Yesterday, Solomon Dwek – the key “criminal-turned informant” for Chris Christie’s US Attorney office who helped that office bust dozens of people, including Democratic politicians – pleaded guilty to bank fraud. But as more and more information sifts out about his role as a “cooperating witness” and his own history, there’s a very disturbing pattern that leads back to Chris Christie. And that pattern looks like more than coincidence.
The first and most obvious question is why someone who committed bank fraud to the tune of $50 million would become a central player in political bribery scandals – especially in areas where he wasn’t involved before. And why did “tough on crime” Christie offer Dwek the opportunity to commit so much crime for so long? Crime is crime whether you’re doing it to get rich, or you’re doing it to keep yourself out of jail for the rest of your life. Why was Dwek allowed to do so much damage to – mainly Democratic – politicians (who should all be punished if guilty). Dwek’s game was bank fraud, hardly the type to wade into political bribery without considerable coaxing, and training. One of the lawyers for one politician (Louis Manzo) said this:
“How does Mr. Dwek get the starring role in this government production?” Lynch asked, following the brief appearance before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark. “We know he’s been charged with stealing $50 million. So how does he get placed in Hudson County, where he has no ties? It’s an interesting question.”
Which leads to another nearly overlooked and more disturbing item – but you’ll only know if you click through…
When Christie and his law partner Bill Palatucci raised money for GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush — $350,000, as Gov. Corzine reminds us — there was a donation reported to the Federal Election Commission on page 153 of an 897-page finance report. You can check it yourself and you will see a $500 donation by a Mr. Dwek, manager of a Yeshiva in West Deal. The amount is low compared to his recent donations to Hudson pols, probably because Dwek was not using taxpayers’ money.
To gauge the meaning of this, I asked a friend from NYC politics, who’s bundled before. Is this more than coincidence?
You don’t bundle from people you don’t know. I have bundled. At the lower level of bundling you usually know everyone who bundles for you.Now at a much higher level, like [someone] who bundled $1 million for John Kerry, it’s more like a chain… But under 100K you basically have some knowledge of the people you got money from.
This isn’t to say that Dwek met Christie. But it does raise a question in terms of the history between Dwek – who could have donated his $500 to the RNC, or to Bush’s primary campaign directly, but didn’t. Dwek’s contribution went through the organization Christie – future US Attorney who molded Dwek into a “cooperating witness” just 6 years later, as he was building a “crime buster” reputation on a history of bribing Democratic politicians around the state.
Another interesting Christie-Dwek connection came out in yesterday’s New York Times on how Michele Brown may have used her office to improperly influence and aid Christie’s run for Governor. Read this on the timing of the arrests Dwek helped with as his informant:
In mid-June, when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors gathered to set a date for the arrests of more than 40 targets of a corruption and money-laundering probe, Ms. Brown alone argued for the arrests to be made before July 1. She later told colleagues that she wanted to ensure that the arrests occurred before Mr. Christie’s permanent successor took office, according to three federal law enforcement officials briefed on the conversation, presumably so that Mr. Christie would be given credit for the roundup.
As it turned out, there was no need to hurry up the corruption arrests to ensure that they would redound to Mr. Christie’s credit: the Obama appointee who replaced him, Paul J. Fishman, was not installed until last Wednesday.
Follow me through this timeline of “coincidences”:
- 2000: Dwek donates $500 to Bush through Christie’s organization.
- 2006: Dwek gets busted for bad checks worth tens of millions
- He then becomes an informant who bribes Democratic politicians – who knows if this was going on from before mid 2006 or if it had to do with Christie’s getting on and then off “the list” of US Attorneys to be fired – recall that Christie and Rove also spoke around this time about a potential run for Governor
- Dwek busts are announced in the middle of Christie’s campaign for Governor, when they can do the most to build his reputation. And the timing raises objections from most in the US Attorney’s office, except Michele Brown, whose relationship with Christie raises many questions including obvious conflict of interest, in her professional conduct and his.
There’s a lot of smoke here. Too many coincidences and artful timing in the way Christie found Dwek, molded Dwek, and used Dwek to entrap politicians in a way that seems too carefully orchestrated to build a political reputation for a man who looks like he was using the United States Attorney’s Office to build himself a political reputation, which is a thing the United States Dept. of Justice forbids expressly, because of potential miscarriage of justice.
This raises questions that should be asked before November 3.