The New York Post- EDITORIAL - July 24, 2009
New Jersey regained the title of America's most corrupt state yesterday, thanks to a massive takedown of public officials on the take. New York prosecutors must be falling down on the job. If they redouble their efforts, the Empire State would surely be back on top in a blink -- given the extent of the corruption driving Albany's political culture. For now, though, give Jersey credit: The arrests yesterday were massive -- the outgrowth of a 10-year federal probe that's already chalked up 48 convictions. Those swept up included mayors, state legislators, county and local officials -- all netted as part of an international money-laundering and payoff scheme involving tens of millions of dollars and even trafficking in human organs. Among the political losers was Gov. Jon Corzine's commissioner of community affairs, Joseph Doria, who was not charged yesterday but whose office was raided by the IRS and FBI; he resigned hours later. And that's likely not the last fallout Corzine will be feeling.
Much of the investigative work in this investigation was conducted on the watch of his GOP opponent, former US Attorney Chris Christie -- who surely won't hesitate to remind voters that he successfully prosecuted 130 corrupt officials without losing a single case. As outlined in the criminal complaints, the gall of those arrested is breathtaking. Hoboken's new mayor, Peter Cammarano, reportedly was caught on tape boasting, "I could be indicted, and I'd still win 85 to 95 percent" of the vote in his key constituencies. Indeed, Acting US Attorney Ralph Marra said the arrests "underscore the pervasive nature of public corruption" in the Garden State. It is "not only pervasive," he added, "it has become ingrained in New Jersey's culture." Most important, he noted, "with so many profiting off of a corrupt system, is it any wonder that so few are interested in changing it?" It's a question that should be asked on this side of the Hudson, as well.