Corruption Watch: Pay to Play, Political Patronage Alive and Well at the Jersey Shore

EATONTOWN-It’s no secret in politics, especially here at the Jersey Shore.  If you operate a company that can be appointed to a professional service contract in government, you should probably donate a few hundred bucks to your local candidates to get the job.

According to many political insiders, “It’s just the way it always has been.”

Eatontown Democrats are now feeling the heat after sending an email asking for donations and hinting at paid jobs with the municipality.  The Democrats used ActBlue, the same campaign contribution service used by U.S. Sentor Cory Booker to raise money after last week’s mass shootings.

“There is still time to help us meet our fundraising goals,” the email from the Eatontown Democrats said to donors. “Please note that next year’s professionals will be chosen solely on their merits and not based on political connection. We’re hoping you’ll apply.”

It’s just how things work in politics, but most are smart enough to not connect the dots in an email or just flat out deny that 90% of professionals who contribute to their campaigns receive jobs.

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It’s also just not Democrats. Republicans do it too.   Last year, Toms River Councilman George Wittman found himself in the hot seat after accidentally sending an email to several township employees saying that an open job should “go to a club member first”.

Wittman said the email was a mistake.

At the shore, you can usually pull a candidate’s ELEC form and play connect the dots with appointed professional contracts.   This time though, in Eatontown, just like in Toms River last year, the politicians were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  Usually they reserve such talks for caucus meetings with their local or county chairmen as they divvy up jobs that are not available to the general public.

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In Ocean County, insiders are now reporting that law firms associated with new Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman are already engaging in discussions to replace the law firm of the former chairman, George Gilmore, with their own firms.  In some cases, like Toms River and Brick, Republicans have to first win those seats before they can all divide their spoils of war.

When it comes to the Eatontown Democrats, the Asbury Park Press confirmed the email was sent to attorneys and accountants who could get municipal contracts…in exchange of course, for a few bucks thrown into their campaign coffers.

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