“Curiouser and curiouser” would have been the response of Wonderland’s Alice were she to gaze into the rabbit hole of New Jersey politics and focus her attention on the past conduct of Governor Chris “Der Blimpmeister” Christie, whose tenure as U.S. Attorney prior to his election is not quite as stellar as his acolytes would have us believe.
Let us begin with the Union City Sex Slave Case. Jerome Corsi reported on this story for World Net Daily back in 2009:
Christie, who has based his campaign in part on his success as a federal prosecutor, worked a plea bargain with the operator of a Honduran sex-slave ring. The deal allowed the operator to avoid prison by paying over $500,000 in back taxes in exchange for her testimony to convict the Democratic mayor of a small town in New Jersey of corruption charges.
The crux of the scandal is that Christie used his prosecutorial discretion to look the other way on a major illegal immigrant sex-slave operation. The testimony helped convict Mayor David Della Donna of Guttenberg, N.J., and his wife, who at most had accepted $40,000 in gifts from the brothel madame, Luisa Medrano.
Medrano, in turn, had been indicted in 2005 by Christie’s office for allegedly operating a sex-slave operation out of a Union City bar and apartment in which some two dozen Honduran women, some as young as 14, were forced to live together and work in Medrano’s bars for six days a week, drinking and dancing with male patrons, as well as engaging in prostitution.
The women, forbidden to move out or travel, were severely beaten if they violated Medrano’s house rules that forced them to turn over $500 a week to her from their activities at the bars, according to New Jersey Star-Ledger reports.
According to media accounts in New Jersey, the sex slaves were forced to have abortions. In one case in which a trafficked women gave birth, her newborn died hours later after her captors allegedly tried to stuff the baby down the toilet.
Yikes. Bad as it is, this story wasn’t sufficiently compelling to defeat Chris Christie in the 2009 GOP primary. Perhaps this next revelation will be sufficient to tank the establishment GOP contender for Menendez’ U.S. Senate seat who receives Gov. Christie’s imprimatur and endorsement.
On September 30 the New York Times ran a piece discussing the bad blood that is said to exist between Der Blimpmeister and Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, but focuses on the really bad blood between Christie and Menendez:
The enmity between Mr. Christie and Mr. Menendez dates at least to 2006, when Mr. Menendez was running for Senate and Mr. Christie was the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey. Mr. Christie’s office started an investigation that touched on Mr. Menendez’s dealings with a community group. Mr. Menendez charged that the inquiry was politically motivated — nothing came of it — and people close to the senator say he still resents it.
Appointed by freshly minted Governor Jon Corzine in January 2006 to fill his now vacant Senate seat, Hudson County Democrat and political hack extraordinaire Robert Menendez assumed office an immediately began his campaign: in November he would have to prevail over GOP challenger and establishment RINO Tom Kean, Jr.
At about the same time, the Bush Administration’s “Night of the Long Knives for U.S. Attorneys General” went into effect and on the same day in December of 2006, seven prosecutors were sacked. On no less than two occasions before then, Christie’s name appeared on the victims’ list, but was deleted from the list at about the same time startling news was announced:
On the night of Thursday, September 8 — less than two months before the general election — word leaked to the Star-Ledger and WNBC-TV that Menendez was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office and that records had been subpoenaed from a Hudson County nonprofit organization that received federal funds and that also rented space in a building owned by Menendez.
Not quite an “October Surprise,” but close enough in proximity to election day to do damage to Menendez. And it could have – had Christie only followed through on the initial announcement.
Instead, the story just sat there for the balance of the campaign, with no new developments — no explanation of what exactly Menendez was suspected of doing wrong. The silence lent credence to Menendez’s adamant insistence that he’d done nothing and that Christie, a politically ambitious Republican (it was widely known throughout the ’00s that he planned to run for governor eventually), had essentially teamed up with his own party’s U.S. Senate candidate. It was also noted that Christie, in apparently leaking word of the probe, had broken with the tradition of not dropping such bombshells so close to an election, lest it create suspicions of political motive. As David Chen explained in the New York Times that fall:
And in this instance, Mr. Christie’s focus on official corruption complements Mr. Kean’s strategy of hammering away at the notion that Mr. Menendez, a veteran of Hudson County’s bruising brand of politics, is ethically suspect.
“It seems to dovetail with the message that Tom Kean has put on consistently: that the Democrats are irrevocably corrupt and can’t be trusted,” said Mr. Baker of Rutgers. “It magnifies the lack of specific knowledge on the part of ordinary voters of the connections between two Democratic politicians, in very much the same way that Democrats nationally are building up a culture of corruption argument of lumping Abramoff, Ney and DeLay altogether.”
In the end, the GOP’s “under federal investigation” talking point lost its teeth and Menendez, aided by the mighty anti-Bush tide and Kean’s own deficiencies as a candidate, won by nine points. And that’s pretty much the last we heard about a federal investigation of Menendez.
Looks, sounds and smells like a clumsily orchestrated political hit to me. Could this be the REAL reason Gov. Zeppelin decided to remain in the hangar? Perhaps it was just one of many.
In the meantime, the establishment GOP candidate would do well to (a) ask the Drumthwacket Dirigible to keep a safe distance and say nothing about his candidacy and (b) kiss the feet of the NJ Tea Party movement and (c) hope that, if he decides to run, West Point Weasel Mike Doherty doesn’t make political hay of this nasty bit of business in an assault on the GOP “Good Ol’ Boys Go-Along-to-Get-Along” political machine.”