Christie “Reform NJ” Contributor LanganÂ Dominates DEP Toxic Site Cleanup “Reforms”
[Update: 1/2/11: Star Ledger editorial Gov. Chris Christie's double standard on political money.Â
The Ledger is sounding like Wolfenotes on this one! Ledger:
"The organization calls itself Reform Jersey Now, a grand irony when you consider that its main purpose is to end-run campaign finance laws that Christie supposedly supports ....only a practiced politician would have the chutzpah to make such an implausible claim. ...Â He understood that itâ€™s a sleazy practice that puts both parties within winking distance of a bribe, and that it engenders widespread mistrust. ... But this episode tarnished the governorâ€™s reputation. He behaved like a perfect hypocrite.
"Boldly oblivious to the irony and with no sense of shame,Â that sleazy pro Christie group is named â€œReform Jersey Nowâ€. ...Â
The only honorable thing to do at this point â€“ given that appearance of a conflict of interest is the legal standard in NJ - is to immediately resign from the LSP Board.As you know, in addition toÂ the SRRA LSP professional standards, the ethical standard in NJ law isÂ â€œa justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.â€ (NJSA 52:13D-12)Â (see: http://www.state.nj.us/ethics/statutes/conflicts/
Check out this comment on the Star Ledgger editorial, obviously from a DEP employee:
"Langan has been given unprecedented access to DEP records and computer databases that their competitors do not have. The big "joke" at DEP is that we work for them. This despite the fact that everyone in the Site Remediation Program (hundreds of scientists and engineers) can give examples of shoddy, unprofessional, inaccurate, and even unethical product from Langan over the years." End update]
Yesterday the Star Ledger broke theÂ pay to play abuse story that:
Contractors paid hundreds of millions of dollars by state agencies were among the top donors to a group that has been publicly promoting Gov. Chris Christieâ€™s legislative agenda for the past six months.
We wrote about the DEP related aspects of one of those major contributors, Langan Engineering (see this).
But there are far larger Langan links at DEP.
Today, we note that on December 9, we testified before the Senate Environment Committee on how private consultants and pollutersÂ wereÂ literally re-writing the DEPÂ regulations governing toxic site cleanup (listen to testimony, whichÂ runs from time 1:26:00 -Â 1:34:00)
It turns out that Langan Engineering just happens to dominate that effort with nine (9) represetnatives involved!Â Â Â This is in addition to Langan senior associateÂ Jorge Berkowitz’ access and influence as an LSP Board member (see this link for the DEP SRRA stakeholder groups and their composition).
Langan’sÂ ”Reform NJ” contributions, provided at the same time Langan securedÂ preferential access and influence at DEP, raises major ethical issues that could compromise the independence of and taint the objectivity of DEP.
So we call on DEP Commissioner Martin to respond – seeÂ letter below.
Since then, weÂ learned thatÂ Langan Engineering and JM Sorge are two groups named in the “Reform NJ” pay to play scandal. Both areÂ heavily represented on DEP SRRA stakeholder groups I criticized in testimony.
Remarkably, Langan has nine (9) members and JM Sorge has one.