In the early morning hours, FBI agents descended upon several municipalities in Monmouth County and arrested three mayors and eight other government officials for various corruption charges ranging from extortion to money laundering. The arrests were made as a result of an FBI sting in which agents posed as contractors seeking government contracts. They got the contracts, but not until they passed envelopes full of cash to the elected crooks who were arrested today.
Jerseystyle.net has photos of the some of the more prominent arrestees and some interesting commentary. For a view of a Monmouth County blogger’s reaction to this, take a look at The Atlantic Highlands Muse.
One cannot live in New Jersey for as long as I have (i.e. my entire life) and not be cynical about state, county and local politics and the widespread corruption that is legendary at every level of government. However, as I grow older my cynicism has turned to outright revulsion.
In this case, all the FBI had to do was give these political hacks just a tiny whiff of payoff money and they hit the bait like hungry sharks. It’s disgusting.
What’s particularly shameful is that it took the FBI to mount this investigation. Noticeably absent is any mention of New Jersey law enforcement officials having been involved in investigating this widespread corruption. I do not think it unreasonable to suggest that, if New Jersey’s Attorney General is not part of the solution, he must be part of the problem.
Also, I have had it with a lifelong succession of politicians vowing to “clean up government.” As Sluggo points out, this investigation and the arrests were made by the FBI “[w]hile the pols in Trenton mumble aimlessly about reform and pay-to-play legislation… ..”
Perhaps most depressing of all is that if behavior of New Jersey’s voters at the polls is any indication, they don’t seem to give a damn about any of this. It’s just business as usual in the Garden State.