Corruption Scandal Might Not Have Long-Term Impact
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
April 22, 2013
Nearly four years after 46 arrests in New Jersey’s largest federal corruption sting, the cases against the final defendants are nearing an end.
Most of the suspects pleaded guilty or were convicted, but political analysts say there might not be a long -term impact.
Despite all the publicity, Montclair State political science and law professor Brigid Harrison does not expect the corruption scandal will have an extended deterrent effect.
“In the short term we did see a bit of reticence and there was kind of a reform of those public officials, but I think that arrogance kind of leads people back down that path and to date I don’t really see any evidence that shows this made public officials walk the straight and narrow.”
Harrison says the judicial system must make attacking political corruption a priority to frighten officials who may consider crossing the line.
John Weingart is associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers.
He says ethics reforms and financial disclosure laws have not been particularly effective in stopping corruption.
“The problem maybe stems in part from having so many local governments in New Jersey, so many jurisdictions and entities with them, that it makes it easier for people in those agencies or in those positions to feel that they can get away with something, that nobody is watching what they do.”