Thursday, February 18, 2016

The blog I never thought I would write

As bad as I believe JJOKE is and as corrupt as I think they are in a political sense I never thought that as a body they would sanction the falsification of the records they have been entrusted to obtain and disclose to the public.

I had heard rumors of material purposely being buried on someone's desk and other documents finding their way into the hands of appointing authorities.  I'd even heard of documents being removed from files but I had never heard of JJOKE falsifying documents.  For a lawyer that is the ultimate sin.  And yet I now know that JJOKE has done just that.

If anyone has received a late fee from JJOKE and does not understand how they could have been late when they timely filed let me relate a story that I know of my own knowledge and have heard from others in the lobbying community just recently.

Here is what happens.

A lobbyist has an authorization from a client that has a "start date" in the body of the document that says lobbying may commence on June 1.  The authorization is not signed by the parties until June 15, and the signatures are dated June 15.  A registration is filed with JCOPE under penalty of perjury on June 20 that lists, in the electronic form, June 15 as the start date.  With a June 15 start date it is timely filed since June 20 is within the time required in the lobby act (10 days from payment or 15 days from retention whichever is earlier).  But then lo and behold they get a notice from JJOKE that a late filing fee has been imposed because they filed 20 days after the June 1 start date.  Knowing they filed with a June 15 start date the lobbyist goes to the JJOKE site and surprise, surprise the start date shown has been changed to June 1.

How can this happen you might rightly ask?

That is the question I was asked and the question others that do what I do were asked.

The answer is simple if profoundly disturbing.

JJOKE changed the start date in the electronic filing and then after causing the "late" filing issued the late fee.  It appears that JJOKE  falsified a business record and then tried to profit from their actions.

I'm not a criminal lawyer but I vaguely recall that being a violation of the Penal Code.

So I called Martin Levine who runs that portion of JJOKE and asked him to look into it.

It took him a day but he sent me an email admitting that I was right, a JJOKE employee had changed the start date.  He assured me the fine would be eliminated/reversed/rescinded and the start date corrected.  I told him that wasn't enough.  He needed to identify the JJOKE employee that did this and tell me how many others faced the same issue.  He refused and so began the cover up.  I've since learned of two additional instances where the identical events occurred to other lobbyists.  Clearly a pattern of misconduct has occurred and JJOKE is trying to cover it up.  And by the way it's been two weeks and I haven't received proof that the fine was eliminated/reversed/rescinded nor has the start date been corrected.  Nor has the other lobbying firms that have also notified JJOKE of the falsification.

If anyone out there had a similar JJOKE falsification and late fee happen to them give me a call I'll get that late fee eliminated/reversed/rescinded no charge.

On the heels of Kevin Gagan's firing of an investigator allegedly for looking into the Cuomo crowd on her own I think it's fair to say JJOKE CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO ENFORCE ETHICS OR DISCLOSE LOBBYING ACTIVITY.

And speaking of Gagan he must be sweating today.  Not only did Cathy Webb show up at the meeting yesterday to remind the commissioners of Gagan's Cuomo connection so did a fellow named Thomas Krebs.

Mr. Krebs has an impeccable, impressive resume and a record of success.  And he was at JJOKE to interview for the executive director's job.  He is Marvin Jacobs personal fuck you to Dan Horwitz.  Mr. Krebs is so clearly qualified to scare the shit out of the Albany political establishment that there is no way they hire him.  But he at least got an interview (more than I can accomplish, which in some perverted way I take as a compliment because if he scares them I must terrify JJOKE) actually this is Mr. Krebs second interview.  If my sources are correct he interviewed last time as well before they hired LT.  In fact he was the choice of the search committee last time until Dan Horwitz overruled the search committee and made LT the only choice they could vote on.  Give Marvin credit he doesn't give up.

I don't know Mr. Krebs but neither do all the swinging dicks in Albany's power structure, which is a pretty good start to fix JJOKE.  Even though I don't know Mr. Krebs I am sure he would not falsify business documents nor tolerate a JJOKE employee of supervisor that did.  And given his history I don't think he would Gagan an investigator for looking into a matter on the second floor or the third floor or the penthouse.

