Tag Archive: Rob Andrews

Rob Andrews’ statement today announcing his resignation from Congress

On Rob Andrews’ Facebook page today, he posted a transcript of his remarks today, announcing he was leaving the House of Representatives after 23 years. In a note with the transcript, he said he was grateful “to have the best employer in the world–the people of our community.”  Andrews:

I want to share today with my constituents and colleagues an announcement about change and thanksgiving.

Nearly twenty four years ago, the people of South Jersey afforded me the opportunity, responsibility and honor of serving as their Representative in the United States House of Representatives. Through times of prosperity and recession, great social change and war and peace, I have gratefully accepted that responsibility and for nearly twenty four years given my all to the tasks before our country and our community.

Continues below the fold.

Rob Andrews confirms: Resigning from Congress Feb. 18

Rep. Rob Andrews announces he's leaving CongressRep. Rob Andrews, 23-year member of the House of Representatives and South Jersey’s senior congressman, is resigning from Congress effective February 18th. Andrews is in the middle of his 12th term. He announced a few minutes ago that he will be heading up the D.C. office of Dilworth Paxson LLP (read: become a lobbyist). Interestingly, the firm’s website trumpets its role in the purchase of the Philly Inquirer and other media holdings to George Norcross’ company.

Andrews has been the subject of an ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation of improper use of campaign funds for Andrews’ personal use. The probe began after reports that Andrews was using campaign funds for trips to California, where his daughter was trying to start up a singing career.

Andrews’ departure will end that inquiry.

Word is that South Jersey and labor leaders will now rally around Donald Norcross to fill the seat in the reliably Dem CD. Norcross is expected to issue a statement later today.

Donald Norcross has had something of a charmed life in New Jersey politics. If he snags a United States Congress seat from here, it will be after only 4 years in elective office in the NJ legislature. And that career began, and and is defined by, getting appointed to seats and special circumstances that virtually guaranteed his success. Norcross, also a labor leader, is very much the beneficiary of his brother’s power.

Norcross and running mate Angel Fuentes were elected to the Assembly in 2009 after Democratic incumbents Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Joe Roberts both retired. Roberts was re-nominated in the primary, but announced that he would not seek re-election in September 2009, allowing his party to pick a ballot replacement: Norcross. He served only one week in the Assembly before being selected to replace Dana Redd in the NJ Senate. All very smooth, involving cogs in the Norcross machine clicking into place and essentially thwarting the Democratic process the voters of South Jersey should be able to exercise if it wasn’t already all done done for them.

Photo credit: @WireNewspapers

Rob Andrews to Retire?

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The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Representative Rob Andrews is going to announce his retirement today at 11:30 a.m.  They say he’ll take over a public affairs firm, another way of saying he’ll become a lobbyist.

UPDATE: The Philadelphia Inquirer, owned by George Norcross III, updated their report to say that State Senator Donald Norcross who is the brother of George Norcross III, is the leading candidate to replace Andrews.  The paper did note the relationship.

Rob Andrews & Bob Menendez on CREW’s List: Most Corrupt Members of Congress

Watchdog group CREW – Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington – today named two members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to their annual list of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress 2013; Rep. Rob Andrews and Sen. Bob Menendez.

Only four Dems are on the list; Menendez and Andrews are half (the other two are from NY). New Jersey’s 15% of the list. Only other senator? Mitch McConnell. Both are under investigation; Andrews by the House Ethics Committee, and Menendez by Senate Ethics. CREW was instrumental at pointing the finger at both, so it should surprise nobody they’re trumpeting their own work.

robert_menendez_new_jersey_corruptionBob Menendez: It was CREW that sent documents to the FBI and DOJ. The suspicion about Menendez’ dealings in the Domincan Republic was sexed up by allegations that he cavorted with underage prostitutes, an anonymous charge that is  likely a right-wing fabrication and smear job. But Menendez has had a harder time offloading suspicion that he used his position to benefit longtime friend Dr. Solomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor who has donated to Menendez for years.

rob_andrews_new_jersey_corruptionRob Andrews: CREW says this:

Donors to Rep. Rob Andrews’ campaigns likely have no idea that the congressman is treating his campaign account like a personal piggy bank.

With Andrews, it’s about alleged misspending of campaign funds on personal luxury expenses; a family trip to Scotland, airline travel to L.A. for himself and his daughter, who wants a career in show business, and a graduation party for another daughter. One thing new to me was Andrews earmarking more than $1.5M for Rutgers Law School, his wife’s employer (you remember Camille Andrews).

CREW’s got a page on each lawmaker on their list. This is what they say about Menendez. Here’s the page on Andrews.

 

Rob Andrews called on Congress to respect atheists & humanists in the military

A couple of weeks ago, Rob Andrews did a good thing, even though the proposal (from Rep. Jared Polis) Andrews put his effort behind was defeated in the backward-leaning House. It would have amended the annual defense spending bill to add nontheistic chaplains into our armed forces. Atheists. Agnostics. Humanists.

Why is this important?

Military suicide rates are spiking. Our fighting men and women are under great stress, given our military adventurism, multiple fronts, and stop-loss. Under any circumstances our active duty & vets deserve the best we can get them (better than they get), and these circumstances are awful.

One safety valve for soldiers is to talk things over with a military chaplain. They can also seek military mental health professionals, but there can be unwanted ramifications for soldiers who do. That leaves non-believers without access to an outlet that may help them. And that’s not right. Andrews:

“Going to a mental health professional is a choice that is laden with risk and some controversy for a member of the service. Going to a faith adviser is not. Depriving those who share the view Mr. Polis outlined of the chance to go to such an adviser is unequal treatment – it is unworthy of the way we operate.”

