Legislators seek ethics probe of Corzine staffer

Two Republican legislators are asking the state Ethics Commission to investigate an e-mail written by one of Gov. Jon Corzine's top aides asking cabinet members to come up with creative ways to spin the governor's record on job creation.

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) wants to know if Mark Matzen, Corzine's Deputy Chief of Staff, violated state ethics laws by asking cabinet members to "be creative" in justifying the administration's accomplishments. Handlin wrote the letter with another Monmouth County GOP legislator, David Rible (R-Wall)

"This revelation is disturbing on so many levels," Rible said. "Not only does it question whether the Governor and his staff adhere to the New Jersey's ethics laws, it suggests that the Governor and his staff are more concerned about their ‘message' than the fact that unemployment is approaching ten percent under their watch.

Handlin says that next month's election must be conducted "without a trace of impropriety."

"The public deserves the assurance that can only be provided by an independent ethical arbiter," Handlin wrote.

Assembly Minority Leader Alec DeCroce (R-Parsippany) says that a state Labor Department report that unemployment is now at 9.8% is evidence that Corzine's claim of creating new private sector jobs is bogus.

The governor may want to ‘stretch' the truth, but the inescapable fact is that New Jersey's unemployment rate is climbing every month and what is most disturbing is that private sector jobs fell another 12,000 in the past month," said DeCroce, who also cited Matzen's e-mail.

Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce said today that newly released figures from the state Department of Labor prove conclusively that New Jersey is "bleeding jobs" and Gov. Jon Corzine's claim that his economic policies are creating more private sector jobs – about 121,200 — is false.

"The governor can stage as many media events as he likes," said DeCroce, citing the Matzen e-mail. "He can try his best to convince people his administration is creating jobs. But numbers don't lie, and they tell a different story."

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean Twp.) said Corzine's use of his taxpayer-funded staff to coordinate campaign style evets is a "disturbing" betrayal of the public trust.

"New Jerseyans deserve answers and transparency immediately from the Governor about the full extent of this behavior," Angelini said.

Legislators seek ethics probe of Corzine staffer