New bill aims to tighten legislative reporting requirements

A number group of legislator from both sides of the aisle today outlined a new bill that would force legislators to disclose exactly how much money they or their relatives have earned through public jobs and no-bid contracts.

The bill, known as the Legislators Financial Transparency and Accountability Act, is being touted as one of the first to come out of Gov. Corzine’s highly publicized reform package. 

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Republicans link Adler, Stender to budget slush fund

With less than a month before voters go to the polls in the hyper-competitive 3rd and 7th congressional districts, Republicans unleashed what is likely to be their theme for the remainder of the campaign: tying Democratic State Sen. John Adler and Assemblywoman Linda Stender to a controversial program that they characterize as a slush fund.

Medford Mayor Chris Myers, who's running against Adler in the 3rd District, stood with Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson and provided documentation that Adler and Stender both helped municipalities in their districts apply for the Property Tax Assistance and Community Developments grants program - known to insiders as the "MAC account" - that were not publicized beforehand, and were allegedly handed out in a non-transparent way.

Myers alleged that Adler - contrary to his denial that he had any influence over the way the funds were used - was belied by letters written by the Haddonfield borough administrator, the Haddon Township police chief and the Cherry Hill mayor, who all wrote that they were made aware of available grant money from the program through Adler's office.

"Welcome to John Adler's Trenton. It's a culture of corruption," said Myers. "I was just appalled - I'm not a creature of Trenton. I'm a small town mayor."

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FDU: Obama at 50%, leads McCain by 13 points

FDU: Obama at 50%, leads McCain by 13 points

The race for New Jersey's fifteen electoral votes is no longer close, with Barack Obama leading John McCain 50%-37%, according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released today.  A September FDU poll showed Obama with a six point lead.

“To be competitive in New Jersey, McCain needed to make a strong play for voters dissatisfied with the results of the Democratic primary.  That simply has not happened.” ” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and a survey analyst for the PublicMind poll. "(Vice presidential candidate Sarah) Palin, rather than providing either reassurance or consistency for the Republican message, has provided the political equivalent of a roller coaster ride. It’s a lot of excitement but not something you want to experience all the time.”

The poll shows that Democrats who backed Hillary Clinton over Obama in the February 5 New Jersey primary are just as likely as other Democrats to be voting for Obama. Voters who said Palin is a good choice for vice-president declined to 34% from 47% in early September. Those saying Palin is not a good choice increased to 54% from 34% in early September.

Obama has a double-digit lead even though voters are  almost twice as likely to say that McCain (53%) rather than Obama (27%) has the background and experience necessary to be president. Obama trumps McCain by a two-to-one margin on the question of which candidate understands the needs of average people.

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Essex County Dems open their main Obama headquarters

 

County Chairman Phil Thigpen: Politicker photoCounty Chairman Phil Thigpen: Politicker photo 

NEWARK - It was appropriate that their office should stand across the street from the War Memorial. Sized up as a group, they were the veterans of a lot of Essex County wars.

The office setting, too, underscored tough times, like a set-piece out of "Glengarry Glen Ross.".

A former Countrywide home loan office that went belly up in a bad economy, this storefront a few doors down from the Robert Treat Hotel now houses the county’s Obama campaign headquarters, which officially opened Monday.

"You could say we’re one good thing to come out of them going out of business," said West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice, county campaign coordinator, standing in the split level, nearly wallpapered over now with Obama campaign signs.

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Poll: Dead heat in 3rd district House race

The race for Jim Saxton's seat in Congress is a statistical dead heat, with Republican Chris Myers leading Democrat John Adler 41%-40%, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll released today.  Among likely voters, Myers is ahead 44%-41%.

“Despite being out-fundraised and outspent, Myers is holding his own in the district,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “This part of the state is traditionally Republican, but has been trending Democratic in recent years. Turning out the base will be the key to winning this seat.”

Barack Obama leads John McCain 46%-43% among likely 3rd district voters in a district where George W. Bush beat John Kerry by two percentage points in 2004. 

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Adler says money from grants program went towards district improvements, not "pet projects"

Just before Medford Mayor Chris Myers announced that he planned to hold a press conference detailing State Sen. Adler’s receipt of money from a legislative slush fund, Adler acknowledged that he took some money from the Property Tax Assistance and Community Developments Grants program, but denied that the funds were used for pet projects or that he exerted any undue influence to get them.

“John Adler not only had no influence over the Property Tax Assistance and Community Development Fund, he did not know that two legislators had discretion over it. As he has since his election in 1991, Sen. Adler has fought for improvements in his district. These were not "pet projects" – again, the words of Chris Myers - but programs of importance to John Adler's constituents,” said Adler spokesman Mark Warren.

It is unclear for which specific projects those funds were used, and how much money Adler received.

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Myers continues to needle Adler on slush fund

On Friday, Republican Medford Mayor Chris Myers asked his Democratic 3rd District Congressional opponent, State Sen. John Adler, whether he ever received funds from a controversial legislative slush fund.

Frustrated at what he saw as a non-answer, Myers reiterated the question today.

“I called on John Adler to come clean on his potential involvement in this scam last week, and the silence was deafening,” said Myers in a press release today. “Adler owes the taxpayers of New Jersey – and in particular the 3rd Congressional District – an answer as to whether or not he was involved in this massive abuse of taxpayer dollars. A list of individual legislators – Democrat and Republican – who were involved in this scam, and the pet projects they funded should be released for public review immediately. The way politicians in Trenton abuse their power and our tax dollars is despicable and the ones involved should all be held to account immediately.”

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The Back Room

Christie takes state helicopter to campaign in Connecticut

Gov. Chris Christie took the "upper level" -- helicoptering over the George Washington Bridge -- to beat rush hour traffic from his home state to a recent GOP fundraiser with Connecticut gubernatorial contender Tom Foley, according to a Hearst Media report.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 24th

  Of friends, enemies, transactions and transportation: the evolving political relationship of Bob Menendez and Steve Fulop The image yesterday in Washington D.C. of powerful U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) walking the hallways with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop sent a signal of Menendez’s willingness to get behind...

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Op-Ed

NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

- Star-Ledger

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