Friday, October 31, 2014

Risk News (the Halloween / New Jersey Edition)

A conflicts-related editorial coming out of the Garden State : "The Record: Lawyers' conflicts" --
  • "Imagine the fox is running the henhouse. Imagine the fox has ties to a poultry processing corporation. Now imagine you are the hen."
  • "That pretty much sums up where taxpayers stand in New Jersey as long as there is no conflict-of-interest law prohibiting law firms from working for state government while they are also employed as lobbyists trying to influence state government."
  • "While Republican Governor Christie's former top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, is currently under the spotlight for possible conflicts of interest, Democrats and Republicans have taken advantage of this ethical loophole for decades."
  • "Samson, as former Port Authority chairman, voted for projects that also benefited clients being represented by his law firm, Wolff & Samson. And as reported by The Record, governmental affairs agents affiliated with the law firm lobbied the Economic Development Authority for clients while Wolff & Samson was the EDA's bond council."
  • "The scandal involving the George Washington Bridge has spawned numerous investigations – some related to the lane closures and others to the internal operations of the Port Authority. The bi-state agency would not be affected by a Jersey-only law, but Weinberg's bill would do much to put an end to a practice that too often is not in the spotlight."
  • 'Whether anything illegal occurred at the Port Authority during Samson's tenure as chairman has not been determined. But the ethical question can be answered now: Conflicts of interest should be eliminated and avoided."
  • "Weinberg said, 'The fact is that we have to put an end to this culture of influence-wielding, because we are paying a price for political favor-trading and governmental waste and abuse by individuals who seek to enrich themselves on the backs of taxpayers.'"

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