TPM Reader JS isn’t telling us which state is most corrupt. But he reviews some top contenders …
I live in Juhsey (NOT “Joisey”): specifically Newark. I went to school in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and live in New York. Does that make me an expert?
The word “corrupt” is a funny one. Each state has its own political culture. I remember when calling yourself a “Republican” in Rhode Island only meant that you weren’t a love child of Raymond Patriarca. There were some liberal Republicans; some conservative Republicans. There were even some Republicans on the take. But at least a Rhode Island Republican wasn’t a certified made Mafioso. Or at least some weren’t. The pond scum of Narragansett Bay were insulted when compared to Freddy St Germain. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are destroying a fine old Rhode Island tradition.
There were some echoes of this in CT, but it didn’t really compare to RI.
New Jersey? Our politicians don’t take much salary; they work on the commission system. However, they do provide reasonable services in return for their commissions. Sharpe James was a good example. (Jon Corzine and Cory Booker, neither of whom need commissions, are not. Corzine didn’t need commissions because he made so much money at Goldman Sachs. Some say the same is true of Booker, at least insofar as his campaign financing goes.)
The politicians don’t take many commissions in New York. But that’s not because they’re particularly honest; it is because New York has many many many many many la(w)yers of control. There is so much control that very little gets done in NY, unless you can find a rabbi who can circumvent the lawyers. It’s kind of like late Soviet Communism, except that some of the New York rabbis are actually Jewish.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.