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December 11, 2010

Patricia Lynch, former Silver aide and lobbyist for FCR, among others, gets fined, but will that clean up Albany? Doubtful.

Atlantic Yards Report

One of Forest City Ratner's (and many others') lobbyists got her hand slapped this week, but it's hardly clear it will make a difference.

From an editorial yesterday in the New York Times, Lobbying for Gold in Albany:

Patricia Lynch, one of the most influential lobbyists in New York State, has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and will be prohibited from doing any business with the state pension fund for five years. When one considers the sleazy way she maneuvered to get lucrative pension investments for her clients, that is only a slap on the wrist.

Ms. Lynch, who was once the top aide to Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, did acknowledge that she tried to “curry favor” with Alan Hevesi, the former comptroller, and his office. (Mr. Hevesi was one of eight people who pleaded guilty in a pay-to-play scheme.) As part of her agreement with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, she was not required to admit any wrongdoing.

We fear it is going to take a lot stronger medicine to change Albany’s relentlessly corrupt culture.

Albany’s lobbyists have far too much power to craft legislation or, more often, kill it. State lobbying codes are scandalously unfair to regular people who don’t have the $10,000 a month that is the going rate to hire Ms. Lynch and her well-connected colleagues.

(Emphasis added)

Among the non-regular people who do have the scratch to hire Lynch are Walt Disney, General Motors, Vornado Realty Trust, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and (ta da) Forest City Ratner, as shown in the state's Project Sunlight and the city lobbying database.

Read the rest of this blog post to see why skepticism is needed if anyone thinks that incoming governor Cuomo will act to diminish the influence of lobbyists.

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Posted by steve at December 11, 2010 9:33 AM