Citizen's tip led to Bergen investigation

NEWARK - He says it every time, and he said it again this time: until larger numbers of people get involved in civic life and engage the democratic process, public corruption by a few will continue to dominate.

"The only thing that ultimately holds people to account is the ballot box," U.S. Attorney Chris Christie said on the day he announced the indictment of Bergenfield Attorney Dennis Oury and Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero.

"I’ve said that for years," Christie added. "That’s the only way it gets fixed."

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Ferriero in Denver, and after

He cut an unprepossessing figure as he made the rounds of open bar fiestas and happy hours in Denver, hobnobbing with the governor here, buttonholing some bigshot fundraiser there.

He smiled through the whispers and rumors.

But at the Democratic National Convention last month, bad feelings inevitably saturated the atmosphere of powerhouse Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero, the man who likens the make-up of his county organization to the way the ingredients go together in Coca-Cola.

The news that FBI agents stormed his office came just days before the start of the convention, prompting state Democratic leaders to field uncomfortable questions about Ferriero even as they were packing their bags and hightailing it for the upscale Inverness Hotel.

State Party Chairman Joseph Cryan told the media he wouldn’t ask the embattled party boss to stay home, and so there was Ferriero in Denver.

Never a big fan of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the powerful Democratic Party boss backed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the party’s presidential primary.

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BCDO going strong, says spokesman

Bergen County Democratic spokesman Bill Maer issued a statement today expressing confidence that the indictment of two of its leaders -- Chairman Joe Ferriero and counsel Dennis Oury -- will not hurt the organization in the November election. 

“The Bergen County Democrats are going to run a great election in November with great candidates. We don’t think this will affect the results.  We’ve run a great government and we’ll run on our record,” he said. 

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Corzine: public corruption issues "always disappointing"

Asked today about the indictment of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero and local Democratic counsel Dennis Oury at a bill signing shortly before U.S. Attorney Christ Christie announced it, Gov. Corzine said that “it’s always disappointing when there are public corruption issues in the state.”

But Corzine had not yet heard official word of the indictment, and limited his comments.

“First of all, I don’t know about it. I’ve heard rumors of that. I will wait to look at the actual indictment and what other circumstances come up,” he said. 

Corzine has not made a statement since the indictment was made public. 

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Yudin's "I told you so" moment

Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin said that the indictment of his Democratic counterpart, Joe Ferriero, reiterates the need for both parties to be represented in Bergen County government.

“It’s a very sad day, and a very unfortunate day for the people of Bergen County. It shows what one-party rule leads to. The entire Democratic organization in Bergen County is corrupt,” he said. “The three freeholders running for reelection were mentored by Joe Ferriero, they’ve always supported him, and it shows why we need a return to the two-party system.”

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Democrats not concerned they missed deadline to pick Obama electors

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee failed to hold a meeting to formally select its electors for Barack Obama, but is still on track to meet the Division of Elections filing deadline of Sept. 12.

State law requires political parties to hold a meeting to nominate electors within seven days of its national convention. The parties then have an additional week to file electors' names with the Division of Elections.

Democratic Committee Executive Director Rob Angelo said the elector certification process, generally completed at the committee meeting, is now underway.

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Christie stays focused on federal charges

NEWARK - A reporter asked U.S. Attorney Chris Christie if he could confirm an investigation of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero on a sexual assault charge, or comment on whether there is any nexus between that and the conspiring to defraud indictment the U.S. Attorney today read against the embattled Democratic Party leader.

Christie just shook his head at the podium.

He wouldn’t confirm the assault charge, which the Star-Ledger last week reported allegedly occurred at a barbecue at Ferriero’s Old Tappan home.

But the U.S. Attorney did say it has nothing to do with the federal corruption charges.

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The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

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Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

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