Sussex solar scam and presidential politics
Some of you have been emailing Watchdog for more on how the Sussex solar scam is relevant to this year's campaign for President of the United States. Here, listen to it for yourself, here is the moment when presidential candidate Chris Christie focused national media attention on the public-private solar energy scam hatched by people close to him for many years, from his home county:
Ever since Christie mentioned these words in a nationally televised debate hosted by CNBC in October, the Watchdog website has been getting visits and emails from the national media. He brought it up, so they checked it out, and guess what? They found this scam, run by some of his closest associates from the old days, centered in his home county, where he was Freeholder.
Of course, the history of solar in New Jersey (and in America, for that matter) is one of a series of private-public "partnerships" in which professional scam artists get very rich and the taxpayer is left with the bill. Solar doesn't appear to get built without a whole lot of corruption and a whole lot of insiders striking it rich. It has an unusual economic model to say the least.
And we got to warn Freeholders Vohden and Crabb. You make perfect "central-casting" old white guys for the national media's purposes. Add a conservative talk-show host from the Philadelphia media market to that mix and you'll be making MSNBC very happy. It has all the elements to make this Christie's own Solyndra.
Of course, the national media will lose interest if Christie fails in New Hampshire. If he does well there, or even better than expected in Iowa, if his political stock continues to rise, look for some intense unwanted scrutiny.
The Christie people are not happy with the timing. An investigation would not be done in time to affect the outcome of the presidential contest, but Freeholders Vohden and Crabb (with an assist from former Freeholder Zeoli) have delayed the investigation. The Herald's Rob Jennings reports that it might not even happen.
NOTE to the Herald: This could be a chance to land a journalism award or two.
That's good for the national media, because they will be free to write that "Republicans" (last time we checked Sussex, Morris et al have ALL Republican Freeholder Boards) are covering up what could be illegal activity. It is certain that, whether legal or not, this activity hasn't benefitted taxpayers.
And guess what? Republican primary voters HATE solar anyway. Even when it works right and nobody gets ripped-off. We will leave you with these two facts from a polling memo floating around Sussex County:
In Sussex County, 48 percent of all voters OPPOSE "using taxpayer money to build solar energy projects on public buildings." Just 42 percent off all voters -- Democrats, Independents, Undeclared, and Republicans -- support the idea.
Among Republicans in Sussex County, 68 percent oppose solar even when it works right. Only 23 percent support it.
Somebody is gonna get pregnant!