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31 July 2009

Think Corzine's Happy Cammarano Resigned?

Corruption ProbeI'd say so — especially based on his remarks last week about the corruption probe. In case you missed them, here are Corzine's "tough words."

"Good afternoon everyone.  Today I'm joined with our chief law enforcement officer of New Jersey, Attorney General Anne Milgram

"Like all New Jerseyans I was sickened to learn this morning of the agents of the FBI arresting 30 plus some public office holders and private citizens, even spiritual leaders.

"Any corruption is unacceptable, anywhere, anytime by anybody. Whenever an elected or appointed official violates the public trust, he has crossed the bright line of right and wrong.

"NJ citizens have long been outraged by the repeated and deep vein of political corruption in our state, and justifiably so.

"But the corruption that has been unmasked today has been simply beyond any pale. It's outrageous and there is no other word that fits, but outrageous.

"I join with all the people of NJ in conveying my simple disgust. People have a right to know that their elected and appointed officials are honest. They have an absolute right to know that their tax dollars are being put to work for the common good, not for private gain.

"The targets of this investigation will have their day in court but I want the public to know we've set a higher standard for service in my administration and it is not tolerable the kind of things we are seeing unfold today and I will not tolerate even a hint of corruption. I never have and I never will.

"As long as I'm governor anyone who can no longer command the public's trust must step aside. This morning I asked for the resignation of commissioner Joe Doria and he has agreed to resign. It is notable that he has not been arrested or charged with any crime and I also will point out both as Governor and before as a US Senator I have always found Commissioner Doria to be a man of talent and dedication. That said Commissioner Doria would have a very difficult time commanding the public trust and carrying out his duties as a Commissioner of DCA.

"I've also spoken with speaker Joe Roberts. He and I concur that any member of the State Assembly that has been arrested in this probe or any future probe should immediately resign from office. If not, the Speaker will strip these individuals of their leadership positions and committee assignments.

"I also call upon any municipal or county official who's been arrested today to do the right thing by their constituents and resign from office.

"Finally I want to assure the public that I will take all steps necessary to ensure that any office holder or state employee who is convicted of a crime be stripped of his or her pension benefits.

"Now it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the specific details of any of these cases. In fact I don't have many more details than you all have. We need to respect the legal process and let the prosecutors, legal counsel and judges do their jobs, but make no mistake, my administration will not tolerate nor has it tolerated the kind of political corruption unveiled today and we have done more than any administration to combat it.

"In my time in office my Attorney Generals have prosecuted 252 cases of corruption against 326 defendants resulting in 199 convictions. Cases that have many of the characteristics involved in today's sweep. Let me close go by saying that I got into public life because I truly believe and I still believe that Government can play a positive role in people's lives, but our institutions, if they are to function in the way they are intended, to truly help people, and their families and improve the lives of the citizens of NJ, must have people of integrity to lead them. Simply put, there is no place in Government for anyone who violates the public trust."


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