February 22, 2005

Calling All Crooks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:42 pm

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.

6 Comments

  1. Monmouth County Bribery Sting

    It’s clear that there is a relationship between the legal and illegal exchanges of funds. Some of the politicians appear to feel a sense of entitlement to whatever money they can squeeze. By allowing legal transfers (such as the probably-legal purcha…

    Trackback by SmadaNek — February 22, 2005 @ 10:35 pm

  2. I remember when a nice young man in Brick Town NJ took his “boss” and his “boss’” cheauffer for a “ride” and blew their brains out so that he could become “boss”. I remember the local politicians in Ocean County giving the nice young man 14 years for murder (of which he served 7). I can’t think of another situation in the universe where a man would serve 7 years for premeditated 1st degree murder. Most of my friends in Brick were Italian and I loved them but the fact that the politicians I was referring to all had vowels at the end of their names probably had something to do with the ridiculous sentence.

    Don

    Comment by Don — February 23, 2005 @ 6:28 am

  3. Your comment about the FBI is right on. The FBI agent in charge basically said he pulled this sting off b/c Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye wouldn’t tackle the issue of corruption b/c he didn’t think there was an issue. HA! Here’s the article: http://app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050223/NEWS/502230365

    Comment by Tim Hill — February 23, 2005 @ 11:36 am

  4. The arrests don’t surprise me. New Jersey has plenty of corrupt officials and always has. That the FBI made the arrests doesn’t surprise me either. County Prosecutors, I suspect, don’t really have the resources to investigate governement corruption. Investigating a mayor is not the easiest thing to do, a mayor is not without resources. The Attorney General, however, has no excuse other than such investigations are not a priority for whatever reason. What does surprise me though is the disproportionate number of Republicans arrested. This is likely to be VERY BAD for Monmouth County Republicans. Despite these arrests, I believe that on the whole Republican elected officials are less corrupt than their Democratic counterparts. They’re the lesser of two evils. At the very least, though love pay to play and find creative ways to reward their supporter, they may they don’t actually do anything illegal. So I fear that these arrests will hurt honest Repulicans. We will see come Novemeber.

    Comment by Jim — February 23, 2005 @ 9:46 pm

  5. I actually think voters DO care about corruption now. The character of the population in NJ has changed. The old union-dominated, wardheeling politics of the past is no longer going to cut it. NJ has a growing affluent, suburban, professional contingent who didn’t grow up in Jersey City and isn’t resigned to this junk. I think they’ll demand a change. The Torricelli switcheroo angered a lot of people in my neighborhood.

    Comment by NJ Sue — February 24, 2005 @ 7:39 pm

  6. NJ Sue,

    Every election cycle I manage to convince myself that Jersey voters do care and that they’ve had enough. Sadly, however, so far I have been wrong.

    Hope springs eternal, but not in my congressional district.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — February 24, 2005 @ 8:45 pm

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