Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Corruption Indictment

For those who don't know, United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie is waging a huge battle against corruption in our State. Yesterday, he got another indictment against a bribing power broker.
The charges against Howard Schoor, 67, of Colts Neck stem from a long-running federal investigation into corruption in Monmouth County that has snared two dozen public officials. The firm Schoor founded in 1968, Schoor DePalma, has been involved in high-profile projects in the public and private sector and has showered New Jersey politicians with millions of dollars in campaign cash over the years. The firm's engineers have been involved with everything from the Asbury Park waterfront redevelopment to Jersey Gardens mall and the Turnpike's Interchange 13A.
In addition to his local activity, a quick search of the FEC's website shows just how much he's given to Federal candidates, in both parties. His donations were largely to Democrats, but he'd occasionally sprinkle in a few thousand to the Republicans. He was effective at getting what he wanted and became a very rich person by spreading cash to politicians and raking it in on the single-bid contracts he received at taxpayer expense. He faces 20 years and I hope he fights the charges, loses and they throw him away.

By contrast, former State Senator John Lynch will likely be sentenced next week to as little as 33 months, as part of a plea deal reached in September. People are pleading for the judge to go easy on him, but based on what he admitted to, I'd like to see him get a minimum of 5 years.
After an FBI investigation that spanned nearly two years, the three-term senator and longtime Democratic Party boss from New Brunswick pleaded guilty in September to fraud and tax evasion. He admitted failing to report more than $120,000 in consulting fees and said he secretly accepted at least $25,000 to write letters of support for Dallenbach Sand Co., which wanted to mine state parkland in South Brunswick.
Unfortunately, as noted yesterday, we the taxpayer still have to pay for his pension and health benefits. So Lynch can continue ripping us off while he's in jail. It's really unfortunate for us that people like Lynch and Schoor get away with what they do for as long as they do. No jail sentence or fine can begin to repay the amount this kind of corruption costs taxpayers.

Eventually, whether it's Christie throwing everybody in jail or Trenton getting a clue or voters revolting, we may be clean enough to lose our stature as the most corrupt state in the nation. It will take a while, but here's to hoping.

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