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Garden State snakes

By Ted Lang
web posted June 24, 2002

Know how we find out about political corruption in New Jersey? It is not by the competitive process of checks and balances as envisioned by our Founders. It is not by watchdog journalism, for the Garden State enjoys a left-wing TV and newspaper monopoly that protects both leftist Democrats and Republicans.

So how is corruption and unethical dirty dealing uncovered? By political campaigns, that's how! One politician slings mud at another, and sometimes the mud sticks. Let's look at some examples.

Sen. Robert Torricelli

Recently, Sen. Robert Torricelli was "exonerated" by the leftist Gannett [USA Today] propaganda giant's local county implant, the Morris County Daily Record. That was their take when Clinton-appointed prosecutor Mary Jo White inexplicably dropped the charges against the good gun-controlling senator from New Jersey. The "investigation" by the FBI ran for almost five years [sound familiar?] and then was suddenly dropped. Yet five individuals, who gave Torricelli money, including the heaviest contributor, David Chang, received prison terms for the very same activity for which Torricelli was "exonerated."

Then we have the Garden State's number one Don, as in Donald DiFrancesco, the former State Senate President and former Acting Governor, the latter position made available by Governor Christie Todd Whitman's appointment as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which she is now infesting with her Garden State variety conflict of interest corruption. Insight magazine has done a full piece on her EPA act.

Alleged conservative James Treffinger, the Essex County executive, who was hand-picked by the same New Jersey Republican Party machine that trashed conservative Bret Schundler, was forced to drop out of the Republican Primary when it was learned that his office was raided by the FBI seeking evidence of alleged criminal activity. No need to concern ourselves with whether or not this investigation is going anywhere; he dropped out of the senatorial race, no? Dropping out is the same as a Clinton appointee dropping charges!

That's exactly what DiFrancesco did when allegations of wrongdoing were pointed at him. DiFrancesco simply dropped out of the gubernatorial race, and helped the New Jersey Republicans and President George Bush to torpedo real Republican Bret Schundler. Now Jim McGreevey, a Democrat, sits and rules in the Governor's Mansion.

However, Schundler is "stayin' alive," and in a political flap involving the location of a state sport arena in corrupt Newark, e-mail news purportedly originating from the Schundler camp, accuses DiFrancesco of the unsubstantiated allegation of receiving "up to $500,000 a year lawyering even though he had no time to practice law." The allegation continues: "(What do you suppose his clients were paying him for?)"

DiFrancesco joined a lobbying firm, and according to the unconfirmed report, "was appointed to the Board [of] Commerce Bank, [which was] just selected by [Governor] Jim McGreevey to underwrite state bond deals by its Chairman George Norcross (the Democratic Boss of Camden County)." The report goes on to state that DiFrancesco is lobbying Republican State Senators to approve the arena's location in Newark.

And that brings us to "The Exile," an article by David Holmberg in the May, 2002 issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine. Exposed therein is the "disappearance" of one Robert Janiszewski, a former Hudson County Executive. A telling photograph front-ends the piece, showing Janiszewski shaking hands with President Bill Clinton after being introduced by Democrat Congressman Robert Menendez.

Holmberg offers: "Janiszewski, once thought of as gubernatorial material, abruptly ended his long political life last September and disappeared - a word some of his old supporters use to describe his departure from his $115,000 a year job in a New Jersey Democratic stronghold. Why is that word invoked when people discuss the once powerful man who was reported by major newspapers to have been captured on tape taking a payoff in an FBI sting operation?"

Holmberg's article makes the point that Janiszewski didn't really disappear - the FBI and other law enforcement agencies always knew of his hideaway in the Carskills. He could have been brought in at any time. But the authorities were looking to connect him to much more crime and corruption. Holmberg states later: "At one point, investigators tried to use Janiszewski to build a case against the beleaguered Senator Robert Torricelli, himself the subject of a federal probe."

So New Jersey's track record remains perfect. Lots of snakes in the Garden, perhaps an expulsion or two, but not much in the way of productive results. In spite New Jersey's reputation for sweet corn, tomatoes and gardens, the weed of crime continues to generate its bitter fruit.

(c) Theodore E. Lang. All rights reserved.

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