Tuesday, June 24, 2014

See an ethics violation dial 1-800-JJOKE

It was that time of the month again a JJOKE commission meeting.  So off I go to JJOKE.  I stopped on the way at Eggy's lunch truck to grab the areas best egg sandwich.  I got it to go thinking I would eat it at the meeting so that I at least accomplished something by sitting there.  And as usual neither Eggy nor JJOKE disappointed.  The sandwich was delicious and watching the JJOKERs looks of dismay that I would sully their very serious meeting by eating breakfast was a bonus.  For the record the meeting lasted 8 minutes the eggwhich lasted 6.  And there was HUGE news on the ethics front . . . JJOKE has a 1800 tip line and a new poster.  Thats right after 3 years they have a poster to show for all there hard work.  And they are going to distribute the poster thruout the state.  WOW that is impressive, quite the accomplishment.   One small problem JJOKE has had a tip line on their website since it was created.  I've used it and they ignore the complaints they receive.  Will the 1800 line be any different? Yes now the 2nd floor can moniter all complaints and WAIT now there is a poster too so that should make all the difference.  At what point do these commissioners all "very accomplished" people realize they are a laughing stock? a running JJOKE?

I got a small glimpse into how delusional they are when commissioner Mike Romeo left the executive session and was standing close enough for me to engage him in conversation.  I asked Mike if he thought the poster would make a difference (I did so in a serious tone of voice)  He responded that he did when combined with other efforts they were engaged in.  I then asked if he was aware that JJOKE has had a tip line on the website for over 2 years.  His look was priceless.  It is the look of a smart person who just realized how foolish JJOKE has made him.  After a little more give and take he stated the classic JJOKE line "I just want to do whats right"   So I then asked why doesn't JJOKE investigate the state democratic party for being an unregistered lobbyist as a result of there lobbying ads.  His answer "well all the parties do it"   YES MIKE THEY DO SO INVESTIGATE ALL OF THEM.

A poster thats what JJOKE thinks will clean up Albany


Albany ethics is doomed

Monday, June 23, 2014

JJOKE even when they try they come up short

It's been one month since I last blogged about JJOKE.  I've been trying a new approach rather than ridicule them publicly on the blog I've been having extensive dialogue with LT (the executive director) in the hope that some of my constructive criticism may just seep into the JJOKE executive sessions.   I doubt it does but if nothing else I no longer have to keep close tabs on that idiot Milgram and worry about what he may be up to. 

Now I think LT is trying hard within a very sensitive situation to try to do some good at JJOKE.  I don't think she has yet but she is trying and one on one without the filter of 2nd floor control and idiot commissioners she is exceedingly bright and insightful so it is fun to match wits with her.  But publicly the combination of gubernatorial control, commissioners that are only interested in following political orders or worse are not getting any orders at all and are following their own political instincts (or lack thereof) and a staff that may be the most incompetent in NYS government has left LT in an untenable position and JJOKE continues to underwhelm.

For example source of funding disclosures.

Now you could argue the policy implications of requiring the source of funding disclosure to begin with but who cares the legislature passed it and the governor signed it for better or worse.

Now you could argue that the effective date was established by JJOKE to protect the governors friends and give them time to adjust to the mistake of passing the source of funding requirement to begin with but who cares Biden did it for better or worse and Ravi resigned over it and complained  both publicly and privately to the US Attorney.

Now you could argue that once it was effective JJOKE had an obligation to enforce it uniformly but who cares they are not enforcing it at all and no matter how many times I have pointed out that Susan Lerner and Common Cause filed but failed to accurately disclose their source of funding JJOKE has ignored my complaint.

Now you could argue that even if JJOKE was not going to enforce it they should make the disclosure as painless as possible for the regulated community and here is where I started to care because last January in typical JJOKE fashion they required those filing on paper forms (over 50% of clients) to fill out an additional form after they had already filed.  Now this form was something that online filers did not have to do and simply put was an example of how out of touch JJOKE was and is with the regulated community.  But rather than blog about their incompetence I tried a new approach and just called LT and explained what her staff had done (without her knowledge) and the effect it had.  She got it immediately but then shocked me by asking what I would do if I was her.  After I sat down I told her.  Apologize for the f up.  Tell the regulated community you are sorry and don't worry about the extra form and fix the form before the next filing period of July 15, six months away (it should have taken about 6 minutes to fix the forms).  And lo and behold that is what happened everything except that fixing the form thing, JJOKE waited until last Friday to do that.  I'm sure a whole shitload of overpaid under talented JJOKE lawyers had to work on that without any consideration to how the real world of lobbying works, but after 6 months we have new forms.

Now you could argue and I have that you should not require an affirmative statement that you are not required to disclose source of funding anymore than you should have to do it for reportable business relationships.

Now you could argue and I will when LT returns my call that you don't change the forms during a filing period TH ATS JUST PLAIN STUPID.

But the part that is pissing me off enough to blog about it is the fact that some idiot at JJOKE posted the new form on the website right next to the directions for the old form that required a separate affidavit (the reason I spoke to LT in January to begin with) and I know a bunch of clients are going to file their source of funding using the wrong forms and then call me to fix it.  So LT lets find out which of your many well intentioned but incompetent lawyers fed it up this time and just apologize again and wait till 2015 to implement the new forms.  You aren't enforcing it anyway so who cares.

Now on the positive side JJOKE's recently implemented gift regulations have effectively carved out a loophole for elected officials large enough that illegal gifts may now be a thing of the past.  In the old days I would have said it was done on the orders of the leaders now... I think JJOKE just stepped on their own vestigialous appendage by accident.

One last note on the positive side this new sexual harassment hotline at JJOKE?  At least now the JJOKE commissioner's have something involving real sex to pay attention to so they can stop the ethical masturbation they have been practising for the last 7 years.