In the wake of a Quinnipiac University poll in which a majority of voters say Gov. Jon Corzine should make public his financial dealings with Rocco Riccio, Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance again called on Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate Riccio’s role in a government job.
The brother-in-law of state workers union leader and former Gov. Jon Corzine girlfriend, Carla Katz, Riccio apparently quit his government post after Corzine’s people told him he should leave instead of turning into a political flash point. Corzine later admitted to giving Riccio money, a move the governor’s detractors say occurred after Corzine’s people couldn’t get Riccio the private sector job they said they’d secure for him.
"This has less to do with Carla Katz than it has to do with a public employee rifling through people’s tax returns," said Lance, referring to charges swirling around Riccio whilee he worked in the state Department of Human Services.
"I spoke to the Attorney General because I had asked her to investigate this, and she told me her office does not comment on investigations," said Lance of his conversation with Milgram, a corzine administration appointment.
The Senate Minority Leader said Quinnipiac University’s poll today also backs up his argument that a Republican majority in the Upper House would be better poised to combat government waste, fraud and abuse. A majority of New Jersey voters associate corruption more with the Democratic than Republican Party, according to Quinnipiac, and Lance’s message to voters if they want reform is to vote Republican.
"We have 18 votes in the Senate," he said. "To ban dual office-holding we need to get at least 21."
But Quinnipiac also reports that while a majority of voters give the corruption award to Democrats, they don’t believe Republicans have too many answers as an alternative party. Lance said he’s not worried. It’s a matter of his party getting out their message.
"People will undoubtedly become more focused in October," said the minority leader.
Staying on his party’s theme of ethics reform, Lance said Corzine could have and should have "conditionally vetoed "a dual-office holding bill that grandfathers currently serving double-dippers. Signing the measure represented a key failure of leadership, in Lance’s judgement..
"He is the most powerful governor constitutionally, and instead he signed a very weak bill," Lance said.