As the City of Trenton’s Joseph Santiago era has clearly demonstrated, it’s best to leave politics out of the business of law enforcement.
Federal authorities recognized that back in 1939 with the passage of “An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities”, better known as The Hatch Act. The law was created in order to prevent political interference from tainted or warping the activities of federal employees through a ban on their involvement in political activities.
The Hatch Act apply to some activities in N.J., where U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, a Republican, appears to be taking steps that could compromise his ability to perform his duties as the number one federal law enforcement official in the Garden State.
It has been reported that Mr. Christie – widely believed to be the number one Republican candidate for the 2009 gubernatorial election – has met with state legislators to discuss their possible candidacy as lieutenant governor on Mr. Christie’s ticket.
Those legislators apparently have some big-mouth associates in their legislative offices who let New Jersey media outlets know about the discussions.
The leakers who have made the discussions public knowledg might enhance the image of the legislators being courted by Mr. Christie, but the fact that it appears those sort of discussions are going on does not bode very well for Mr. Christie or the functioning of his office.
First, it stands to reason that those who have met Mr. Christie have little to worry about in the realm of sudden federal investigations being opened up on their activities.
Conversely, the reliable, appropriate opening of investigations into the activities of high-ranking state Democrats also appears stunted. A Republican candidate for governor like Mr. Christie could be concerned about being painted as someone who pursues investigations with his office for political reasons, although that does not appear to bother Mr. Christie (See U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez).
For all the good work Mr. Christie has done with his office, it appears that the more he and his associates engage in political activities, the less likely it is that the feds will open up meaningful political corruption cases on politicians from either side of the aisle.
The people of New Jersey should not have to worry about mere political considerations as something that influences the decisions of law enforcement officials in investigations and prosecutions, especially those regarding official corruption. Yet that is exactly what Mr. Christie’s activities are now causing within the collective mind of both New Jersey officialdom and the general public.
Perhaps Mr. Christie should consider resigning from his office.
That would allow him to pursue his gubernatorial political aspirations with all his efforts, instead of splitting time as a non-partisan federal employee and a partisan Republican candidate for governor trying to take back Drumthwacket.