Monday, December 24, 2007

R. Milhouse Spitzer, Judith Enck and Peter Pope

“Many, many, many of us are sick of being bashed in speeches and then called up for money.”

That's what an anonymous Albany-based lobbyist told the Times today. Regarding Governor Spitzer's long planned December 3 fund-raiser that netted $1.5 million another lobbyist said, “I may have gotten six different e-mails on that fund-raiser. We’re all being solicited to bundle contributions.”

The Times further reports:

"Some of Mr. Spitzer’s aides and appointees continue to keep lobbyists at arm’s length. Mr. Spitzer’s deputy secretary for the environment, Judith Enck, for example, does not allow a lobbyist to meet with her for more than 15 minutes, and she does not do meals. 'If you can’t make your case in 15 minutes, you’re not a particularly effective spokesperson for your cause,' Ms. Enck said."

Ms. Enck should know. She was a long-time left-wing Albany lobbyist, which the Times curiously did not report.

Judith Enck is the personification of the Spitzer administration. It's an ethical badge of honor for her to refuse to meet with lobbyists for more than 15 minutes or dine with them. So what. Does that somehow make her morally superior?

Governor Spitzer and his senior staff remain incapable of communicating with New Yorkers without an overwrought self-righteousness. And they're also completely oblivious to the hypocrisy they've created.

Perhaps the most hilariously funny - and hypocritical - example of this troubling personal demeanor at work in Governor Spitzer's second floor Capitol offices is Peter Pope. Today's Times reports:

"Several people also said that Peter Pope, the governor’s policy director, was widely considered to be hostile to lobbyists, especially when their clients disagreed with Mr. Spitzer’s priorities."

Mr. Pope, as I previously noted, is represented by Susan Necheles in the ongoing Dirty Tricks scandal. Ms. Necheles was once counsel to Venero Mangano, a Genovese crime family member also known as "Benny Eggs" who served 15 years in prison for extortion.

Obviously, if you're an Albany lobbyist be sure to avoid Mr. Pope. But if you're in the market for an underboss or need a tutorial for the proper way to sleep on a mattress in a vacant apartment in your suit, Mr. Pope may be a resource.

No matter how much dirtier the Dirty Tricks scandal becomes, there will be stories about the holier-than-thou comportment of Governor Spitzer and his aides. In the meantime, I'll take lunch for longer than 15 minutes with any lobbyist in Albany every time over lunch with Ms. Enck, Mr. Pope and Mr. Pope's mob attorney.