Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Patterns of Illegality

The NY Post is reporting this morning about an investigation into the way in which a NYC DOE official used public workers illegally to lobby for the LIFO law-one of the mayor's main legislative objectives:

"A high-level city education official who had worked on Mayor Bloomberg’s re-election campaign pushed school staffers to engage in political lobbying on behalf of the administration, a city investigation found.

DOE Public Affairs Director Lenny Speiller inserted language into a petition sent out to parent coordinators at 400 schools in March urging state legislators to repeal a law that requires teachers to be laid off in order of reverse seniority, known as last-in, first-out."

What law was broken? Here is where it gets interesting for us at WPU-and there is a direct correlation to the Claire Shulman illegal lobbying claim: "The report by Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon found that Speiller had violated the state constitution by using public resources – in this case, city workers – for a private, political cause.

It also found that Speiller had emailed his proposed edits of the petition to Bloomberg’s director of state legislative affairs in Albany, Micah Lasher, and Lasher's associate, seeking feedback.

While the associate OK'd the language, Lasher did not respond to Speiller's email, according to Condon, but he wasn’t questioned about his involvement either. “I didn’t see any need for it,” said Condon, who explained that his focus was on determining who had written the political language into the petition. But some questioned why the probe didn’t examine whether Lasher or officials higher up the command chain were aware of Speiller's actions

Was this guy Speiller the lone person responsible? "But some questioned why the probe didn’t examine whether Lasher or officials higher up the command chain were aware of Speiller's actions. “If [Lasher] was involved, we should know about it,” said United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, who prompted the probe with a complaint to Condon’s office."

Speiller, for his part, won't live up to his name-he's not talking. So what will happen to this culprit (er, scapegoat)?

"Prior to coming to the DOE, Speiller had worked in a variety of political positions -- most recently as the Bloomberg re-election campaign’s get-out-the-vote director.Records show that he committed a similar political lobbying no-no as chief of staff to City Councilmember James Gennaro.

In 2007, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board fined Speiller $1,000 for using city resources and soliciting council staff members to work on Gennaro’s re-election campaign. DOE officials acknowledged Speiller’s “poor judgment” but, despite his second strike, served him solely with a letter of reprimand and required ethics training

But if a state law was violated should it be left to the Condon to pursue justice-and no district attorney or federal prosecutor? This is the same thing in regards to the Shulman action-"...using public resources...for a private, political cause. " But in the Shulman shenanigans it was actual money and not city workers that were used for the advancement of the private cause of all the developers who funded the Shulman LDC.

In our view, this should be count 2 in the indictment-are you paying attention AG?