My part of Bergen County falls into New Jersey's fifth Congressional district. This district sits like a hat on top of New Jersey, encompassing the bedroom communities of Outer Whitelandia, and the more rural parts of Sussex and Warren Counties, or as those parts are known in some circles, "out where they marry their sisters."
The Fifth District was represented in the House for 25 years by Marge Roukema, an Olympia Snowe-type moderate Republican, more-or-less fiscally conservative but with a laissez-faire attitude towards social. You know, the kind that the Tea Partiers are trying to expunge from the party. In 2002, after running against Roukema twice in the Republican primary and coming dangerously close in 2000, Garrett finally won the seat after Roukema retired. Garrett is a Trojan Horse of a Congressman, making regular use of his franking privileges to send campaign-style letters to his constituents while consistently voting against programs that would help his district. To Scott Garrett, ideology trumps all.
A series of progressively weaker candidates has run against Garrett each year -- weak because the troubled Bergen County Democratic Organization, which has yet to recover from decades of corrupt leadership, refuses to put any skin in the game. The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee refuses to even acknowledge that the district exists. So every two years, we're left with someone no one has ever heard of, trying to win a Congressional seat with five figures worth of cash and a small army of mostly college-age volunteers.
This year The Record endorsed the Democratic candidate, Tod Theise -- a Republican-turned-Democrat from Warren County, who seemed OK except for a troubling tendency to talk about how his faith informs his decision=making. Theise had even less money than other candidates, and the newspaper's endorsement didn't buy him uch.
Three weeks before the general election, after endorsing Garrett's opponent, the paper delivered on its front page a journalistic blowjob to Scott Garrett, titled "GOP Outsider finally in vogue". Yes, that old Scott Garrett -- ahead of his time.
Today, almost two weeks AFTER the election, the paper's Washington correspondent, who wrote the puff piece before the election, pens a front-page story that might have been helpful for voters to have BEFORE the election about Garrett's questionable campaign finance relationship with a large hedge fund in Georgia:
Twelve donors tied to one of the nation’s biggest hedge funds contributed more than $150,000 to a political committee in Georgia controlled by Rep. Scott Garrett, the North Jersey Republican likely to have increased power over financial regulations next year.
The Scott Garrett Victory Committee was created in July and registered in Athens, Ga. In August and September, the donations came in from employees, or spouses of employees, of Elliot Management Corp., manager of a $17 billion hedge fund that specializes in distressed debt.
Two of the donors gave more than $35,000 each. That’s far above the limit of $2,400 per election that individuals could give to candidates, but the contributions were legal because the Garrett committee was a joint entity with several other political action committees, including the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has much higher limits.
Garrett transferred less than $10,000 of those contributions to the campaign fund for his own reelection race, which he won with 65 percent of the vote on Nov. 2. Nearly all of the rest — 83 percent of the money raised — went to the NRCC to maintain or expand Garrett’s influence with fellow House members, or to Republican candidates and committees in Garrett’s district and around New Jersey.
When a Democrat does this, it's called "bribery" or "influence-peddling." When a Republican does it, everyone looks the other way. Yes, I wrote to the paper about it. We'll see if they publish it this time.