Here’s an interesting editorial from The Home News Tribune:
Corzine-Katz affair is public’s business
Home News Tribune Online 03/11/07
It was Sir Walter Scott who said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” And there’s little doubt the web in which Gov. Jon S. Corzine and union chief Carla Katz find themselves is more tangled than ever. Last week, as word of Katz’s profligate spending spread, and as the governor stumbled over explanations of what he had and had not given her — and when he had given it — the artless do-gooder image the governor has burnished since he left his private millionaire’s life for a turn in the public spotlight took a beating.
And then the governor clammed up, claiming it was his personal life and he would keep it secret if he chose.
What the governor willfully misconstrued, of course, was the nature of the interest in his financial and personal entanglement with Katz.
Most New Jerseyans would be happy to let the governor keep his love life to himself; they are interested in knowing the details of his relationship with Katz not simply because he is the governor, but because she is the leader of one of the state’s largest and most powerful unions. New Jerseyans certainly deserve to know enough about the personal relationship between them in order to judge for themselves whether the entanglement is influencing the actions he takes on taxpayers’ behalf. Reforming state employees’ benefits and pensions is one of the largest issues confronting Corzine. He has so far produced a groundbreaking labor deal that gives hefty raises in return for first-ever concessions on benefits. He also, however, stepped over his bounds to stop the Legislature from making long-overdue regulatory reforms to the employees’ benefit system.
Equally disheartening about the emerging details of the governor and union leader’s tangled web is what could be construed as a seemingly conscious effort to deceive the public about the true nature and duration of the relationship. When Corzine and Katz’s financial relationship became an issue during the campaign, Corzine led reporters to believe that his gifts to her ended with an interest-free mortgage that was later forgiven. That, we now know, is not the case. There are other gifts, and they appear to be sizable. The governor also has several times seemed to fudge the dates on the sharing of his largess.
For her part, Katz seems to have gone out of her way to try and hide her purchase of a $1.1 million condominium in Hoboken by forming a corporation so her name would not appear on the deed. And her decision to campaign against the new labor agreement — an agreement that appears headed for approval regardless — looks a little too much like political cover. The employees she represents have a right to be angry about Katz’s high-profile spending and ought to be suspicious of where she got the money. But that is their fight; ours is with Corzine.
By refusing to elaborate on the details of his relationship with Katz, the governor gives the impression that what he is hiding is worse than what anyone might imagine. What we imagine is not good: an ongoing relationship and a deliberate attempt to hide it in order that both Corzine and Katz can have their cake and eat it, too. We already have lived through a governor with a secret personal life that spilled over into his public office. It ended badly — for everyone.
If for no other reason than the memory of James E. McGreevey, the people of New Jersey deserve a full accounting.