If the latest scrap between riled 3rd Congressional District candidates is to be believed, there are actors out there who aren’t angels in the world of campaign fundraising.
In arguably the most acrimonious congressional battle of the summer, state Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) and Medford Mayor Chris Myers this week each accused the other of stirring scandal-tainted cash into the mix of their respective campaigns.
First, Myers called on Adler to return a $4,000 contribution from GOP target of the week: U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).
His Democratic opponent then attempted to one-up the Republican by demanding that Myers give back $4,600 in campaign contributions from Burlington GOP sources Adler says remained silent during the Burlington County Bridge Commission scandal.
The subject of recent news stories about how he received sweetheart deals for four apartments in Harlem, Rangel presented a timely opening for Myers, who identified the House Ways and Means Committee chairman’s contribution to Adler and promptly struck.
"Career politicians like Charles Rangel and John Adler are part and parcel of the corrupt, tax and spend culture in both Washington and Trenton," said Myers. "Both wax poetic about being champions for the middle class, but the facts tell a different story."
Rangel, Myers argued, abused his office to obtain special treatment, while "Adler has teamed up with Jon Corzine to ruin our state's economy and saddle today's suburban homeowners with higher taxes and our children with billions in debt."
Ignoring Myers’s entreaty regarding the Rangel money, Adler went on offense in response, dusting off an earlier campaign attack.
"We are once again calling on Mayor Myers to return the tainted $4,600 in campaign contributions he has taken from local Republican bosses who looked the other way when contractors used inflated invoices to collect more than $2.5 million in fraudulent lobbying contracts at the bridge commission, with zero proof that they did any work," said Adler campaign manager Raiyan Syed. "And even though one of these party bosses is serving jail time for fraud, Myers still refuses to do anything to recover the stolen money."
While staying away from Adler's argument regarding the Bridge Commission scandal, Myers's campaign spokesman Chris Russell objected to Adler's refusal to engage the Rangel issue.
"John Adler is wholly owned subsidiary of the Camden County Political Machine and owes his entire, miserable Trenton career to the Camden political bosses," said Russell. "Adler doesn't have a shred of credibility on this issue, let alone enough to lecture a decorated combat veteran and successful, self-made businessman like Chris Myers.
"His failure to denounce Charlie Rangel and return his money in the wake of this troubling scandal exposes John Adler for who he really is– a career politician who is completely incapable of standing up to members of his own party when they're wrong," Russell added.