Sunday, January 21, 2007

Menendez Continues to Befoul New Jersey! Or: Bob Menendez's Bachelor Party!

Hey, fellow Jerseyites - if you want to get rid of the smell, sometimes you gotta take out the trash. So when you vote to re-elect slimey scum like Robert Menendez to the Senate, don't be surprised when your state is permeated by the stench of polical corruption, and the accompanying dysfunction and disrespect that inevitably comes along with it.

New York Post editorial concludes with the following:

Something doesn't pass the smell test here.
New Jersey and slime.
Perfect together.

I would say we deserve better, but based on this state's choices, we probably don't. So what is Robert Menendez up to now? Why, breaking every campaign promise, and reuniting himself with the disgraced associates and lobbyists he pretended to distance himself from during the fall campaign. We'll let the Post take us through it:

The Senate on Thursday passed a new crackdown that regulates the relationship between legislators and lobbyists. Just four days before that, The Record of Hackensack reported that Menendez, after being sworn in for a full term this month, was the guest of honor at a secret private party - funded by corporate and other donors at $5,000 each - hosted by a fledgling lobbyist named Michael Hutton.

Hutton, who recently opened his own firm, happens to be Menendez's former chief of staff.

Most of those footing the bill were Hutton's clients - including a foundation run by Hackensack University Medical Center, which by law is barred from political activity. Except that everyone involved insists - with a straight face - that "this was not a political event."

Among the guests at the party were two less-than-savory people with whom the senator very publicly cut ties during last year's Senate campaign.
One was Donald Scarinci
- who stepped aside as a top adviser after a tape recording surfaced on which he was heard demanding that a government doctor hire another physician as a favor to Menendez.
Another was Joseph Simunovich, chairman of the state Turnpike Authority - who quit as Menendez's finance director in the wake of an ethics probe into alleged favors provided to a turnpike contractor.
[more on his misdeeds
here - ed.]
Apparently, Menendez, Scarinci and Simunovich no longer feel they have to keep their distance from each other.

....if Michael Hutton's corporate-funded private party for his old boss was entirely on the up and up, why was it kept so carefully hidden from public view - to the point of being kept off of Menendez's schedule?

I'll answer the Post's rhetorical question - Menedez played the whole electorate for suckers this fall, calling all the corruption charges against him "dirty campaigning", then, when safely ensconsed back in office by the very suckers - er, voters - he lied to, he continued his corrupt practices, knowing that he is virtually untouchable in a Senate where one seat change could swing the balance of power.

And kudos to the small-town Record, reporting stories where the big media fears to tread. Mike Kelly reports:

SADLY, this is how politics works. Ten days ago, Robert Menendez was sworn in as a U.S. Senator. It was a joyful day, chock full of pomp, parties, and at least one promise by Menendez “to dedicate myself to standing up for New Jersey and building a better America for each and every one of us.”
But one party, at the swanky 701 Pennsylvania Restaurant in Washington, D.C., was kept secret from each and every one of us, except 175 close friends of Bob Menendez.
The party was hosted by a lobbyist.

And Kelly reminds us of how stupid we are supposed to act:

Whenever a lobbyist throws a party on behalf of any politician, voters have a right to wonder why. Lobbyists, after all, are in the business of currying favors...

Most important, why would any self-respecting elected official go along with this sort of questionable activity? Why invite suspicion?
Surely Menendez knows that the Senate, responding to recent scandals involving lobbyists, is weighing tough new ethics rules that would likely ban such parties.
“Maybe he thought of it as a last fling, his version of a bachelor party before the new rules,” one Senate staffer suggested.

Robert L. Torre, the foundation’s executive director, conceded that non-profit firms are barred from political activity. But this was not a political event, he said.
“It was hosted by a third party,” Torre said.
That third party is Michael Hutton, the lobbyist.

In case you wondered.

So here is what we are expected to believe:
The secret party was nothing special. The corporations who paid for it expect no favors – they simply want to show how much they love and admire Bob Menendez.
As for Menendez, he wants us all to know that he is completely above reproach even though he did not disclose that a lobbyist set up a reception for him.
As his spokesman noted: “The Senator attends events all the time around Washington, sponsored by a wide range of groups, and it has no impact on him at all.”

Fine. Maybe people really believe that.

Or maybe Menendez is laughing all the way to the bank with his ill-gotten gains, counting on New Jersey residents to be stupid enough to believe these parties thrown on his behalf by high-end donors have "no impact on him" whatsoever.

But based on the fact that this lying, cheating, sleazy clown was re-elected by the people of this state, maybe he has good reason to laugh....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's beyond pathetic.