Gagan and Horwitz really have their work cut out for them.  Given recent events getting LT the job was a walk in the park.

Hey Dan maybe you should ask LT to come back, try begging.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

JJOKE is corrupt

No news with that headline.

And that's the problem JJOKE is sooooo bad that they have lowered the bar soooo low that the media has gotten tired of writing the story of how bad they are.  We still get an editorial every other week about how JJOKE is violating every ones freedom of speech by requiring folks to report their lobbying efforts of editorial boards but really if JJOKE had been just a tad brighter, just a bit more aware of how incompetent they were they would have written those opinions in such a way that the PR folks and the editorial boards wouldn't have given a shit and JJOKE could have just continued on giving the public the ethical middle finger.  Andrew Cuomo's fuck you to ethics.   But they blew it and riled up the media so maybe todays meeting will actually catch peoples attention.

With that hope in mind I'm going to throw some blood in the water and see if any fins break the surface.

Kevin Gagan is going to be appointed as the next executive director at JJOKE.  He is a Cuomo hatchet man and Andrew wants him to run JJOKE to protect the Cuomo administration and if he can follow in Biben's footsteps and go after some legislators that's a bonus.  The real question is why would the legislative appointed commissioners go along.  And for many months they haven't but as usual this is Albany and a deal will get made and Gagan will get the votes he needs.  The fact that he lacks the qualities and independence to do a good job is irrelevant.  Hell I couldn't even get an interview and I could do the job better than Gagan on my worst day.  Of course I would start by investigating the commissioners and then move on to the Governor and the legislators so maybe they actually knew what they were doing by not even interviewing me.  But I digress.

I came across an interesting bit of information recently that these commissioners should really explore before appointing Gagan.

It seems Kevin Gagan has already started his real job.  That of protecting the 2nd floor.

In the last several weeks he personally fired an investigator at JJOKE, who I am told had started to investigate the Cuomo crowd on her own initiative.  The investigators name is Cathy Webb and Gagan fired her without notice and without telling her why.  She just got perped walked out of JJOKE without even being allowed to clean out her desk.  I guess Gagan hoped she had never made copies of what she was working on.  I used to love getting those plain envelopes in the mail when I ran the lobby commission.

Now lets watch and see what kind of a settlement they make with her to keep her quiet.

If I was George Weissman I'd stop skiing long enough to ask some questions before I voted for Kevin Gagan as Cuomo's executive director.

If I was Joe Covello I'd ask Al D'Amato if I could ask some questions before I voted for Kevin Gagan as Cuomo's executive director.

If I was Marvin Jacobs I'd get even with Horwitz and try to ask some questions before I voted for Kevin Gagan as Cuomo's executive director.

If I was Dawn Smalls I'd try to redeem myself from that last meeting where I showed everyone that I had never read the lobby act and ask some questions before I voted for Kevin Gagan as Cuomo's executive director.

If I was Dan Horwitz I'd try to get Preet to offer me immunity if Cuomo wasn't going to allow me to ask some questions before I voted for Kevin Gagan as Cuomo's executive director.

When you get right down to it all 14 JJOKE commissioners should resign if they will not ask Gagan why he fired Cathy Webb and at a minimum ask Ms. Webb what she was investigating when she got fired.

This scandal has legs I think and the media is hungry.

I know it has my interest and eventually I'll find out what Gagan was trying to cover up.

Anyone remember Joe Fisch and Troopergate?  Yup I talked to him.

I am patient and this is Albany,  Ask enough questions and you will upset some powerful people.

And maybe Cathy Webb can find out whose toes she stepped on while trying to do her job.

And for the shoot the messenger crowd I don't know Cathy Webb.  LT hired her.  She has done a couple of routine audits of my clients.

And she is a fan of the blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

According to JJOKE Preet is a lobbyist


JJOKE thinks the Sheriff of Albany is a lobbyist.

Now if Preet should register as a lobbyist is a separate question I'll address later in this post but lets explore the first question


Preet was all over the news yesterday, his every movement tracked and reported on as if he was a visiting rock star.

Actually we know more about Preet's travels than we do about Bruce Springsteen's.

