Friday, December 20, 2013

Melissa Mark-Viverito Lobbyist Firm Never Quit, Continued Lobbying Despite Investigations

Mission Accomplished : Mark-Viverito Defeats Garodnick ; Checks And Balances Are For Stooges

New York City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito self-delcared herself the winner in the race to be the next City Council Speaker, saying she had defeated Daniel Garodnick and replacing Christine Quinn, who leaves office on Dec. 31, 2013 ; although, the vote to actually select the next Council speaker won't actually take place until Jan. 8, 2014, leading Jim Dwyer of The New York Times to write, "And you do wonder if former President George W. Bush has phoned City Hall to offer the loan of his Mission Accomplished banner."

Mission Accomplished Melissa Mark-Viverito MMV

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio violated separation of powers by championing Mark-Viverito's speakership. His support for her flies in the face of a possible ethics violations during her speakership race and a campaign finance investigation into the shady dealings of one of her lobbyists. If Mark-Viverito does become speaker, she and the mayor-elect will have authority over the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board to make these investigations go away. How convenient.

The County Boss system has been surpassed by the corruptive influence of money and lobbyists in politics. While neither system is free from corruption, it is incumbent upon good government groups to address the fact that if Mark-Viverito does cinch the speakership, then it will be because of the role of lobbyists and the pay-to-play promises of Council chair appointments, payments of lulus, and distribution of Council slush funds.

These progressives-in-name-only are seizing power through machinations that violate the very anti-corruption principles of progressivism.

What is more, violating separation of powers, campaign finance laws, ethics, and flouting anti-corruption ideals are coming from the "Left." These kinds of actions are typically ascribed to the sleazy, corporate-controlled "Right" in American politics. What a disgrace that all this is playing out in the progressive capital city of New York -- and it's coming from the "Left !"

The Advance Group Flouts Campaign Finance, Ethics Regulations

The Advance Group Never Quit Mark-Viverito Speakership Campaigning, Other Lies Told To The Media

"As controversy simmers around the Advance Group, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito revealed tonight she is no longer taking free advice from the leading consulting firm in her bid for City Council speaker," Ross Barkan reported on Dec. 2, adding that Ms. Mark-Viverito said that, "we will not be receiving any additional advice from The Advance Group."

After Ms. Mark-Viverito's association with Mr. Levenson and The Advance Group was at risk of derailing her speakership campaign, she misrepresented the role of The Advance Group just long enough to take the heat off her campaign, and let one of the lobbying group's consultants continue to provide "crucial" support.

Seventeen days later, it was confirmed that Ms. Mark-Viverito never completely stopped receiving advice from The Advance Group. The very same reporter, Mr. Barkan, to whom she had said, "we will not be receiving any additional advice from The Advance Group," now reported that Mr. Levenson's chief deputy, Jonathan Yedin, kept lobbying on behalf of Ms. Mark-Viverito.

"Ms. Mark-Viverito’s team was Brooklyn-infused for this purpose and included a paid operative, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s chief of staff John Paul Lupo, and an operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club."

It's unclear how Ms. Mark-Viverito can fire The Advance Group but keep receiving advice from one of their chief consultants ? Was Mr. Yedin's involvement just a backdoor way for Scott Levenson to each of keep tabs on the negotiations and feed instructions to Mr. Yedin in a smoke and mirrors attempt to confuse the editorial board of The New York Daily News ?

These are not the only misrepresentations that have been told to the media by those connected with The Advance Group. Representatives from The Advance Group were caught telling two different stories about the firm's work to defeat LGBT candidates for the City Council.

In a Nov. 21 report in The New York Daily News, a spokesperson for the lobbying firm said that the anti-LGBT work that the firm did was as a result of a "favor for a political operative." Four days later, Mr. Levenson told Michael Powell of The New York Times that, "I didn’t do my due diligence."

But Mr. Levenson has a calculating reputation and "tends to hedge his bets" on clients. At the time he was advancing Ms. Mark-Viverito's speakership campaign, it was reported that he had previously attended a function promoting another Council speaker candidate, Inez Dickens. Mr. Levenson also worked for opposing candidates in the same political race.

It may be too soon to find out if all these misrepresentations will have any impact on the investigations, before Ms. Mark-Viverito has them dismissed against her and her lobbyist firm, or if prosecutors will look into this mess.

Conflict between the old County Boss system of Big Business and the Super PAC's and Lobbyists of Special Interests

The aggressive and deliberate flouting of campaign finance laws and ethics regulations pushed the Editorial Board of The New York Daily News to denounce Ms. Mark-Viverito's Council speakership candidacy last month. Relatively speaking, all the backroom machinations of the mayor-elect and the Council speaker-select are making the old County Boss system, never transparent and always shady, look like reformers. As Sal Albanese wrote, "You can't make this up."

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