I know something about the military’s respect and preference for religious observance. In 1981, my cousin Robin Mills was granted honorable discharge after becoming a conscientious objector after he enlisted in the Navy’s nuclear program. It was a crisis of conscience as real as one a Christian or Jew might have. But Robin is an atheist, and that contributed to the Navy’s harsh response. And it was why we sought advice and support not only from famed pediatrician and peace activist Dr. Benjamin Spock, but also Rev. William Sloane Coffin of Riverside Church in NYC, as Robin challenged the Navy (New York Times coverage). The Reverend’s involvement legitimized Robin’s claims in the eyes of the Navy, like nobody else could.  

Buono, Oliver, Sweeney on Christie Special Election Decision – Pallone & Holt In, Andrews Out

Senator and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono on Gov. Christie’s announcement of a special election schedule to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg. Buono:

“Earlier this year, the Governor cited money as to why he vetoed early voting. However, despite costing millions of dollars, Governor Christie made the cynical and arrogant decision to call a special election in October. His choice made it clear that he does not care about wasting taxpayer money. Moreover, by holding two elections within weeks of each other, the Governor will needlessly disenfranchise voters. He should change his decision and hold the election on November 5.”

NJ Speaker of the Assembly Sheila Oliver:

“I’m very disappointed the governor has chosen to be so transparently political and waste taxpayer money on a special October election,” Speaker Sheila Oliver said in a statement issued shortly after Gov. Chris Christie’s decision was announced Tuesday.

NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney:

“I appreciate that the governor heeded my call, and that of others, to ensure that the voters of New Jersey will get a chance this year to decide who will represent them in the Senate.  Waiting 17 months to allow the public to have their say simply wasn’t an option,” Sweeney said.”That being said, it certainly would have been more rational to hold the election in November instead of October,” he added.

Meanwhile, the special election schedule outlined today by Gov. Christie means that seated members of Congress will not risk their seats in an effort to compete on the ballot for the chance for a spot in Congress’ upper house, and against Cory Booker, who has already been working toward a Senate campaign for months. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt appear ready to jump. Rep. Rob Andrews, who challenged Lautenberg in a 2008 Senate primary will sit it out this time.  

House Ethics Investigation of Rep. Rob Andrews Begins

Rob AndrewsHe is the star product of George Norcross’ stable of South Jersey Democratic politicians, and a key reason why many in South Jersey feel better represented in Congress than before 1990, before him. A popular congressman, who received more votes in the federal election 5 years ago than anyone ever elected to the House from New Jersey – breaking his own record – and this after a failed bid to unseat Frank Lautenberg in a Senate primary, a move that damaged him in the eyes of many Jersey Dems. A member of the House Armed Services Committee, in a part of NJ where may veterans live. A right-hand-man to Nancy Pelosi when she ran the House.

By all accounts, Rep. Rob Andrews is a power player. And now, finally, he is the subject of a formal investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

The allegations are that Andrews violated House rules and federal law by using campaign funds to pay for personal trips to Scotland, putting up his family in a 5-star hotel costing $7,725 for three nights, and using a 300-attendee graduation party for his daughter to raise more money for his campaigns. A 2011 report by Star-Ledger also found donations to Philadelphia-area theaters that put on productions in which his daughter had roles; and trips to California that coincided with another daughter’s fledgling show business career, all paid with campaign cash. The allegations involve tens of thousands of dollars. Andrews denies any wrongdoing.

If these allegations are true, they represent monumental stupidity on the part of Congressman Andrews. And he should go from the House. What is involved here is his alleged misuse of funds donated in good faith by his supporters, who had a right to expect that he would spend them on rightful campaign expenses, and not on lifestyle choices for his family or the promotion of his kids into show business. At this point, Norcross has developed a deep enough bench that somebody else can be promoted up the ranks and promoted to CD1 voters.

I hope to hell Andrews’ name is cleared after this investigation. We’ll see.  

One Good Turn Deserves Another: An Open Letter to Frank Lautenberg

Dear Senator Lautenberg:

I am writing to ask you to endorse your good friend and political ally, Congressman Steve Rothman, whose political career is on the line this Tuesday, June 5, when he faces Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. in the primary election in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District.

You more than anyone should know what it means to have your career be on the line in a primary election.  After victoriously returning to the United States Senate as the replacement candidate for disgraced former Senator Robert “When did we become such an unforgiving people?” Torricelli (who Pascrell supported when Torricelli was considering a gubernatorial run in 2000-2001) in 2002, you were challenged in 2008 by Congressman Rob Andrews, a minion of Norcrossippi party boss, George Norcross, and in an attempt to flex his political muscles outside of his Norcrossippi fiefdom, Norcross reached out to the other party bosses.

One of these bosses was Bergen County Bossman Joe Ferriero, who for some time had been embroiled in a feud with the progressive State Senator Loretta Weinberg and was looking for allies who could help him defeat her once and for all.  Ferriero and Norcross were on the verge of striking a deal that would provide Ferriero with the help that he was seeking in return for him delivering the BCDO’s party line to Rob Andrews, which would have likely produced a domino effect that would have also resulted in Andrews getting the lines in other Democratic strongholds in North and Central Jersey, almost guaranteeing him victory in the primary election.