So the FBI and State Troopers show up at your front door …

Certainly some interesting political developments yesterday. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted; former State Senate Majority Dean Skelos indicted; and the FBI, state troopers and state Attorney General staff search the homes of Steve Pigeon, Steve Casey and Chris Grant. And oh yeah, the Sabres finally hired a new coach and former Governor George Pataki announced his candidacy for president. It’s amazing that the News could cram it all into this morning’s edition.

This post concentrates on the local angle – the Pigeon-Casey-Grant story. This is primarily a “what we know” or “what we know if we dig a little” post. There are a lot of facts and history involved in all of this. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s litmus test for potential Supreme Court nominees

As you may have noticed, there will be an election for President of the United States in 2016. What you may not be paying as much attention to, however, is that the next president may get to appoint a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Supreme Court justices serve lifetime terms. Occasionally a justice will resign or retire, but often only death creates a vacancy on the Court. Continue reading

I’m shocked, shocked that politics is going on here

A Buffalo News editorial details the recent hiring of a politically connected operative at the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) for an administrative position, at a salary of $132,000.  The editorial notes that these sorts of things have often happened at the ECWA.  The News recommends that the three commissioners be temporarily be replaced by “professional managers” until the Authority itself can be abolished. Continue reading

Western New York firms and organizations that employed New York State lobbyists in 2014; their costs; the names of the lobbyist firms

This post is mainly a “What We Know,” or perhaps a “what we know if we do a little digging” post.

When I worked at Canisius College one of my responsibilities was to serve as the school’s registered New York State lobbyist. I became familiar with the Lobbying Commission’s rules and procedures, including the periodic reports they require.

The Lobbying Commission later became the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE. As public agencies go, JCOPE is one of the more transparent. Among the things it does is publish an annual report on lobbying activities in the state. Continue reading

The buying of the presidency 2016

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps right that wrong.” President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 27, 2010. Continue reading