Tag Archive: Tom Kean Jr

Junior Dodges 27 Iraq Questions

During yesterday’s debate Tom Kean Jr repeatedly refused to answer whether, given what he knows now about WMD, if he would have voted for the Iraq War. After asking him 4 times, the moderator gave up and said “OK, you’re not going to answer that question.” It’s an important question because it’s possible we could face a similar situation in the future and we deserve to know how our elected officials would respond in matters of life or death.

At the press gaggle after the debate, reporters followed up and tried to get a simple answer. For 8 minutes, Tom Kean Jr dodged their 23 questions about the Iraq War.

He did make two important points though:
1. Bob Menendez voted against giving the troops bullets.
2. Tom Kean Jr was a volunteer firefighter, so he understands war.


Tom Kean Jr Paid Just 4% in Taxes

From the Menendez campaign. This is incredible:

Tom Kean Jr. released federal tax returns today showing that despite making $202,488 in income, he only paid $8,146 in tax in 2005 – an effective tax rate of only 4%.  Kean Jr. used tax shelters and other investments to shield most of his income from taxation.

In response, Menendez for Senate Communications Director Matthew Miller made the following statement:

“Tom Kean’s tax returns tell us everything that’s wrong with tax policy in America today.  Tom Kean Jr., who earns most of his $200,000 income from a trust fund and dividends, pays only 4% of his earnings in taxes while nurses, firefighters, and school teachers pay anywhere from 10 to 20% of their income in taxes under George Bush’s policies.  Those are the tax policies Tom Kean Jr. says he wants to make permanent, despite record deficits, and now we know why.  Bob Menendez will fight those policies because New Jersey need tax cuts for the middle class, not the wealthiest 1%, and we need to restore fairness to our tax policy so everyone pays their fair share.”

Why Won’t Junior Sign the Clean Elections/Ethics Pledge?

For a campaign that has run on “ethics” despite evidence to the contrary (UnitedHealth, Horizon payoffs, casino payoffs, Kissingergate, etc.), Tom Kean Jr.’s senate run is long on rhetoric but short on verifiable actions for ethics and clean elections. The latest example comes from the Public Campaign Action Fund, which works for clean elections and has asked Junior to sign a petition that works to “1) make elections fair, 2) restore accountability, and 3) protect voters’ right-to-know.”

What the Public Action Campaign Fund is calling for isn’t controversial: they merely want elected officials to pledge not to take money from lobbyists and special interest groups without making such information public, to stop taking gifts from lobbyists, and to make elections transparent and publicly funded.  Kean Jr. hasn’t signed the petition, but Bob Menendez, who he often falsely accuses of ethical breaches, has already signed it.

What is Junior hiding?  Is it his connection to Big Oil, where he holds hundreds of thousands in stocks, or is it his “quid pro Kean” votes in exchange for specific votes while a state legislator? For someone who supposedly holds ethics in such high esteem, Junior is once again not following rhetoric with action.


Junior’s Guilt by Association

Tom Kean Jr’s smear campaign is one based on guilt by association. He likes to point out the bad apples in the Democratic party to insinuate that Bob Menendez is just as bad – or worse.

Bad apples like Robert L. Norton, former executive VP and CFO of Fabri-Centers, who was fined nearly $140,000 by the SEC for doing some fuzzy math for the company (fraud).

Certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of person Mr Clean Tom Kean would want to associate with. Yet Kean Jr has accepted $2,600 from Mr Norton, who also happens to be his father-in-law.

So next time he attacks Menendez for the failures of others, it’s fair to ask if Junior will tell his father-in-law to stay away from his swearing in should he win.

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, October 17

  • The investigation of State Senator Wayne Bryant is expanding, with federal investigators subpoenaing financial records from Department of Children and Families’ dealings with Bryant’s former employer UMDNJ, and records from the Office of Legislative Services about public agencies’ business with Bryant’s law firm.
  • The Nat’l Republican Senate Committee is pouring more money into Tom Kean JUNIOR’s senate run, now to re-run an ad about ethics questions. No comment was made about the irony of JUNIOR redirecting attention with ethics questions.
  • Assembly Democrats are hearing updates and ideas from the special committees set up this summer to investigate property tax reform, hoping to meet the deadline they set of one month from now. Meanwhile, state Sen. Bill Gormely has proposed revamping the health insurance program for public employees, which would face strong opposition from the unions.
  • Moving forward: Lucile Davy is officially the state education commissioner now, while State Supreme Court Associate Justice James Zazzali has been approved by the State Senate judiciary committee to move to chief justice and Appellate Division Justice Helen Hoens has been approved to move to the high court.
  • Mayors are still allowed to collect fees for performing weddings. An ethics violation determination by the Department of Community Affairs has been dropped.
  • The Borough Council in Keyport is expected to consider a proposed ordinance that would fine landlords $1000 if they have units rented to illegal immigrants. “This is a racist ordinance with the sole purpose of getting rid of all Latinos in Keyport,” said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders. “We are ready to file a lawsuit in federal court should it ever be adopted.”
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ has settled a class-action suit brought by 40,000 doctors who said they were shortchanged by Our Fair State’s largest HMO. Horizon agreed to “continue significant business practice improvements” and will pay the doctors’ lawyer fees.
  • Atlantic City’s Steel Pier Amusement Park closed its doors this past weekend. Trump Entertainment plans to redevelop the pier, but into what is as yet unknown.
  • Feel crowded in this morning? About 7:46AM today, the United States population crossed the 300 million mark.
  • Today is the LAST DAY to register to vote to be eligible to vote in the election on Nov. 7th. Go here if you need information, and pass it on! You can also go vote now, if you’d like- no reason is needed to vote absentee in Our Fair State.