Which brings a series of questions to my inquiring warped mind, the Times Union is reporting that Preet went to the Springsteen concert and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of that reporting.  I know Casey Seiler was at the concert . . . hell I even know how he got his tickets and who he brought with him but how did Preet get his tickets?  Who paid for his travel?  Is this a Spitzer fucking a whore trip to Washington DC? No one will ever ask those questions and quite frankly Preet has given us no reason to ask other than he is human and is therefor capable of corrupt behavior.  But I digress the question before us is did Preet lobby?

Because his travels were so completely reported (other than the concert) we know that he met with the Times Union editorial board.

OOPS this is precisely the type of activity that JJOKE has opined is lobbying if he encouraged the editorial board to "deliver the clients message to a public official".

Now who is Preet's client and what message did he want the editorial board to deliver?

Lot's of possible answers there and that highlights the main problem with JJOKE's opinion.  How do you ever know the real reason someone tries to get media attention.

Preet may have gone to the editorial board merely at their request to answer questions or he may have gone to raise his own profile for a future run for elected office or he may have gone there at the request of good government groups to try to get the TU to advocate for one of the many lame ethics reform proposals that are floating out there.  He may even have been trying to get the TU to push for the introduction of a bill on ethics reform that no one has heard of yet.  He may have been there at my request to get the TU to support legislation eliminating JJOKE.  We will never know.  And yet JJOKE could decide that they do know and investigate and prosecute on their subjective belief or more likely upon direct orders from the second floor (I can see Berlin Rosen's paranoia already)

And I can hear the good government groups now "it doesn't apply to Preet, he is a government official above reproach he is not a lobbyist"  Remember the JJOKE opinion speaks to actions not titles.  Is Jeff Klein a lobbyist when he accepts campaign donations from the anti Herbalife hedge fund crowd? or political advice from Mirram Global and then visits an editorial board to support his anti Herbalife position?  How do we know his motivation?

If you think about it maybe that is the next evolution of lobbying we cut out the middleman (lobbyist) and have the elected get paid directly by the clients to advocate for the clients position.  You know just like our current campaign finance system.

Was Preet acting on his own behalf? on behalf of campaign donors? on behalf of the good government groups that sponsored his speech that day with blinking lights on a theater marquee?  What would a candidate pay for the type of media exposure, very positive media exposure that Preet got yesterday?  Someone should ask the PR consultants what they would charge to get a client that type of media and editorial board support.  Maybe Preet did have a client that provided him over $5000 to encourage the editorial board to deliver a client's message.

I know I am using a very unlikely case that Preet is a lobbyist to make a very serious point.

How do we know who the client is without registration and disclosure?  That's right we have to trust JJOKE to investigate, regulate and enforce so they can tell us.

One problem.

JJOKE can not be trusted with any type of subjective evaluation of motive or motivation for classifying someone as a lobbyist.

Therein lies the real problem with JJOKE's opinion on grassroots lobbying.  How do we know if it was issued because the folks at JJOKE are too stupid to understand what they did or if they knew exactly what they were doing?  It's the Marco Rubio vs Chris Christie debate all over again.

I am comfortable that JJOKE will ultimately be told by Cuomo to walk back this opinion even further than they already have the only question is when and how far.

Let me suggest to any editorial boards that read the blog . . . you should encourage your readers to contact the elected officials and pass a law that eliminates JJOKE.  There I did it I engaged in lobbying.  Of course as a member of the media I am exempt from lobby registration no matter how much I am paid to lobby.  Preet doesn't have that exemption unless he has a blog or some other indicia of being a member of the media.

By the way how would JJOKE define the "media".  I can't wait to read that opinion.

And why do I have to do the lifting here to get rid of JJOKE?  Where are Blair Horner and the rest of the good government crowd?

JJOKE is on the ropes.  They have stepped squarely on their dicks.  It has never been easier to get JJOKE eliminated, modified, changed  whatever you need to advance ethics reform and not a peep from Blair.

It's almost as if he is ready to give Kevin Gagan his stamp of approval for the executive directors job at JCOPE.

To quote President Lyndon Johnson "I know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad" and you Blair have turned into chicken shit.