Today, on March 14, 2012, as reports indicate that the “big ugly” nears (the huge negotiated agreement among the leaders in Albany), Community Voices Heard and VOCAL-NY submit a request to the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, regarding the relationship between the Committee to Save New York and the office of Governor Cuomo, as per our original submission in February 2011 calling for an investigation. As we stated in this request:
“The Committee to Save New York continues to spend a massive amount of money to influence the state budget debates but we have no clearer understanding today as to the Committee’s relationship to the Governor’s office than we had in February 2011 when we filed our initial complaint. For these reasons we request an update on the status of our complaint.”
VIA FAX to (518) 408-3975
March 14, 2012
Theresa A. Schillaci
NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics
Albany, New York 12207
Re: Investigation of the Committee to Save New York & Governor Cuomo
Dear Ms. Schillaci:
We write in reference to our complaint dated February 16, 2011, which was originally submitted to your predecessor entity, the Commission on Public Integrity (CPI). We know the CPI has since been dissolved and the NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics has taken over much of its responsibilities so we write to ensure this complaint did not get lost in that transition. The complaint is attached below and available online at www.scribd.com/doc/48976762/Cpi-Letter-Feb-2011-Final.
Due to the an increasing amount of public advocacy being undertaken by the Committee to Save New York, including millions of dollars in television advertisements leading into the final days of the 2012 budget negotiations, we write to request an update regarding the status of our original complaint. It is particularly vital to understand this relationship as the Committee to Save New York files its first bi-monthly lobbying disclosure information for 2012.
We outlined our concerns in our original February 2011 complaint, which is attached below for your convenience. Our concerns then, as they are now, include:
We believe the Committee to Save New York — which is inextricably linked to the Governor’s office through personal and professional relationships, which was established at the “urging” of the governor himself, which has reportedly raised more than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) to spend on television advertisements in explicit support of the Governor’s budget proposals that are currently before the state legislature, which, we outline below, did not register as a lobbyist with the Commission in a manner compliant with the Commission’s rules and the State Lobbying Act, and which should be expected to first report on those expenditures by the March 15, 2011 bi-monthly reporting deadline — should be required to list Governor Cuomo on its lobbying registration as a third party on whose behalf it is lobbying.
It is our understanding that The Committee to Save New York, acting as both a client and its own lobbyist, was non-compliant with its registration requirements under the state Lobbying Law and under the Commission’s rules. Further, it is our understanding that the Committee is intending to lobby on the behalf of a third party — namely, Governor Andrew Cuomo — and therefore must include the Governor’s name, address, and phone number on the Committee’s statement of registration.
As we have outlined above, the Committee is acting at the request of and to benefit of the governor. The Committee’s registration should list the Governor, the Governor’s address and his phone number on the statement of registration.
The Committee to Save New York continues to spend a massive amount of money to influence the state budget debates but we have no clearer understanding today as to the Committee’s relationship to the Governor’s office than we had in February 2011 when we filed our initial complaint. For these reasons we request an update on the status of our complaint.
For future correspondence regarding this matter, please reach out to Chris Keeley at ChrisNYSA@gmail.com or 917-847-3625 as the primary contact.
Community Voices Heard