Pay to Play laws were never enacted to reform pay to play, but to make it appear that our legislators were doing something to reform pay to play. As with every ethics reform that has come down the pike in New Jersey, there have been loopholes large enough to drive a bus through.
Take, for instance, the loophole in the law that prevents political contributors from obtaining public contracts in locales where they have financed campaigns. The solution is easy. For county contracts, you simply donate to another county who then funnels campaign money to the county that is hiring you as a reward for party loyalty.
Take, for instance, the favored contractor for the Vine Street School renovation, Lammey and Giorgio. The only contractor that passed the first round that is not from Cumberland County, nor even the lowest bidder – and they get preferential treatment when a “county employee” secretly asked them to reduce their bid while not giving the other players the same option. Can you say “insider deals”?
Anthony Giorgio, principle of Lammey and Giorgio is a generous Camden County Campaign contributor, contributing almost $20,000 to the corrupt George Norcross machine. William Lammey, the other principle, also contributed around $20,000 to the Camden machine.
The Camden County machine has funneled $91,000 of campaign contributions to Cumberland County since it has been under Lou Magazzu’s control. Is this legal? Sure. Is it ethical? You be the judge on whether doing an end-run around the spirit of ethics laws is right or wrong!