"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Menendez Switcheroo Unlikely

Yesterday, we read this on NRO’s TKS blog by Jim Geraghty:

Word from my sources in Jersey is that the consensus pick is former governor Richard Codey, who entered office when McGreevey resigned and departed when Corzine was sworn in.

And at least one Jerseyite is adamant that the switch is coming, as late as October 15!
Frankly, we don’t give much credence to the suggestion that Democrats might pull another switcheroo in a U.S. Senate race and replace Bob Menendez. First, because we believe Menendez will not quit the race under any circumstances and second, because Democrats knew who they were getting when Governor Corzine appointed Menendez to the Senate.

Most importantly, Democrats have discovered that New Jersey voters will elect whoever they put on the ballot regardless of how sleazy and corrupt the nominee. The party bosses have good reason to believe this is the case given the track record of the state.

There has been no political price paid after each scandal, criminal investigation, indictment, conviction and prison sentence. You know the names - Jim McGreevey, John Lynch, Wayne Bryant, Sharpe James, Bob Torricelli – just to highlight those in the newspapers in the last week. And you know what happened - another Democrat was appointed or elected to take his place. The cycle of scandal and corruption remains unbroken, no political fallout, none.

New Jersey's Democrat Party leaders have created a culture of corruption in our state and they have been well rewarded for their achievement. Now, we have Bob Menendez under criminal investigation, telling one lie after another as each element in one of his stories collapses. But “Democrats gathered around Menendez like a pride of lions”.

Today’s latest revelations about Menendez’ corruption, caught on tape no less, will probably have little impact on a population where only 36 percent of voters can correctly identify him as a U.S. Senator. Just about six weeks before the election and 64 percent of New Jersey’s electorate doesn’t even know the barest minimum about Menendez. It’s doubtful these folks are aware of the string of corruption scandals that have been swirling around Menendez, let alone his political record and policy positions.

Soon Menendez will blanket electronic media with his sound bites and campaign ads. He’s got a 3-to-1 funding advantage over Tom Kean and he will use it to paint himself as a hero and to trash his opponent. It could very well be effective in a state virtually devoid of television news coverage. Philadelphia and New York stations will give minimal airtime to New Jersey‘s elections and any time given will undoubtedly be sympathetic to Democrats. Menendez will be a name in a horse race, he’ll face no scrutiny.

So, we highly doubt New Jersey will see another switcheroo in this election. Why should Democrats bother spending the money to print new signs, create new ads and go to the New Jersey Supreme court to switch another candidate after the legal date? Should Menendez win the election and then be indicted, Governor Jon Corzine will just appoint another Democrat to take his place and the cycle will continue without the slightest hitch.

Note to Blue Jersey: We are again posting information related to a tape embarrassing to Democrats. Just as in the last election, we are of the understanding the tape or tapes exist and will more than likely come out before Election Day. This post, as last year’s, contains direct quotes from reliable sources familiar with the content of the tape(s). Just as last year, do not look for the tapes to be hosted and available here. P.S. We noticed you have been covering up the Bob Menendez’ corruption scandals like a rug.

For those interested in Menendez’ latest corruption scandal here’s the lowdown:
For nearly two years, Oscar Sandoval worked as an FBI informant in a criminal probe resulting in convictions of a half-dozen North Jersey politicians and government vendors, shaking the state's political establishment.

In court papers filed in March, the North Jersey psychiatrist says he was pressured in 1999 to hire a doctor favored by Menendez or risk losing $1 million in government contracts.

Sandoval surreptitiously tape-recorded what he took as the threatening conversation, and provided a copy of the previously unreleased recording to The Inquirer.

In the 20-minute taped telephone call, Donald Scarinci - a powerful North Jersey lawyer, political fund-raiser, and confidant of Menendez's - tells Sandoval that Menendez would consider it "a favor" if Sandoval hired the doctor. He also said hiring Vicente Ruiz would afford him "protection."

At one point in the conversation, Scarinci says, "The only reason I stuck my nose in this Ruiz thing is because Menendez asked me."

Shortly afterward, he adds, "My point of view, it makes sense for you because it gives you protection."

County contracts were at the heart of the criminal probe of former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, who pleaded guilty to participating in a kickback-for-contracts scheme in 2002.

Scarinci is one of New Jersey's most prominent lawyers. His Lyndhurst law firm, Scarinci & Hollenbeck, represents government agencies in New Jersey, including the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, along with private clients.

Scarinci has been a prominent fund-raiser and contributor to Menendez's campaigns and has served as a treasurer of Menendez's House campaigns.

Menendez maintains his campaign-finance headquarters in the building that houses Scarinci & Hollenbeck.
We can begin to see how this relates to U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s criminal probe into Bob Menendez's dealings:
Ruiz did not return phone calls last night. Ruiz in 1998 earned $125,192 as a physician with the North Hudson Community Action Corp.

Earlier this month, federal investigators issued a subpoena seeking records from North Hudson related to its lease of a Union City building Menendez owned while he was in Congress. Menendez had helped NHCAC get federal funding.
And there’s more to come:
"There is a tape in which Donald Scarinci refers to Menendez," said Sandoval's lawyer, Tomas Espinosa. He added, "There is more than one tape."

Sandoval would not detail the contents of the tapes other than to say they would be damaging to Menendez, a longtime congressman appointed to the Senate in January and now campaigning for a full term.

Several Democratic insiders confirmed Sandoval's characterization of the recordings. One person close to the Menendez campaign and familiar with some of the content called it "really embarrassing" to Menendez.

The Sandoval papers further allege that Menendez personally appeared at the end of a meeting of the two doctors with Scarinci in the lawyer's office "and stated that he was glad we could work out our difference and could work together."


At 6:54 AM, Anonymous njcons said...

Will it matter. No!

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Dino P. Crocetti said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger The Pot said...

I have faith that a switch on October 15 would be met by resistance in the electorate and an injunction (or similar relief) in the courts. Although the Toricelli switch came late and after the state-mandated deadline, it was well before (in relative terms) October 15. To allow a candidate switch that late would be unconscionable.

Additionally, although my faith in the NJ electorate has faded over the years -- with electing McGreevey, Lautenberg in the switch, Corzine both times, any any Democrat in light of the extensive corruption in that party in NJ, etc. -- I think that a switch in candidates this time would be met with some serious fallout. I think independent voters would see it for what it is -- a desparate attempt to win an election through an unfair method -- and would not reward the new candidate with their votes. I'd like to think the Democrats in New Jersey would be taken to task for their actions like the Democrats in Minnesota were after they turned Paul Wellstone's funeral into a circus and stuck Fritz Mondale in there as a 4th quarter replacement.

Maybe I am still a little naive.


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