Guest Column

It's Time to Stop the Mudslinging in New Jersey

Barbara Buono
Bob Menendez

The atmosphere of mudslinging has reached an all-time high in New Jersey politics. It appears that the moment that an office holder assumes a leadership post and appears to actually get something done for the average citizen, allegations appear from nowhere.

Barbara Buono, who has steadfastly remained a determined candidate for Governor over the last few years, finally achieved the nomination of her party for the state’s top office. Within hours, however, accusations, designed to destroy her candidacy, before it got started, appeared via the print and electronic media. According to a
Jan. 30 headline, ”The New Jersey Republican Party today called on the State's campaign finance watchdog agency to investigate whether spending by Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, violated state election law.”

Buono has never been accused of wrongdoing before. However, the moment that her campaign appeared to have a level of success, the allegations began.

United States Senator Bob Menendez has been subject to accusations by Republicans on at least three occasions, each time when he was at the threshold of attaining leadership.

First, Menendez appeared to be the successful candidate for the full term in the United States Senate in 2008. The moment that his campaign appeared to be successful, he was accused of irregularities regarding the renting of his private property. An investigation followed and he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

During the 2012 campaign for re-election to his Senate seat, Menendez once again was targeted with salacious allegations. Once again, the investigation failed to prove any illegal activity and he was re-elected by a wide margin.

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Now, as he has achieved the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez is hit with allegations by an “anonymous” witness. Interestingly, the supposed witness has refused to step forward when prodded to do so by news organizations.

It is obvious that unsubstantiated rumor can be more damaging than actual proof of illegal activity. In the cases of these two public servants, nothing has been proven, yet the burden of proof has been placed upon them, rather than the accusers.

Countless hours and numerous dollars are being wasted on finger pointing, rather than concentrating on how to save America from a fiscal abyss, inordinate crime and violence, and the lack of opportunities that should emanate form the American Dream.

It is time to stop these personal attacks and begin to listen to office holders and concentrate on ways in which we can work together to create a better New Jersey and America.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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