Tag Archive: Conflict of Interest

The Difference Between Oregon and New Jersey

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Oregon Governor Announces Resignation Amid Ethics Scandal

Just one month after becoming the first Oregon governor to start a fourth term, Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation in the face of ongoing investigations probing conflict of interest allegations involving the governor and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes. Reports have emerged about how Ms. Hayes may have used her access to the governor to make money.

An ethics scandal…involving a close personal friend?!

The state attorney general’s office and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission continue to investigate.


The state attorney general’s office is investigating the governor?

The Government Ethics Commission is investigating the governor?

What kind of sick, twisted place is Oregon???

Activist pressure on the State Ethics Commission on David Samson

UPDATE: Commission clears Dudley Burdge of wrongdoing, and acknowledges it’s looking into the David Samson case. Burdge expressed anger, saying he suspected it was the Christie administration’s way of forcing CWA, his union and one Christie has made a politicslenemy, to bleed money and resources on his defense. He’s probably right.

NJ Working Families, CWA and other social justice and pro-labor activists are putting pressure on the NJ State Ethics Commission to use their powers to investigate David Samson. This morning, they showed up to press that case in person.

What the Commission focused on today, instead of the obvious issues of ethics involved in the unfolding Christie administration abuse of power questions, is the five-year-old case of CWA’s Dudley Burdge, a case which has already been dismissed by an Administrative Law Judge at a hearing early this year. CWA’s John Connelly tells Blue Jersey the story.

To the right, Dudley Burdge this morning, holding a sign reminding commissioners he didn’t close a bridge, or make millions for his law firm. He just made a phone call.

“In the six weeks since we filed ethics charges against David Samson our case has only grown stronger, and Samson’s resignation was necessary but not sufficient to repair this breach of the public trust,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families. “The State Ethics Commission is supposed to be a nonpartisan watchdog. It’s time they act like it.”

                            – Analilia Mejia, NJ Working Families

Christie is David Koch’s “kind of guy”. Is he yours?

We recently heard that billionaire right wing financier David Koch called Governor Christie “my kind of guy” in a double secret keynote speech that Christie recently gave at a super secret Koch sponsored conference.  With that, I put this little video together highlighting what else David Koch is into, and makes me wonder whether others know why someone like David Koch would be so enamored with Christie.


Christie’s pattern of quid pro quo – what else is he planning?

On the heels of the revelations of Governor Christie’s secret trip and turn as keynote speaker at the Koch retreat, a new interest was stirred up in Governor Christie’s interesting timing when he withdrew New Jersey from the RGGI (something that we noted here back in early June), since “Coptergate” was all about Christie meeting with Koch-related individuals.

But this longstanding pattern of Christie giving out favors, no bid deals and apparently now policy issues to special interests who donate money or help his career in exchange for him giving them money goes back at least as far as him first getting the job as US Attorney – and should be used as a tale of caution as his decisions are made, policies are pushed or actions are taken – even more so since he is vice chairman of the RGA.

Let’s take a trip down a long and troubled memory lane:

And that is just to name a few bigger ones that we know about.  

The timing of Christie’s meeting with Koch-related Republican donors and the RGGI pullout is highly suspect.  The Kochs have their fingers in a great number of industries and interests – many of which have an impact on New Jersey.  Given the Koch’s behavior and money, and Christie’s love for quid pro quo to further his ego and political ambitions, every action he takes should be viewed with this lens and skepticism.

Corzine’s E-mail Fiasco: A Profound Lack of Judgment?

Governor Corzine’s refusal to release e-mails exchanged with Carla Katz, head of the CWA, despite a Court Order to do so, is troubling.  The Governor is claiming executive privilege and, although he continues to fight the Court Order, he recently acknowledged that because of his upcoming battle for re-election, he may accede to the Court’s wishes and release the e-mails.  State Republican Chairman Tom Wilson had requested the communications soon after the CWA and the Governor’s Office came to agreement regarding a new contract last year.  In May, Superior Court Judge Paul Innes decided that the e-mails constituted public information and ordered them released.  While the Governor is concerned that his refusal to turn over the e-mails will be an issue when he runs for re-election, he is missing the bigger picture:  his lack of judgment regarding the exchange of the e-mails in the first place.  

Dual Office Holders Incompatible with Ethical and Inclusive Government

On a recent campaign stop I was asked by a citizen what does it mean? He asked the question because I have it on my literature. I would like address it:
Holding of municipal and freeholder positions creates a conflict of interest, is undemocratic, concentrates power in the hands of few and encourages double or triple dipping. The practice of nominating a well connected politician to multiple public positions is unethical and is offensive to inclusive government.
It took many years and public pressure to convince some Morris County elected officials that the practice is wrong I would like to commend Freeholder Feyl for resigning his municipal job and Chegwidden for giving it a serious consideration. After all they are following the recommendation of their Republican colleague who has been introducing bills to that effect since 2002. I would like to quote Senator Kean.

