In spite of the publicized troubles of Republican lawmakers Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) and Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, don’t think for a moment that there’s not Congressional Democrats with their own ethics issues. Yesterday it was Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-LA) getting swept up in a corruption probe, and today it’s Sen. John Corzine’s (D-NJ) magnanimous payoff of a loan he made to a union boss he was doing the “bumping uglies” with.
TRENTON, Aug. 3 (New York Times) – Senator Jon S. Corzine provided a $470,000 mortgage to the president of a union that represents thousands of New Jersey state employees in late 2002, then forgave the debt two years later.
The union president, Carla Katz, was Mr. Corzine’s girlfriend at the time. The senator said on Wednesday that an investment company he owns gave her the mortgage, then canceled it in December 2004, several months after they had stopped dating.
The loan was not illegal, and Mr. Corzine said he took care of the required gift tax on the money he ended up giving to Ms. Katz.
But if Mr. Corzine succeeds in his race for New Jersey governor this fall against the Republican candidate, Douglas R. Forrester, he could find himself negotiating opposite Ms. Katz, whose union, Local 1034 of the Communications Workers of America, represents 9,000 state workers and is one of a handful of labor groups that will seek billions of dollars from the state for wage increases and a bailout of the state’s troubled health care and pension funds.
…Land records at the Hunterdon County clerk’s office show that on Dec. 18, 2002, Ms. Katz was granted a $470,000 mortgage from JSC Investments L.L.C., a company owned solely by Mr. Corzine. A deed filed in the clerk’s office indicates that Ms. Katz used $361,000 of the loan to buy her husband’s share of their home in Bloomsbury, N.J. Ms. Katz and her husband, Larry McKim, later divorced.If you throw in the gift taxes Corzine paid on the deal he’s probably out over $600,000 on this deal, while Katz has what is probably a million dollar house (free and clear) and over $100,000 in pocket change from the deal. Nice work if you can get it – except for the part about bumping Corzine’s uglies. This looks like a better match for Corine – god know she’s due a little payback…
The reason both Democrats and Republicans are all talk, no action on ethics complaints is that most of them have closets full of skeletons sitting happily undisturbed. As I pointed out in May, the minority party in Congress actually leads the way on accepting those infamous, lobbyist paid, Congressional junkets – so they’re not exactly in a prime position to push Republicans on the issue in an official capacity. They’re doing much better attacking on Republican’s one at a time on the talk show circuit…