In a repeat of Super Bowl I, the Green Bay Packers will defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LI. America will be great again.
Jared Kushner will buy Twitter.
The U.S. Supreme Court will reject Senator Robert Menendez’s arguments that constitutional separation of powers prohibits the Justice Department from prosecuting a New Jersey Senator for using the influence of his office in exchange for gifts and favors from a Florida businessman. Menendez will step down from the Senate as part of a deal that excludes prison and a felony record.
Governor Chris Christie will appoint NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney to complete Menendez’s term in the U.S. Senate.
Republican Joe Piscopo will defeat Democrat Phil Murphy to become the Governor of New Jersey.
Senator Bob Menendez, left, and Congressman Frank Pallone, making like chimpmunks at the 2012 Belmar St. Patrick’s parade. Photo credit Charles Measley
A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Senator Robert Menendez, examining his role in advocating for the business interests of his benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, and the anonymous allegations that Melgen provided the senator prostitutes while they vacationed together in the Dominican Republic, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Menedez declined to say if he was aware of the investigation, but welcomed being probed.
“I welcome any review, because I believe, at the end of the day, that my actions have been appropriate,” the senator said. “And just as everything that gave rise to this was a smear campaign based on slanders that drove the original story, I believe that when any review reviews the facts, they will determine that I have acted appropriately at all times.”
Menendez told WaPo that he likely would have received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee for the two flights he took on Melgen’s private jet in 2010 but did not report until January of this year. He paid Melgen $58,500, which was between 32% and 87% of his net worth, for the flights he thinks the Ethics Committee would let him have gratis because it was the right thing to do.
He said he could have likely received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee based on his long friendship with Melgen. “But I said, ‘You know, it’s past, and the right thing at the moment is to pay for it,’ ” he said. “When I learned of the mistake, I did what was right and took care of it.”
Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw, Jr was nominated by Governor Chris Christie to become a Superior Court Judge on June 14. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold his confirmation hearing today. He is likely to be confirmed by the full Senate before the end of the week, ending his 18 month tenure as county prosecutor.
First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni is expected to be nominated to replace Warshaw as the chief prosecutor in Monmouth County. Word in the legal community is that Gramiccioni, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney under Christie, was the governor’s first choice to become Monmouth County Prosecutor in 2010 but that he was 18 months short of the residency requirements.
Former Monmouth County Sheriff Joe Oxley, also former Monmouth GOP Chairman, was nominated to the Court on May 14. Oxley’s confirmation has yet to be scheduled by the Democratically controlled Judiciary Committee, due in part to a Star Ledger report that federal informant Soloman Dwek accused Oxley, Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin of trading favors for campaign contributions.
Dwek’s allegations were revealed in discovery documents in the civil case of former Hudson County Assemblyman Louis Manzo who unsuccessly sued the U.S. Attorney’s office to recover $100K in legal fees that resulted Manzo’s 2009 Operation Bid Rig indictments. Manzo was accused under the Hobbs Act of accepting bribes from Dwek in exchange for future help in zoning and permit applications should Manzo be elected Jersey City Mayor. Manzo was running for Mayor for the fifth time when the alleged bribe occurred. Federal Judge Jose Linares threw out the charges on the basis that the Hobbs Act applied only to elected officials, not candidates. The Appellate Court affirmed Linares’ ruling.
The discovery documents in Manzo’s civil case miraculously found their way to the Star Ledger in what Kyrillos called an “oppo (opposition research) dump” by U. S. Senator Robert Menedez’s reelection campaign. Kyrillos is the GOP nominee to unseat Menendez and a minority member of the State Senate Judiciary Committee which reviews judicial nominations.
Expect the Judiciary Committee to schedule Oxley’s confirmation hearing in September or October as the general election campaign is heating up. Democratic Senator Ray Lesniak has called for Dwek, who is in federal prison, to testify at Oxley’s hearing. That would put Kyrillos, as a member of the committee and also accused by Dwek of trading favors for contributions, in a hot seat at the height of the U.S. Senate campaign.
In another potential twist in this tangled web, Gramiccioni was one of the federal prosecutors working on the Bid Rig investigations, including Manzo’s, according to Bob Ingle and Michael Symons in Chris Christie: The Inside Story Of His Rise To Power (page 90). Should Gramiccioni be nominated Monmouth County Prosecutor, as expected, his nomination will also be subject to a Judiciary Committee hearing.
Gramiccioni’s wife, Deborah, is Governor Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Cabinet Liason.
Middletown – February 9 Today, New Jersey State Senator Joe Kyrillos urged the Obama Administration to halt its attack on religious freedom and the right for Catholic hospitals to operate without government mandates.
“This is a shocking assault on the religious freedom upon which this nation was built,” said Senator Kyrillos.
“Bob Menendez’s silence is deafening. He loudly supported Obama Care and has remained silent in the face of this attack on religious liberty. The Obama/Menendez mandate is an affront not just to one particular faith, but to all Americans who seek to practice their faiths free from government intrusion.”
