New Jersey Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos, a Republican, is calling on Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat, to recuse himself from congressional hearings on MF Global, the financial firm led by Jon Corzine that went under last year.
"I am concerned that Senator Menendez’s personal and professional relationship with former New Jersey Governor and MF Global Holdings CEO Jon Corzine could be a conflict of interest during the Committee’s investigation," said Kyrillos in a statement.
In 2006, when Corzine himself was governor of New Jersey, the now embattled money man appointed Menendez to the U.S. Senate. Kyrillos worries that this relationship will interfere with Menendez's ability to do his job in the Senate.
Corzine is still an Obama campaign bundler, raising more than $500,000 last quarter for the president relection effort.
"Recent press accounts and Menendez's own actions during investigatory hearings are making it seem as if he is trying to protect the man who appointed him to the Senate," Kyrillos said in a separate statement. "As a Senate committee with direct oversight of the MF Global regulators, it is Menendez's duty to put his personal ties aside, and get to the bottom of this. That is why he needs to recuse himself from further proceedings immediately."
Kyrillos was joined by victims of MF Global's collapse in asking Menendez to recuse himself.
John and Alieta Eck are doctors who "had $200,000 in a non-investment account that was completely wiped out as a result of the company’s collapse," according to the Kyrillos campaign. John Eck made the following statement:
My wife and I were devastated when money that we though was safe was taken from us with no explanation. We were counting on this money for our retirement, and now we many never see it again. We stand firmly with Senator Kyrillos in asking Bob Menendez to step aside from the MF Global investigation proceedings. The fact that Menendez failed to even mention the CEO Jon Corzine by name demonstrates that he is putting his personal relationship with Corzine ahead of the investors of MF global and the people of New Jersey. This requires a fair and comprehensive investigation, not a political whitewash.
There's been no word yet whether Menendez will grant this request.
Barack Obama's reelection campaign has released the most recent list of names of fundraising bundlers. On that list is Jon Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey and embattled money man, the former head of MF Global:
Corzine, according to the Obama campaign, has once again helped raise more than $500,000.
1. Obama's Falling Numbers. Barack Obama’s job approval numbers reached a new low over the weekend in the RealClearPolitics average. Generally, I’ve seen two types of explanations for the president's decline. One is a structural account that asserts that the president is largely a prisoner of the economy. The other is an insider account that focuses on various messaging/tactical failures of the president, e.g his inability to “empathize.”
In the tradition of the proverbial carpenter and his nails, if you're Barack Obama, every political problem looks like 2008. Today, the DNC signaled its willingness to use 2008's rhetoric to win in 2010 with a half-hearted rallying video recorded by Obama asking his base to show up at the polls in November.
It's the same message Obama used to pitch Creigh Deeds for governor in Virginia, Jon Corzine for governor in New Jersey, and Martha Coakley for Senate in Massachusetts. It's also the same pitch he made for health care—the one instance in which it actually worked, at least on the Hill, but health care's numbers are still about on par with Corzine's, Deeds', or Coakley's.
Spot political problem, apply speeches, lather with inspirational rhetoric, repeat. What Obama seems to miss, however, is that his inspirational rhetoric worked because he himself was inspirational. Conferring his inspiration upon any old hack Democratic cause or candidate that comes through the DNC has not proven fruitful.
In this video, he is Barack Obama. He is the man whose problems are still inherited. He is the man who fights the health insurance companies... whose product he's requiring that every American buy, battles the big banks... who bankrolled his campaign, and stifles special interests... with whom he meets behind closed doors to hash out deals on legislation. And, he posits, all of this should inspire those who voted for the first time in 2008 to vote again on behalf of all the uninspiring Corzines, Deedses, and Coakleys who will in some unspecified way guarantee the uplifting change at sometime in the unspecifed future that Obama himself has not delivered. Fired up and ready to go!
It's hard to say whether this is more pathetic and phoned in or cynical and disingenuous. They're neck-and-neck. Obama uses what Ben Smith at Politico calls "unusual demographic frankness," when he exhorts, "young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women" to come to the polls. Drudge calls it the "race card," though like Ed Morrissey, I'm not sure I'd go that far.