Thursday, September 06, 2007

I wonder if they'll step down?

Seeing as Democrats have a history of not stepping down even after being arrested.

Gary Siplin - Orlando State Democratic Senator (Only left office after Governor Bush FORCED him out)
Barney Frank - Male Prostitution (Still in office)
William Jefferson - 90K Cold Hard Cash in Fridge. (Holds a seat on Homeland Security)

TRENTON — Eleven public officials from across New Jersey, including Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera, were arrested Thursday morning in a federal corruption sting, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton said.

Three other politicians from Passaic County — Assemblyman and Passaic County Undersheriff Alfred E. Steele, D-Paterson and Passaic city Councilman Marcellus Jackson and former Passaic city Councilman Jonathan Soto — ­were also arrested for demanding and taking cash bribes for the awarding of public contracts. Steele is also the pastor at Seminary Baptist Church in Paterson and has been in the state Assembly since 1996. He has served as deputy speaker since 2002.

Also arrested were Orange Mayor and the Democratic state Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr.; Keith O. Reid, the chief of staff to Newark’s City Council president; and five Pleasantville school board members. The officials allegedly demanded and accepted bribes ranging from $1,500 to $17,500 at any one time, the spokesman, Michael Drewniak, said in a statement.

Each of the officials and one associate took bribes from companies that offered insurance brokerage or roofing services to school districts and municipalities, Drewniak said.

The yearlong investigation began amid evidence of corruption in the Pleasantville School District.

In response, the FBI established an undercover insurance brokerage company purporting to employ the government’s two cooperating witnesses and undercover agents, Drewniak said, adding that criminal complaints against the 12 defendants will be unsealed at 12:30 p.m.

Initial court appearances will take place at about 1:30 p.m., in the federal courthouse in Trenton before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni, Drewniak said. A news conference is scheduled to take place at about 3:30 p.m. in front of the courthouse in Trenton with U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, FBI Special Agent Weysan Dun and Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore F.L. Housel. Jenna Pollard, who answered the phone at Steele's Paterson office and identified herself as his chief of staff, declined to comment and said she didn't know if Steele had a lawyer.

The arrests are the latest in an anti-corruption campaign waged by Christie's office, and mark the second major corruption roundup this year.

Two Democratic senators, Wayne Bryant of Lawnside and Sharpe James of Newark, are facing pending federal corruption charges. Both pleaded not guilty.

More than 100 public officials in the state have been convicted on federal corruption charges in the last five years, the A.P. reported.

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