That is the title of the NJ article that tries to summarize the investigation that resulted in the recent report from special prosecutor E. Norman Veasey. If you are interested, you can also read the entire 101 pages of the report here (pdf). I haven’t finished reading the whole of the document, but here are a few thoughts:
1. This is mostly focused on the big events uncovered over the past several years — the Tigani business, the Zimmerman business and the Kemal Erkan business. They did, however, seem to have reviewed the Campaign Finance reports of other sitting politicians and it interests me that there wasn’t *more* here.
2. LLCs are really a toxic thing for campaign contributions and a toxic thing for campaigns. Yes, there is the contribution loophole, and yes the Markell campaign made use of it, and it seems that the Markell people had some information that should have caused them to reject these contributions. I get that these were just a few of the many contributions, but these were from the group of people that pretty much everyone in the state thinks have bought all of the politicians. Working the loophole may not have been illegal, but it sure looks corrupt no matter how you cut it. In previous reporting on Zimmerman, the NJ noted that he was frustrated enough to yell at a judge that he didn’t get anything for his contributions. Which is as it should be, but the fact that Zimmerman could try to use this as an explanation tells you what game he thought was afoot. This has got to come to an end.
3. Lots of explanations as to why there are no referrals for prosecution here and that is disturbing. I am not a prosecutor, so I’m sure Veasey’s reasoning is correct, but this doesn’t make the process look like it is going to get more transparent, cleaner or even more accountable. It just looks like business as usual will continue.
4. I wanted to know where the PIC and the Department of Elections was in all of this — and it seems as though the PIC is understaffed, underfunded and just not able to do the job it should. Still, I know that people here on this blog have picked apart campaign finance reports of some individuals, so I still wonder why NOTHING seems to be reviewed or enforced.
5. The Model Law recommendations are very interesting, and frankly, if I were Jack Markell and the Dems I would pick this up and make serious Campaign Finance reform a priority for next session. Understand that the reform committee is meeting and not yet done, but I think that the only clean way of addressing the corruption cloud is make campaign finance reform a priority and make everyone unfailingly accountable.
I’m sure there’s more and I’m still vacationing so may not get to read all of this for a few days. Let us know what you think about this report, and I’m especially interested in what those of you reading the complete report get from it.