State records show how difficult avoiding appearances of conflicts can be when part-time legislators split their time as lawyers in the private sector, where lobbyists also seek to influence public decisions.
For example, longtime Albany lobbyist Arthur "Jerry" Kremer works for the same law firm as Skelos. The firm's website identifies him as "partner and chair of the Municipal and Regulatory Affairs Department." Kremer is also chairman of Empire Government Strategies, which lobbies Albany, lobbying records show.
Kremer, however, said he is no longer a partner at the firm where Skelos works. He said he is now only an attorney and doesn't direct or participate in the compensation decisions of attorneys.
Skelos and Kremer say they take pains to avoid conflicts when Kremer is lobbying Albany.
"My policy -- all the years -- was I don't deal with Dean," Kremer said. "I do not. It's off-limits." Instead, Kremer said he lobbies other senators and Assembly members.
"There is a wall," said Skelos' spokesman Reif. "He doesn't have anything to do with that. There is a total wall. They don't discuss it . . . anything relevant."
There is a total wall between them, do you understand?
Nothing relevant ever gets discussed between these two men because there is a total wall between them and even Ronald Reagan couldn't get it torn down.
Sure, whatever you say.