Another day, another powerful New Jersey politician goes down in flames, netted in a federal corruption probe that, when added to all the others, is probably resulting in the decline of the shock value of the words “eight-count indictment”.
That powerful politician was Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, who was indicted on Wednesday along with business and political associate Dennis Oury in a federal corruption probe that most people could have seen coming from at least a mile away.
People in New Jersey should be growing sick of the repeated misbehavior of the political elite.
Their constant corruption and legal, yet questionable activities like pay-to-play, wheeling, and having constant, public conflicts of interest are costing New Jersey residents billions of dollars, yet few seem to be doing anything meaningful about it.
This statement does not refer to public watchdog groups like Citizen Action and Common Cause, which have experienced significant, if limited success in fighting for the public interest.
These statements refer to many of those holding political power, from the politicians currently in public office to those in any position of political power and influence, throughout the maligned, but great Garden State.
Implicated in all of this are the major political parties, both of which are guilty for the current situation.
The Democratic Party has promised real ethics reform for years but has yet to pass comprehensive bans on pay-to-play and wheeling. If enacted they would put a serious damper on the ability of politicians to sap municipal, county, an state coffers in an effort to hold onto power and influence, through deciding who gets government contracts and jobs in return for political contributions and support.
But the Republican Party hasn’t to use this inaction to its advantage. The GOP has failed to effectively hammer the ethical flaws of its opponents home to secure additional political power and pass laws to change the system that has empowered those across the aisle.
If they did this with any type of success they would separate themselves from their opponents and probably even scare some Democratic politicians straight with the threat of losing office, power, or both.
The inaction of the parties down the way on West State Street makes it clear that any change in the status quo is going to have to come from the public.
New Jerseyans need to start making it clear that cleaning up the cesspool of corruption that has come to embody state politics is a priority, and that the current situation has long outlived its entertainment value.
Wanted are leaders who will make it their platform to stamp these activities out by making all of them illegal, through comprehensive ethics reform legislation.
Finding out that you’re being robbed almost daily by those who are supposed to be looking after your money and your interests is no way to go through life.