POG on Russo Corruption: ‘The fight goes on’

People for Open Government announces:

People for Open Government (POG)  is dedicated to open, accountable and transparent municipal government in Hoboken and one of our goals is to curb the undue influence of campaign contributions on public policy.

We are disheartened to hear Hoboken Councilman Michael Russo, in his own words on FBI tapes in the Spring of 2009, while at lunch with an FBI informant, talk about legal restrictions on campaign contributions, anti-“Pay to Play” laws, as “nonsense.”  Additionally, we are troubled by Mr. Russo’s description of how he would, in theory, control and circumvent what should be the autonomous planning and zoning process for development in Hoboken.

With the support of Hoboken citizens, POG has worked hard over the years to open the processes of government, shine light on its procedures, and reform government to work more in favor of the citizens than for the special interests and the politicians themselves.  We have had good success in enacting anti- “Pay to Play” laws that strengthen restrictions on money in politics.

But Councilman Russo reminds us when he says that he operates under the mantra, “I do for you, you do for me,” that we must continue to fight against those that use their positions in government to advance and enrich themselves and their selected friends over the interests of the public that they are sworn to serve.

Using the taxpayer-supported resources of government to selectively buy favor and promises of support is wrong and those who violate this public trust should be held accountable. 

Revelations that then candidate for office and recently resigned Public Safety Director Angel Alicea also met with the same FBI informant as Russo, while important, are a separate matter and one about which the public has a right to know.  Our Mayor and the full City Council must take forceful measures to rebuild the public trust that is necessary for us to have confidence in our government.

Please visit our website, and join us in our on-going endeavor to make government work better for the people.


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