Jim McGreevey, who will formally resign as New Jersey’s governor on November 15th, gathered his friends and supporters for his “farewell speech” today. He had announced his intention to resign on August 12th during what will undoubtedly be referred to as his “I am a gay American” speech.
While I suspect that, in many parts of the country, those five words will be Mr. McGreevey’s legacy, we in New Jersey know better. His problsm is not his sexual preference, but rather that his administration was rife with corruption, fostered by a rotten state government that amazingly seems to evade censure.
Mr. McGreevey’s farewell speech was apologetic.
,,,I am sorry that I have disappointed the citizens of the state of New Jersey who gave me this enormous trust. To be clear, I am not apologizing for being a gay American, but rather, for having let personal feelings impact my decision-making and for not having had the courage to be open about whom I was.
One has to assume that the reference to “personal feelings” refers to his having put his undisputedly unqualified boyfriend in charge of New Jersey’s Homeland Security a few months after September 11th.
However, there are many other “mistakes in judgment” that he did not mention. They include, his lavish family reunion in Ireland for which he tried to bill taxpayers, his free first-class trip to Puerto Rico, courtesy of the Longshoreman’s Union and its president with direct connections to organized crime members, and his association with other corrupt fundraisers (See also here and here).
Of all his “mistakes in judgment,” it was the appointment of his boyfriend to be in charge of New Jersey’s Homeland Security that led to his resignation. The night before his “I am a gay American” speech, one of his consultants gave him the bad news:
“An affair, okay, not bad… . A gay affair, that’s a little bit worse, but okay. You hired your lover as the homeland security adviser without credentials, four months after 9/11 — that’s it. You can’t withstand that. You’ll be impeached. Democrats will join Republicans.
Fortunately, he took his consultant’s advice, but he managed to do it in a way that postponed his actual resignation until November 15th, thereby depriving the citizens of New Jersey from voting for a replacement governor in this past election. The additional time between his announcement of his intention to resign and his actual resignation also permittied him time to make scores of lame duck appointments.
So, what will become of Mr. McGreevey? There was talk that he had accepted a partership in the law firm of state senator Raymond Lesniak, one of his most loyal supporters, but the stories were quickly denied by all concerned. I expect that he will write a book and make the TV talk show rounds as the “governor who was hounded out of office because of his sexual preference.”
Unfortunately for him, the U.S. Attorney knows better, and so do we.