Like my mother says, people in glass houses should never throw stones. The Bergen Record’s Herb Jackson reports today that Solomon Dwek, the cooperating witness in the F.B.I.’s recent corruption bust, gave nearly $200,000 to New Jersey elected officials of both parties. While there is nothing nefarious about accepting a contribution, it is disconcerting when one considers the influence of money in our political system, a reality for lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
“I think that the New Jersey Democratic party is a major embarrassment, not just to people here at home, but should be to Democrats all over this country,” said Christie campaign chairman Joe Kyrillos, a state senator.
Kyrillos is right that there is a culture that enables corruption in New Jersey politics. What he neglected to acknowledge is the bipartisan nature of the problem. Which is interesting, considering he actively supported every one of the Republican elected officials nabbed in the 2005 wave of Operation Bid Rig. He even counted some among his friends. As Jackson’s report makes clear, Kyrillos also accepted $5,200 from Dwek, notwithstanding the $51,000 given over to the Republican State Committee.
No one is saying Kyrillos is crooked. Dwek also donated to the re-election campaign of Congressman Frank Pallone and to the Democratic State Committee. Like Pallone, Kyrillos is giving the contributions over to charity. And while there was nothing wrong with accepting the contributions in the first place, Dwek’s inroads demonstrate that the permanent quest for cash inherent in New Jersey’s political culture is a problem for both Democrats and Republicans.
Corruption has nothing to do with political party. Chris Christie has said as much himself. It’s a fact that his campaign chairman, with his own ties to corrupt politicians and dirty money, would be wise to remember. Because really, Joe, people in glass houses should never throw stones.
politicizing corruption (4.00 / 1)
In the past, I’ve seen more level-headed Republicans such as Senator O’Toole not use a political corruption case as a pretense to lambaste the state Democratic Party. But such behavior would be too much to ask for from Christie puppy-dog Kyrillos, who doesn’t undertand that, as Vincent rightly put it, corruption knows no party boundary.
Interestingly enough, besides the Dwek donation and the Bid Rig scandal connections mentioned above, Kyrillos may have some other Christie-centered, quid-pro-quo issues in his closet. According to the On Our Radar blog
The Christie brothers’ business associates, including Kyrillos, also donated generously to the state Republicans during that critical time Chris was being considered for recommendation. Does one hand wash another? Employees of Todd’s New York company then donated $14,000 to Kyrillos’ campaign in October 2001. In the three years Kyrillos held a committee chairmanship, the Christies and their associates gave the Kyrillos campaign $30,850.
Last week’s horrific corruption case that was brought to light had very little to do with any systemic Democratic corruption and everything to do with transparency and checks and balances on a general level. Kyrillos may spout lame Christie talking points, but he has his own possible ethical quandaries to worry about.
And we haven’t even mentioned huntsu’s research on Kyrillos hyperpolitical college interview with Christie that couldn’t even be aired…