N.J. U.S. Attorney Rebuffs Rampant State Corruption Claims
By Andrew Ramonas
The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey rejected talk that his state is plagued by corruption, the Star-Ledger reported Monday.
Paul Fishman (Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman)
Paul Fishman, who has led the Newark-based U.S. Attorney’s office since October, told the newspaper that the “vast, vast, vast majority” of state officials are honest public servants. He said claims that New Jersey is the “most corrupt” U.S. state are “demoralizing” to the state’s residents.
“I don?t know how you can make that kind of comparison,?? Fishman told the Star-Ledger. “I don?t happen to believe that to be true.”
Fishman succeeded New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who stepped down in December 2008 as U.S. Attorney to enter the state’s gubernatorial contest. Before his resignation, Christie oversaw a corruption investigation that led to the July 2009 arrests of 44 people, including state leaders and politicians.
At a news conference announcing the arrests, the FBI agent in charge of the office?s public corruption unit, Ed Kahrer, and then-acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra bemoaned corruption in New Jersey. Marra said there was a “culture of corruption” in the state.
New Jersey Democrats charged that Marra, who was later appointed to a state post by Christie, politicized the sting to help the gubernatorial campaign of his former boss. The Justice Department concluded last month that Marra’s comments at the news conference did not violate DOJ policies.
Fishman said all U.S. Attorneys should steer clear of any perception that their work is influenced by politics.
“Politics should play no role in what we do,” Fishman told his staff, according to the Star-Ledger. “It?s our job to conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity and to let people know that?s what we?re doing.??
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