The Atlantic County Democrats today brought up a 13-year-old scandal involving Sonny McCullough’s endorsement of Frank LoBiondo in the 1994 Republican Congressional primary.
McCullough, the Democrats said, was given a $63,000 a year job at the South Jersey Transportation Authority in exchange for endorsing Frank LoBiondo in the middle of a contentious primary. In turn, they said, Lobiondo associates lobbied the Whitman Administration to get McCullough the job.
“The public deserves an explanation from Senator McCullough on the circumstances surrounding his hiring at the SJTA,” said Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Ron Ruff. “On its face, it appears to be yet another special insider deal that is no different than the recent scandal at Carneys Point, where the former mayor offered his opponent a job in order to get him to drop out of the race.”
An internal investigation by the Whitman administration at the time concluded that nothing was wrong, but Ruff dismissed it as a “cover-up.”
McCullough responded that the Democrats were dredging up an old story that was irrelevant to the current campaign.
“That’s an old story… The only thing LoBiondo ever did for me was write a letter,” said McCullough. “I endorsed my friend Frank Lobiondo when he ran the first time against (Bill) Hughes and lost. I endorsed him again when he ran against Bill Gormley and won.”
But Democrats said that McCullough’s response contradicted his statements from 1994, when he never spoke to LoBiondo about the position. LoBiondo is on record with the Press of Atlantic City as saying that he never recommended McCullough to the Whitman administration.
“Why are they changing their stories? Is it because McCullough has been caught red handed exchanging his endorsement in a U.S. Congressional race for a high paying taxpayer funded job?” asked Ruff.