Open Thread: What’s on your mind today, Blue Jersey?

Tom Kean Jr Thinks Plan to Fight Gangs is Just “Ridiculous Rhetoric”

Everyone not living in a bubble understands that gang violence is a large and growing problem in New Jersey that’s spreading beyond the state’s urban areas. And then there’s Clueless Country Club Kean Jr.

You see, earlier today Senator Menendez introduced his three-tiered anti-gang initiative (from a press release):

Menendez’s plan combines empowerment and enforcement measures to crack down on gang violence where it exists. The prevention element of Menendez’s plan includes additional resources for after-school programs and job training, as well as a new grant program to promote innovative programs targeting at-risk youth, deterring gang activity, and providing alternatives for students to develop other interests. Menendez’s plan also includes anti-recidivism measures, such as transitional housing services and hiring programs that would assist first-time offenders in re-entering society.

The proposal would also empower communities to tackle gangs head-on by creating a new COPS-style grant program to put more police on the street to fight gangs, and a new Public Housing Gang Elimination Program, which would provide resources to public housing authorities to fight gangs.

The enforcement measures include stiffening sentences for gang-related crimes and violent gun crimes, as well as increasing penalties for the recruitment of juveniles into gangs. The Menendez plan would also improve information collection and sharing through a national database that would help target limited resources in the fight against gangs.

The proposal drew praise from Newark and Trenton’s mayors, but Tom Kean Jr didn’t seem to care much for it.

While a supporter of his complains about Hudson County’s gang problems in a recent radio ad, Tom Kean Jr offers no solutions to the problem. Given a chance to discuss a serious, substantive issue with voters, his spokeswoman instead called Menendez’s plan “more ridiculous rhetoric.”

That’s all this is to him. Because in his cloistered little world, gang violence is nothing but a political club to smear an opponent with. His entire campaign has been designed to avoid facing reality. He tours the state visiting country clubs, avoiding questions, avoiding debates and avoiding cameras. And when he has to step out of his carefully choreographed charade of a campaign for just a moment, he reveals just how out of touch he is with the state he wants to represent.

Update: I don’t think Junior has any clue, but this was politically stupid, too. If his downplaying of the issue gets any media coverage, it will hurt him with suburban and rural voters, too.

500,000 Reasons a Vote for Kean is a Vote for Bush

The New York Times reports that the national Republican party is now abandoning Senator Mike DeWine (OH), just as they previously have abandoned Senators Lafee (RI), Santorum (PA), and Burns (MT).  They’re left defending Missouri, Tennessee, and (perhaps) Virginia.  And as for us:

The next important decision for Republicans is whether to compete in New Jersey; they plan to spend about $500,000 on advertising this week, followed by polling to see how vulnerable Mr. Menendez is to his Republican challenger, Thomas H. Kean Jr. Going into New Jersey is a costly gamble, because it requires advertising in both the New York City and Philadelphia markets, which party strategists said could easily eat up $2.5 million a week.

So this is it:  Another negative ad blitz, and if Senator Menendez can withstand it, the Republicans will write off yet another race.  They’re desperate to hold onto 50 seats so that they can avoid accountability for George W. Bush’s mismanagement.

This week, we’ll see 500,000 reasons a vote for Kean is a vote for Bush.  So much for “independent” Tom Kean.

Update (jmelli): The GOP’s playing the same broken record…June 20, 2005:

Nat’l GOP to invest big in N.J. gov race
WASHINGTON – The national Republican Party is looking to pump some money into New Jersey for a change, citing the prospect of winning this year’s race for governor in the Garden State.

In the past two presidential elections, the GOP has looked to New Jersey as a place to gather money, not spend it in search of votes.

But this year, the national Republicans see New Jersey as an attainable prize, and plan to work hard for Doug Forrester, the GOP gubernatorial candidate.

You know they’re getting desperate when the money shifts from Ohio to New Jersey. Bring it on, fellas.

The Campaign of a Coward: Tom Kean Jr.

I’m not one to incorporate the standard language of machismo which dominates modern political discourse into my own political analyses, but Kean Jr.’s actions are proving him to be, for lack of a better term, downright cowardly.  For the entire election season, Kean Jr. has made excuse after excuse not to attend debates – from the recent League of Women Voters one to the first debate in June, when he was arguing he had to cast a vote in the state senate – and actually, heaven forbid, discuss substantive issues rather than make often baseless charges.