“Allowing politicians to hold multiple elected positions is driving property taxes higher and higher. It concentrates power in the hands of a few and creates conflicts of interest.  It frustrates the system of checks and balances between levels and branches of government, promotes pension double-dipping, amplifies pork-barrel spending and restricts the number of people involved in government at a time when we need fresh ideas.”

This is not a new concept. It took several years for 2 of the freeholders to accept the idea that it is wrong. My opponents, however, continue to disregard the public sentiment, common sense and their own leaders.
Freeholder Schrier is a Mendham Township committee member as such he holds dual elected positions. It creates a poor public perception of our Government and raises issues of accountability.

Freeholder Cabana is listed as prosecutor in 8 Morris County Municipalities according to the 2007 Morris County Manual. Morris County has many qualified lawyers. Douglas Cabana, however, contributes to local candidates in a typical pay to play scenario. This is not illegal but it creates a very poor perception of our county government. Inclusive government seeks candidates from variety of constituents and from both parties.
I recently was present at the Mt. Arlington council meeting where citizens raised concerns about the elimination of their police department. A concerned citizen indicated that Mayor Ondish accepted campaign contributions from Cabana.
I would like to contrast this behavior with that of slightly less prolific Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi. One of Bianchi’s first key hires was William Schievella as deputy chief of investigations. He had been a Republican councilman in Rockaway Township.

Morris County needs inclusive government representing all of our citizens regardless of party affiliation or political contributions.
Unfortunately, the nominees to the Morris County boards and commissions are highly partisan and are not representative of the will of our citizens.

I am running for the Freeholder Board to regain the trust of the voters and to eliminate any gaps in ethics and the perception of such. I am running to eliminate pay to play and to have a truly representative and inclusive government. I will open nominations to citizens of both parties and seek nominees based on qualifications and not political contributions.

Who’s Smearing Bob Today?

Straight out of the Rove/Bush Smearing Your Opponent for Dummies [2006 edition] playbook, the Kean Jr campaign is trotting out new accusations against Senator Menendez on a nearly daily basis. It doesn’t matter that the they’re baseless – they just keep throwing things out hoping something sticks. The latest smear du jour:

State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-Sussex) claim Menendez violated House ethics rules by working to prevent a $3.5 billion merger of Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. in 2003 while owning stock in the rival Spanish Broadcasting System.

The interesting thing here is to note who Kean Jr and the Republicans picked to launch this attack. The pickings on the GOP bench must be pretty slim considering they had to resort to Assemblywoman Allison Littell McHose.

McHose has a lot of nerve talking about conflicts of interests. Her mother, former Republican state chair Virginia Littell, is a lobbyist for Hamburg Mountain development. In 2002, her father, State Senator Robert Littell, used his position as chairman of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee to get $7.2 million in state grants to purchase Hamburg Mountain. If Assemblywoman McHose is looking for a conflict of interest, she need not look any further than her own back yard.

And THAT’s who’s smearing Bob today.

More Drama on the Warehouse

NJ Tammany has been following the crusade of Jersey City Mayor Jerry Healy to impose his will on the city and build a warehouse on overcrowded Rt 1&9 between the Pulasky Skyway and an antiquated draw bridge that connects Jersey City to Newark.  The County wants to buy the property and build a golf course – as Hudson County is the only county in NJ without a public course (although you can join the Country Club at Liberty State Park for a paltry $300,000 a year).  As with all things political in Jersey, there is no point too tangential to work for everything it’s worth.  We’ve now reached that part in the PJP Warehouse Epic.

From the Jersey Journal‘s Jarrett Renshaw, we get this story:

Downtown Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop believes his council colleagues Mariano Vega Jr. and Mary Spinello should sit out further votes on the controversial warehouse proposed for the old PJP landfill in Jersey City.

Fulop said yesterday he plans to ask the Jersey City Ethics Commission to render an opinion on the subject since both Vega and Spinello have full-time government jobs connected with the site.

Well, that sounds reasonable:

Charlie Epps’ Other Scandal

Still fresh from the scandal over his extravagance in Oxford on the tax-payer’s dime, Charlie Epps is now finding his way onto the pages of the Jersey Journal for another scandal.  Earl Morgan and Ken Thorbourne report on the Superintendant/Assemblyman’s hiring practices:

Jersey City’s schools chief Charles T. Epps Jr., who doubles as a state assemblyman for Jersey City and Bayonne, has hired four school district employees to part-time jobs on his state assembly staff – further blurring the lines between his two public roles.

Ellen Zadroga, Epps’ $129,508-a-year executive assistant and Charles Trefurt, a $129,508-a-year special assistant to the superintendent, have both been hired as $12,000-a-year legislative aides, according to state records obtained by The Jersey Journal.

Epps has also hired Linda Zupko, an analyst with the board, and part-time Board of Education security guard Robert Marshall as legislative aides. Zupko is paid $67,000 annually for her day job and earns another $5,000 a year for her Assembly work.

It seems that Prince Charlie just can’t keep his jobs straight.