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August 22, 2004

"I am a Corrupt-American"

Governor McGreevey Shifts $10 Million From Surplus Fund to Pay for "Public Service Ads" Featuring Himself

So far during the Olympics -- an expensive place to buy ads -- I've seen two commercials featuring Jim McGreevey, and I'm in the New York market. (Also an expensive place to buy ads.) Both ads were NJ PSA's designed to convey the message "McGreevey is fixing this problem." As a non-NJ-resident, there really wasn't any reason to tell me to call the NJ Department of Health "to get the real facts about ecxema," or whatever the ads were about.

It was just a transparent wasted of state funds for the improper purpose of attempting to improve the Governor's image with NJ voters.

Well, the NJ GOP is crying foul, as they should:

Since January, the McGreevey administration has quietly transfered $10 million from the state's surplus into television and radio advertising campaigns that mostly featured the governor, the Asbury Park Press has learned.

All of the McGreevey ads are now being reviewed following the governor's Aug. 12 announcement that he would resign Nov. 15 because of a gay love affair, McGreevey spokesman Micah Rasmussen said.

One television tourism ad has already been edited to delete the McGreevey family from the end of the national spot.

Republicans say until the scandal broke, McGreevey, a Democrat, used state funds to boost his sagging poll ratings and image with the public even as the state raised taxes and borrowed $2.7 billion to balance this fiscal year's budget.

McGreevey has appeared in taxpayer-funded advertisements touting an improved E-ZPass toll collection system, more efficient motor vehicles offices, better business climate, the state's "do not call" list and a need for greater AIDS awareness.

The state Senate Republican office estimates that McGreevey has spent $30 million on ads since the beginning of his term in 2002.

State Sen. Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon and Senate minority leader, said the multimillion-dollar ad campaign featuring the governor is frivolous.

"There is no way we should be spending money on this advertising when we have such a budget crisis, which will be even greater next spring," Lance said.

Rasmussen said the administration does not track nor total the amounts spent on advertisements featuring the governor.

Rasmussen disputed Lance's comments. He said the advertising was needed to tell residents about such services as new Saturday hours at motor vehicles offices.

"How will people know if we don't tell them?" Rasmussen said. "Maybe there wasn't a reason to let people know about new government services in the past because there were no new government services."

He "needed" to tell me about new Saturday hours at the DMV.

Because, if he hadn't told me, I would not have known.

Upcoming: A new ad instructing the voters that New Jersey is well-prepared to defend against a terrorist attack, so long as that attack comes in the form of Hebraic poetry.

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posted by Ace at 02:09 PM

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