Cross-posted at Mccs1977November 3, 2009
Ethics Panel Investigates Free Tickets for Paterson
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
The State Commission on Public Integrity has begun a preliminary inquiry into the solicitation of free tickets for the opening game of the World Series by aides to Gov. David A. Paterson, an administration spokesman confirmed on Monday.
The inquiry follows revelations that a senior adviser to the governor, David Johnson, asked a Yankee official for five tickets for the game, at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Mr. Paterson attended the game along with Mr. Johnson; Mark Leinung, the deputy director of state operations; the governor’s son, Alex; and one of his son’s friends. The tickets, with a face value of $425 each, seated them a few rows behind home plate.
State law forbids officials in the executive branch from soliciting or accepting gifts of more than nominal value from any lobbyist if the gift appears intended to sway the official. The Yankees organization is registered to lobby the Paterson administration, as well as the State Legislature, in connection with financing for the stadium.
. . .
While state ethics rules do allow some gifts accepted in connection with official duties, they appear to exclude most tickets to sporting events. An advisory opinion by the commission last year stated that attendance at events which are “substantially recreational in nature” cannot generally be considered official duties.
Though the commission, which can levy fines for ethics breaches, cannot acknowledge a continuing investigation, a spokesman, Walter Ayres, said exceptions to the ban were few.
-Give you three guesses as to who drops by Weekend Update next SNL. How this guy can still be entertaining running for Governor is beyond me.