A rabbi, a mayor, and a kidney trafficker—it “sounds like the beginning of a bad joke,” said The Economist. But three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen, five rabbis in the Syrian Jewish community, and 34 others “are not laughing.” The FBI and IRS arrested those 44 New Jersey and New York residents for being part of a huge public corruption, money laundering, and organ trafficking ring. New Jersey is no stranger to corruption, but this is “shocking.”
With more than 130 public officials busted for corruption over the past several years, said the Atlantic City Press in an editorial, you have to wonder: “How stupid, greedy, and arrogant can New Jersey politicians be?” Wouldn’t you be wary of a developer offering you thousands of dollars in bribes?
And why does it take federal agents to clean up the state? said John Bury in NJ.com. Clearly, New Jersey isn’t able or willing to. In fact, the “official line” that Louisiana is the most corrupt state is “an outrageous claim” to us in New Jersey. The FBI has to frog-march the mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield, and Secaucus? “Take that, Louisiana!”
Yes, “Tony Soprano country” is winning back its “well-earned reputation” as the most corrupt state, said ex-Fort Lee, N.J., mayor Burt Ross in The Daily Beast. In fact, the only thing shocking in the latest round of arrests is how cheaply politicians are going for these days. Brand-new Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano was busted for taking $5,000 in cash—I was offered $500,000 in 1974. Maybe it’s these “financially troubled times.”