Kyrillos said, “President Obama has been systematically trampling upon Americans’ basic personal freedoms since his first day in office. Now he is after our religious freedom and I strongly urge him to reverse course. It is sad and unfortunate that, even as many Democrats have spoken out against this provision, Senator Menendez has stood by Obama’s side while the religious freedom of the people of New Jersey is under siege.”
“Freedom of religion is one of our nation’s most basic First Principles and unlike Senator Menendez, I cannot sit idly by while President Obama dismantles our Constitution one freedom at a time.”
West New York Mayor Felix Roque is endorsing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos over his fellow Hudson County Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez, in this November’s election, according to a report at Politickernj.
Despite telling multiple press outlets that she was running and despite professionally produced fundraising appeals for a campaign for U.S. Senate, Anna Little has not decided whether of not she will challenge Joe Kyrillos for the GOP nomination to unseat Robert Menendez.
Little’s manager, Larry Cirignano, told The Asbury Park Press, “She’s thinking about it. She wants to wait and see what the people think –if they want a choice or are they satisfied with the field. It’s (a matter) of who is the best person to beat Menendez.”
Highlands GOP Municipal Chairwoman Carol Bucco has already weighed in. Bucco and her husband Tony, long time Little supporters, were in attendance at Kyrillo’s campaign kickoff event at the Lincroft Inn in Middletown yesterday. Sources tell MMM that Bucco declined to sign Little’s nominating petition.
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez reacted to State Senator Joe Kyrillos’ formal campaign announcement with a statement of his own, issued to Politickernj.
“New Jersey’s voters will have a very clear choice if Senator Kyrillos becomes the Republican nominee- Senator Bob Menendez who fights every day for middle class New Jersey families or long-time Trenton insider Joe Kyrillos- who sides with corporations and special interests over working families and seniors and panders to the most extreme elements of the Washington Republicans,” Menendez campaign strategist Brad Lawrence said in an emailed statement today.
Clearly, Menendez has read the polls and knows his job is at risk. Recent polls indicate that Kyrillos has low name recognition outside of Monmouth County. For an incumbent Senator to react like he did guarantees that Kyrillos’ announcement will get press conference. Menendez, knowing he is vulnerable, has decided to try to define Kyrillos at the risk of increasing his name ID.
Menendez’s recent reversal on Magistrate Patty’s Shwartz’s nomination to the Third Circut Court of Appeals and his back peddling on the Internet Censorship Bill he is a sponsor of, are other indications that he knows his support is soft at best with New Jersey voters.
Menendez’s use of senatorial courtesy to block Shwartz’s nomination to the Appeals Court was met with fierce opposition in the legal community and speculation in the media that he was acting punitively because Shwartz’s boyfriend was the prosecutor who investigated him during his first campaign for Senate. The senator latter reversed himself, saying that after a second interview Shwartz was satisfactory after all.
After the enormous outcry this week against the Protect IP Internet censorship bill sponsored by Menendez in the Senate, lead by Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and other major web sites, he tweeted, ”
The dean of the Monmouth County legislative delegation is running for United States Senate.
MMM has confirmed that State Senator Joe Kyrillos has completed his exploratory activity and will announce his candidacy to replace Robert Menendez in the United States Senate today.
Kyrillos has represented northern Monmouth County in the state legislature for over two decades. The close friend and advisor of Governor Chris Christie is also a former NJ GOP State Chairman. He chaired Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New Jersey in 2008 and was Christie’s campaign chairman in 2009.
Kyrillos established an U.S. Senate Exploratory Comittee last June to evaluate the viability of a potential campaign to unseat Menendez in a presidential election year. His announcement today is an indication not only that he and his senior supporters see a path to victory, but that the highest levels of the NJ GOP believe that New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes are in play during the presidential election.
New Jersey has not elected a Republican U.S. Senator in 40 years and has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
Republican pollster Adam Geller, who has consulted with the Kyrillos Exploratory Committee says Menedez is vulnerable. Despite out polling Kyrillos, former Highlands Mayor Anna Little and a generic Republican, only 43% of New Jersey voters support the incumbent Senator. “That is Jon Corzine territory,” Geller said in a memo to the Kyrillos committee last week.
Prominent Republican pollster and FoxNews analyst Adam Geller says that today’s FDU poll which has U.S. Senator Robert Menendez beating either Republican State Senator Joe Kyrillos or former Highlands Mayor Anna Little by a 43%-31%, is very bad news for Menendez.
In a memo to the Kyrillos for Senate Exploritory Committee obtained by MMM Geller said:
The takeaway from today’s FDU poll is Bob Menendez is very vulnerable and this is a real opportunity for a good candidate to defeat him. Any incumbent under 50% is in trouble and Menendez is under 45%, which means he is in major trouble. That is Jon Corzine territory
Joe Kyrillos, even though not yet a candidate, would make a very strong opponent for Menendez because of his personal and fundraising base and his consistently strong fiscally conservative voting record in New Jersey.
I would also note that only 28% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction. That is a terrible number for an incumbent arguing that he ought to be re-elected.
The bottom line of this poll is that if Joe Kyrillos were to jump into this race, Bob Menendez is in serious trouble.