In New Jersey, 44 people, including three majors, two assemblymen, and five rabbis, were arrested yesterday on a variety of corruption and money-laundering charges. You can imagine that former U.S. Attorney and corruption-buster, now gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie will be sleeping well tonight.
A New Jersey political-watcher, Alan Steinberg, is among those who think this finishes off Governor Jon Corzine. He writes:
There is no evidence that Governor Jon Corzine personally is connected in any way to the alleged criminal deeds that form the basis of the arrests of politicians, political operatives, and rabbis announced today by the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office. His Community Affairs Commissioner Joe Doria, who resigned this morning at Corzine’s request, is being investigated, although we do not yet know what the outcome of the investigation will be.
But it sure will be hard for Corzine to run a negative campaign attacking his opponents’ ethics. As Steinberg argues, “Whether you like or dislike him, Chris Christie is a highly ethical and moral man. . . . The Corzine commercials attacking Christie’s ethics have been distortions, plain and simple.” And now they will be laughable.
There may be one other consequence to the scandal: the president might not want to spend all that much time in the state nor expend too much energy. He learned a thing or two in Chicago about putting just enough distance between himself and the ethically and legally challenged to avoid the stench of corruption. It is not a lesson he’s likely forgotten.