jim got those documents.

I wondered because I had submitted a FOIL request for those very documents on January 23, 2013 and had not received a response from JJOKE or Milgram much less the documents in question.

I thought maybe Jim had made his own FOIL and Milgram has some relationship with Odato that allowed Jim to get a head start on me and everyone else.

Or maybe Jim had gotten them directly from Feathers (if you don't know who Feathers is this blog might not be for you)because I know that they do have a relationship.

But rather than wonder I called Jim because he and I also have a relationship, sometimes good and sometimes not so good but good enough that I could call and ask, so I did.

And Jim graciously explained that he got the documents from the JJOKE web site.

THE WEBSITE? WOW who would have thought that JJOKE would have responded to the blogs criticism so swiftly?

So a little sheepishly, since I had not looked at the website since Friday morning, I took a look and sure enough there it was . . . 45 clients semiannual reports that include source of funding and 5 that include business relationships.

Now the fun begins, but before I dig into the substance of the reports I thought I’d look at the process to see if it could help me understand what is going on at JJOKE.

So I looked at the report that I had FOILed on January 23, The Gaming Association.

Why hadn’t Milgram provided it?

That was an easy answer the form had not been filed until January 29, 2013 the day of the infamous open mic at JJOKE.

But that means JJOKE had received the form reviewed it and posted it online in 3 days that’s pretty good but it also means that you might expect that every report filed before the 29th that had source of funding is also available, 45 might very well be all we are going to see or if there are more than 45 that means JJOKE is picking and choosing which forms to make available and when. 

Nah they wouldn’t do that would they?  Not this bunch.  I don’t know, go ask Speaker Silver if they are that calculating in their actions.

Anyway back to the review.

The form says it is an amendment which makes sense because the reason I FOILed it originally is the actual form was filed electronically online and I was able to review it to see that it met the threshold for source of funding.

Now I wonder why did it take Feathers who knows these rules as well as I do 2 weeks to amend?  Hmmm?  Could it be someone at JJOKE gave him a friendly heads up that the FOIL had been filed?

Sounds paranoid I know but when I first got to the old Lobby Commission in 1995 I was told a story of how the staff at the commission used to hold out paper forms from lobbyists that showed illegal gifts and would call the lobbyist to suggest they “correct” their form before it was available for public review.  The person who told me the story is still working at JJOKE in a high level executive position and had and has close ties to the Republican Party and was always my guess of who leaked the Silver/Las Vegas Casino story to Dicker back in the day.  A story that involved Feathers by the way.

Or maybe my FOIL got back to Feathers thru some other channel.  I didn’t exactly keep my request a secret.  So if I helped you avoid a compliance violation Feathers you are welcome.  I’ve always liked you even when you and Bruno tried to get me fired.  It was always business never personal. . . right?

But as far as the Gaming Association report itself goes no harm no foul.

But then I looked at the list of reports that have been disclosed and lo and behold I see COMMOM CAUSE.  Susan Lerner the Caesar’s wife of ethics I have to look at that one.

And it’s even more telling than Feathers report.

To begin with it was received on January 22, 2013 a full week late,

It is signed by Susan Lerner on January 16, 2013 a day after the statutory due date.

It is not marked as an amendment but the word amend is handwritten on it in the box marked for office use which means the commission staff think it’s an amendment.

But if it’s an amendment that means the original report should be available online.

As of this moment (Saturday February 2 at 1 pm) it isn’t.

Why would the commission make the hand written report (amendment) available before the electronic version?

The handwritten form does NOT contain information on who the lobbyist for Common Cause are.

How much they received in compensation.

How much they had in lobbying expenses.

What subjects they lobbied on.

Who they lobbied.

What bill numbers they lobbied.

In short none of the data that is useful in a transparent ethical environment.

It does tell us that Common Cause only had one source of funding, someone named Merck Friedrike who gave them $5000 on December 31, 2012.  I think I’d have to call BS on that as a full disclosure that aids the public in the pursuit of transparency.

What it does tell me is that JJOKE is using its total staff resources to get the reports with source of funding on the web asap.

Even if it means reports with meaningful data sit in electronic limbo waiting for review.

On one hand I’m empowered knowing my criticism has such an effect on the clowns at JJOKE on the other hand I wish they could learn to get it right before I have to point out their failures.

Coming soon business relationships or as they are now known the Will Barclay filings.

And by the way Susan Lerner feel free to explain what the hell you are doing when it comes to hypocrisy and ethics.  At this rate you could be the next Executive Director of JJOKE.

Time to go FOIL Dick Dadey’s filings.

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