Who’s the ethics champion?

Jennifer Beck and her 12th district running mates continue to try to chip away at State Sen. Ellen Karcher’s reputation on ethics reform, but the efforts have led Karcher’s campaign to ask one question: what has Beck done lately?

The 12th district Republican candidates issued a press release today criticizing Karcher and Assemblyman Panter’s pension forfeiture bills, which do not apply retroactively, allowing politicians like Wayne Bryant and Sharpe James to keep their pensions even if convicted. Beck, a first-term Assemblywoman, had introduced an alternative bill that would have applied retroactively.

“We have heard the excuse ‘it’s better than nothing’ so many times that it has practically replaced ‘Liberty and Prosperity’ as New Jersey’s state motto,” said Beck in the release.

 
The Democrats’ campaign responded that ethics reform legislation needs to be taken one step at a time -- that it’s better to pass a law with fewer teeth than no law at all. Karcher campaign manager Mike Premo said that it’s easier to introduce legislation that has no realistic chance of passing than to compromise and write legislation that will get majority approval. 
 
Beck, Premo noted, has never passed a piece of ethics reform legislation, while Karcher’s record goes back to her days as a Marlboro Councilwoman, when she went as far as to wear a wire to help build a case against corrupt local officials. The Republicans’ noise on the subject, he said, is merely campaign fodder. 
 

“You’re comparing someone who has no record on ethics reform with someone that has a tremendous record on it,” said Premo. “The reason Ellen Karcher has been able to get real ethics reform passed into law is because she works with all sides and comes up with consensus legislation that has a chance of passing… she’s constantly moving the ball down the field. We didn’t get into this problem overnight and we’re not going to get out of it overnight.”

Who’s the ethics champion?