Myers demands answers from Adler on LeBlanc testimony

 

Medford Mayor Chris Myers: Politicker file photoMedford Mayor Chris Myers: Politicker file photoSeizing on a corruption trial newsflash, Medford Mayor Chris Myers tried to put flesh and bones on his repeated campaign trail depiction of 3rd Congressional District opponent state Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) as a Trenton hack.

In the trial of former Sen. Wayne Bryant (D-Camden), Senate Democratic Budget Officer George LeBlanc told jurors yesterday that in 2004 and 2005, legislators reached into a $40 million dedicated Property Tax Assistance and Community Development fund to fish out money for pet projects in their respective districts.

Today, Myers demanded that Adler "immediately and fully disclose whether he illegally controlled any taxpayer dollars from that fund, and if so, where he directed those dollars to be spent."

"This revelation of a huge secret trust fund, together with the obviously close relationship between Bryant and Adler raises serious red flags about Adler’s knowledge of, and participation in, this growing scandal of taxpayer abuse and self enrichment," Myers said.

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Winners & Losers of the Week

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Tornoe's Toons: Vice-Presidential Debate sketchpad

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Monmouth again the battleground

Monmouth again the battleground

GOP Freeholder candidate John Curley: Politicker file photoGOP Freeholder candidate John Curley: Politicker file photoIt’s been labor by slow degrees.

Aided by Bush fatigue nationally and the Operation Bid Rig scandal locally, Democrats chipped steadily away at the Freeholder Board in Monmouth, foregoing potential Assembly gains elsewhere to focus on trying to build a majority in this longtime Republican stronghold.

Relying heavily on state party funds, they elected Barbara McMorrow two years ago and John D’Amico last year to get them to within one seat of swinging control of Monmouth in their favor.

Now with newly registered voters bolstering their numbers beyond the GOP’s - 99,282 Democrats to 86,992 Republicans - Democrats hope Amy Mallet and Glen Mason are poised to become their party’s next freeholders here. Freeholder Barbara McMorrow, left, stands with fellow Democrats, candidates Amy Mallet and Glen Mason.: Politicker file photoFreeholder Barbara McMorrow, left, stands with fellow Democrats, candidates Amy Mallet and Glen Mason.: Politicker file photo

In arguably the most consequential freeholder showdown of the year, those two must get past veteran Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and her running mate, Red Bank Councilman John Curley.

"As far as I can tell, it’s the premiere down ballot race in the state," State Party Chair Joseph Cryan said.

Although Democrats gleefully claim momentum going into this one, it will be no walk over for them.

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Assembly Democratic statement on grants program

Asked to comment on the Property Tax Assistance and Community Development grants program, which a budget staffer today testified gave key legislators sole discretion of millions of dollars in grants during fiscal years 2005 and 2006, Assembly Majority spokesman Derek Roseman gave the following response:

“We’re not aware of the specifics of today’s testimony, but in recent years we’ve implemented new rules and regulations that open up the budget process more than ever before and let the public see every requested budget change and exactly who is proposing it.”

 

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Unconvinced bill fair to taxpayers, Zimmer says he would have voted 'no'

Former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer: Politicker file photoFormer U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer: Politicker file photoSenate passage on Wednesday of a $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill brought Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer to the podium for a Trenton press conference today.

The former congressman denounced the bailout package his opponent, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park), supported last night, and derided the senator as a longtime insider, a recipient of contributions from the financial services industry who can no longer adequately grasp the public interest.

"We are at this point because our elected officials in Washington --U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park): Politicker file photoU.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park): Politicker file photo including Senator Frank Lautenberg -- did not provide effective oversight of the marketplace," said Zimmer, who acknowledged today that he would have voted against the bailout as presented. "These elected officials created a system of private profit and socialized risk and allowed Wall Street to run wild. Now, thanks to politicians in Washington, Main Street is bailing out Wall Street.

"Senator Lautenberg had 24 years to protect us against this crisis," Zimmer added. "During those 24 years he did nothing to avert it. In fact, he helped bring it about. In a job that requires leadership and good sense, he demonstrated neither."

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Lance: This is way worse than Christmas tree items

Reacting to news that certain state legislators were given sole discretion on where millions of dollars in state funds were spent, State Sen. Leonard Lance – who was Senate Minority Leader at the time – said it was outrageous, and made other scandals about “Christmas tree” items inserted into the budget look tame.

Lance said he was not a beneficiary of the program.

“We voted against the budget and we were railing against the Christmas tree items. But I think this goes beyond that. I haven’t examined it fully, but…. that’s an extremely bad procedure,” said Lance. “We haven’t been involved in the Christmas Tree process, but if someone outright says I want something for my district and it’s there in black and white, we can have a debate back and forth. But this is even worse because it’s done behind closed doors.”

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The Back Room

Names on the LD7 GOP bench

In the event that state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) doesn't run for re-election in 2017, the party has a short list of possible candidates it could field to try to head off either Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) or Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7).

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 29th

  Faced with violent crime wave, Baraka, Fulop and Torres forge three-city partnership JERSEY CITY – And then there were three. That’s what it looked like, at least, when a late-arriving and widely beaming Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in cream-colored suit joined political allies Jersey City Mayor Steve...

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Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... 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

"And here was Christie — a tell-it-like-it-is, straight-talking, no-nonsense Jersey guy — telling about 60 members of the media what he really thought. 'Governor Branstad is a role model for me,' Christie gushed, referring to his 67-year-old counterpart from Iowa."

- The New York Times

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