Friday, February 16, 2007

U.S. Attorney Battles Corrupt New Jersey Politicians -- Again!

Ronald Smothers, "Fight Over Budget Records Is Played Out in Secrecy," in The New York Times, February 15, 2007, at p. B5.

"TRENTON, Feb. 14 -- ... On Wednesday, the latest skirmish between Mr. Christie [New Jersey's U.S. Attorney] and the Office of Legislative Services, which serves as the Legislature's counsel and administrative arm, over a federal subpoena for records related to budget items was played out in a closed hearing in Federal District Court here."

New Jersey Democrats in the Legislature oppose Christie's efforts. Republicans have gone out of their way to say that they wish to cooperate. Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, has suggested that the Legislature should waive any attorney/client privilege and cooperate fully with federal prosecutors. If officials have nothing to hide, then they should wish to help all criminal investigations of public waste, fraud and theft, even when the target of federal law enforcement is one of the Legislature's "made members."

"A lawyer for Assembly Republicans, who in recent days have sharply criticized Democrats over what they say is a lack of cooperation with a possible corruption investigation, showed up in court on Wednesday."

This is only one of several continuing corruption investigations.

"... Senate President Richard J. Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts [who is said to be "close" to the much-dreaded GEORGE E. NORCROSS, III] issued a joint statement on Tuesday saying that efforts by Mr. Christie's office 'to root out corruption in this state should be applauded.' [Irony?] ... They maintained that the challenge to the subpoena involved a 'narrow issue' -- which no one wants to talk about -- that the office believed to be of constitutional significance."

Yeah, right. I believe nobody wants to talk about it.

In other words, the Democrats are hoping for enough time to get the shredder going. Where's our old buddy Stuart J. Rabner, N.J.'s Attorney General? Well, it turns out that Mr. Rabner was asked by the Governor to draft a memorandum of law in support of his request for cooperation. Good old 'Stu' (allegedly) "demurred," saying that he had a "conflict of interest" -- since when is that a problem in New Jersey? -- "because his office and Mr. Christie had worked closely on corruption investigations [say what?] and therefore was not neutral."

This came as news to the feds, who (allegedly) refer to Stuart Rabner as "the invisible man."

I have no doubt that few New Jersey politicians are neutral on this issue. My guess is that Mr. Christie will get an Order directing compliance with his subpoena. New Jersey's Supreme Court justices are busy posing for statues of each of them that are to be sculpted in chocolate. Unfortunately, something always happens to the "justices" when the political temperature rises.

Boy, I can't wait to see what happens next. Pass me that popcorn.

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