"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 – The Year of Corruption

When asked about the many scandals involving New Jersey Democrats, State Sen. Joseph Vitale, a Democrat from Woodbridge, said “voters support Democrats because government works well in their hands.” More here.

Well, you could’ve fooled us – the state is in financial crisis and racked with scandal. Here’s a list of scandals from 2004 and they all involve Democrats.

March 2: The FBI raids the offices of the Democratic State Committee and Middlesex County Freeholder Director David Crabiel, seizing records related to longtime McGreevey fund-raiser David D'Amiano.

March 17: State Athletic Control Board Chairman Gerard Gormley (D) resigns and agrees to pay $14,000 in fines for improperly doling out 227 free boxing passes.

June 22: Politically active builder Joseph Barry admits bribing former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski (D) and others to win government financing for a project on the Hoboken waterfront

June 29: Hudson County Freeholder William Braker( D) admits taking $3,880 in cash and political contributions from Oscar Sandoval, a psychiatrist who wanted county contracts

June 30: Developer and premier McGreevey (D) contributor Charles Kushner agrees to pay $508,900 to settle federal election law violations.

July 6: Carteret businessman and McGreevey (D) fund-raiser David D'Amiano is charged with extorting $40,000 in cash and political donations from a farm owner in return for his promise that McGreevey would help persuade county officials to double their bid for his farmland.

July 8: A federal judge sentences former Asbury Park Mayor Kenneth "Butch" Saunders (D) to 33 months in prison for conspiring to bribe a council member for her vote on the city's billion-dollar redevelopment.

July 14: State Commerce chief William Watley (D) resigns as state investigators seize records as part of a corruption probe into the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission

July 27: Two Wall Street firms downgrade New Jersey's credit rating, rebuking McGreevey's (D) plan to borrow up to $2.7 billion for this year's budget.

Aug. 12: McGreevey (D), with his wife Dina at his side, comes out of the closet and resigns, declaring: "I am a gay American." The revelation comes as Golan Cipel, McGreevey's former lover and former homeland security adviser, threatens to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the governor.

Aug. 18: Leading McGreeve( D) contributor and real estate developer Charles Kushner pleads guilty to cheating on his taxes, hiding illegal campaign donations and retaliating against his estranged sister, who cooperated in the tax probe, by hiring a prostitute to seduce her husband and sending her a tape of the encounter.

Sept. 15: McGreevey (D) fund- raiser David D'Amiano admits extorting $40,000 in cash and political donations from a Middlesex County farmer and prompting the governor to say "Machiavelli" as part of a political payoff scheme.

Sept.15: Federal judge rules there will be no special election for governor this fall, dismissing claims by two Princeton lawyers that McGreevey's (D) delayed resignation deprived voters of their right to pick his replacement

Sept. 15: The federal government says it will investigate spending at the Newark Housing Authority, where director Harold Lucas (D) bought a plasma television and luxury cars shortly before laying off 99 employees "for reasons of economy and efficiency."

Sept. 22: McGreevey (D) bans some state and county-level political contributors from some large state contracts, saying his resignation had freed him to "confront challenges I have avoided in the past."

Sept. 29: Former Hoboken mayor Anthony Russo (D) admits extorting kickbacks from an accounting firm working for the city, pleading guilty to three counts of mail fraud in federal court.

Nov. 8: McGreevey(D), with no Dina Matos McGreevey at his side this time, bids farewell, saying he's "sorry, so, so sorry," and that his resignation has left him a "changed man."

Dec. 5: The Star-Ledger reveals that McGreevey (D) let favored friends, including television reporter Marvin Scott, use the governor's mansion to host private functions.

Dec. 8: Axelrod (D) pleads guilty to a federal tax fraud count, avoiding prosecution for other dubious deeds connected to the sale of stringed instruments to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Dec. 22: Former Hudson County Freeholder William Braker (D) is sentenced to 41 months in prison for taking kickbacks from a county vendor.

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