Tag Archive: Robert Torricelli

Lessons not learned: Sen. Menendez and NJ Politicians Breaking Badly

It is too early to determine the fate of U. S. Senator Bob Menendez who CNN reported will be indicted on charges related to favors he provided to his largest campaign contributor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Sen. Menendez has responded, “Let me be very clear – very clear. I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law… I am not going anywhere.” Whether these known favors involve only bending the rules or actually breaking the rules is not yet established. Nonetheless, his actions appear far less ethical than what we should expect.

Unfortunately, this news about a New Jersey U. S. Senator is all too familiar as he would be the fourth in a generation to run afoul of the law. Similarly New Jersey congressmen have created their own problems. Hudson County, the political base of Sen. Menendez, has had its share of politicians breaking badly. Now our governor is under federal investigation with an uncertain future. Recent NJ history has provided plenty of warnings about the dangers of bending and breaking rules – warnings which all too frequently have not been heeded.  

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.

The Torch saves Stevens?

The long-time senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens, is on trial in Washington.  He’s accused of “lying on financial disclosure forms to hide more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations to his house.”  Stevens not only didn’t pay for the renovations, he was never billed for them.  But was that due to corruption on his part?  Look  at the new evidence:

In court yesterday, Allen said Stevens — who, at age 84, is running for reelection to a seventh Senate term — never paid for the work.

Allen also said he never sent Stevens a bill for the renovations, which Veco documents valued at tens of thousands of dollars in labor and material. In 2002, Stevens sent Allen a handwritten letter asking for a bill for a new first-floor deck installed by Veco employees.

“You owe me a bill. Remember Torricelli, my friend,” Stevens wrote, referring to a campaign finance scandal involving Robert Torricelli, the former senator from New Jersey. “Friendship is one thing. Compliance with the ethics rules, entirely different.”

I don’t know whether Stevens should be convicted or not, but at least we now know that politicians notice when another is caught.