Defending New Jersey’s Politicians

By Alan Caruba

Welcome to New Jersey
Welcome to New Jersey
Alan Caruba
Alan Caruba

New Jersey -( I’d be surprised to learn that anyone in the Obama and Holder Department of Justice even knows how to spell “justice.”

On the same day it announced an indictment of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (D) for allegedly taking bribes and engaging in various forms of corruption, it also announced that it would not pursue a criminal contempt of Congress resolution against Lois Lerner, the member of the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the effort to deny conservative groups the right to be certified for non-profit tax status.

Without such status, the group’s ability to raise funds and pursue their issues and agenda was significantly impacted. If you were a liberal group, however, you sailed right through. That’s that way the Obama administration has functioned in all aspects of governance since it began in 2009.

In what is now becoming a standard way of avoiding an investigation, last June the IRS announced that it had “lost” two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails in a 2011 computer crash. An IRS inspector general, however, unearthed the backup tapes believed to contain them. Lerner would not speak to lawmakers, but she has reportedly cooperated with the FBI.

In an April 1 article, “Don’t Blame Menendez, Blame New Jersey” Jeff Smith and Brian Murphy would have you believe that New Jersey is a steaming heap of political corruption that has no equal. When was the last time a New Jersey senator was found guilty of bribery? 1981. Thirty-four years ago. An entire generation has been born and grown up in the Garden State since then.

I am born, bred, and live in New Jersey. Illinois has ex-Governors in jail and no New Jersey Governor ever shared that distinction.

Our current one, Chris Christie, came to statewide attention when, as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, he put a number of our politicians in jail for corruption in addition to a slew of convictions for sexual slavery, arms trafficking, and racketeering by gangs, along with other federal crimes.

He was a very good lawyer and had also been politically ambitious, rising through the ranks, campaigning for Bush 41 and 43, the latter who appointed him to the State Attorney post. In a very Democratic state, he would handily defeat Joe Corzine in 2009 to become Governor because Corzine was as incompetent then as Obama is today.

The rap on New Jersey is that politicians and those who donate a chunk of money to support their election are somehow different or special in some way. I doubt there is a political reporter or blogger in any other state that could not regale you with a history of their crooked politicians and appointees that would not equal or exceed ours.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the charges against Sen. Menendez. More to the point, when the charges were announced. In early March he gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Menendez made no secret of his displeasure that the Obama administration was negotiating with Iran.

“When it comes to defending the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he told the group, “I am not intimidated by anyone—not Israel’s political enemies and not by my political friends when I feel they’re wrong.” He said that as long has he had an ounce of fight in him, “Iran will never have a pathway to a (nuclear) weapon.”

And Menendez had also made it clear that he opposed the normalizing of a diplomatic relationship with Cuba.

“The deal achieved nothing for Americans.”

When the DOJ indictment was announced, the state’s largest daily newspaper virtually pronounced him guilty.

“The litany of travel arranged by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s good friend, Salomon Melgen, reads like the operation of a small airline.” It salivated over the 68-page indictment and the favors alleged between him and, “his wealthy benefactor” that included, “more than $1 million to various political campaigns connected to the senator.”

No question about it, Melgen was Menendez’s friend and supporter. That is, however, not against the law.

I doubt there is a member of the U.S. Senate that does not have such wealthy supporters, nor any that have not accepted an invitation to vacation as their guest. Did Menendez reply by using the influence of his office to facilitate visas or the approval of deals by which Melgen would benefit? In one cited case that influence did not have any effect on the outcome, but simply stated this is part of the job. It is the quid pro quo of politics and always has been.

The Department of Justice indictment came at the same time the Obama administration had squandered 18 months in useless, senseless negotiations with Iran to arrive at an agreement that would ultimately permit Iran to produce nuclear bombs. No other nation wants that. Iran had never ceased to tell the world it intended to “wipe Israel off the map”, nor cease to call America the “Great Satan.”

The level of hubris from the President to the Secretary of State to those engaged in the negotiations is beyond measurement. It blinds them to the obvious.

The White House clearly could not permit a prominent Democratic senator to tell the Israelis and the world what a bunch of jackasses they were. They feared losing control of the rest of the Democratic senators and thus Menendez is being subjected to a long, costly indictment as a lesson to the others.

The indictment suggests a pattern of corruption based solely on the relationship between Menendez and Melgem, both longtime friends. If Menendez broke the law the DOJ should have been able to come up with comparable charges involving others for whom he intervened. If I was a gambling man, I would bet that Sen. Menendez beats the charges.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

About Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba’s commentaries are posted daily at “Warning Signs” his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews.

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Bob Shell

NJ is a corrupt cesspool & has been. Most of the local politicians have been or on their way to jail. A conviction for thievery in NJ is a Resume enhancement. Any state that has such draconian gun laws is definitely crooked. How about the tax system? The further you are away from NJ the better off you are


I don’t think Alan is saying there are no corrupt politicians in NJ, I think he’s just saying that Menendez hasn’t done anything that’s not SOP for politicians everywhere in the country. For corruption in NJ, just look at the Democrats who are in the pockets of the unions and who make no attempts to rein in the spending that has lead the state’s decline from a AAA rating to A2. at the rate these clowns are going, we’ll be a junk bond before long. That kind of corruption is what we as taxpayers should be upset over, rather than… Read more »


You are correct. We as NJ taxpayers should upset and more vocal. I have always loved living in NJ proper. It is an center of access to any recreational activity you like via NJ, PA, NY, MD and DC within 1-4 hours drive. It is the way the elected officials have created this current situation. They should be run out of “town”. But every day, that hope for me seems to less of a reality. Yes Menendez is a hack. I write to him just to make sure that he is aware that there some of out there that do… Read more »


It almost sounds like Mr. Caruba is defending the politicians in NJ. It too have lived in New for all of my life and for the past 30 years (most of my adult life), there has always been a sense of entitlement by our politicians. Where they keep taxing us because they thought that the high NJ incomes could support them programs. For the most part this premise was correct and combined with the complacent attitude that most middle to well off NJ’ers, these politicos did what they want. Now we are paying for that. More liberals taking more control… Read more »


‘Selective enforcement’ of the law best describes what’s going on here.


The problem with NJ is that if you even get caught with a cap gun they are voting to send you jail for 5 years or more for having an illegal weapon. Talking about strict gun control laws. Christi can do something about that but he is anti gun as they come, he may claim that he is all for people owning guns but laws speak louder than words.


There is absolutely nothing new here, the great and powerful O has always played with his ball this way. When running for IL. state senate, against Blair Hull, sealed divorce papers magically landed in his lap and Hull was defeated, then something similar happened to his Republican opponent in the general election. O won. The story if you care: So I guess you get the general picture. The guy extorts, is a bully, a thug and will use any tactic to force his agenda, including using the IRS to deny tax status to groups not aligned to his thought..… Read more »