For the past four years, President Obama has repeatedly shrugged off ridiculous attacks, saying, "Politics is a contact sport."
It is certainly true. Still, I have always believed that whatever candidates and their campaigns might say, the media are there to act as referees: to fact check, to seek confirming sources, to bring balance.
For several weeks, the Hudson Reporter and I have been going back and forth with regard to what I see as deeply biased reporting.
Often, the reporter covering Jersey City produces articles about our campaign that are just not true. Her sources are almost always anonymous.
Last week, this reporter wrote an article about fundraising, suggesting that our campaign violates the same strict pay-to-play laws I introduced as a Councilperson. The article was written with zero facts and zero named sources--but in the end, sadly, the Healy campaign gets what it wants, which is a headline to use in campaign literature.
Here are the facts:
Fact No.1- The law firm referenced in the article, Scarinsci Hollenbeck have neither raised nor bundled funds for my campaign in violation of the pay to play laws. period. Our campaign files quarterly reports that outline our fundraising. We do a detailed, more clear and comprehensive job than most in the state. Although I had explained this to the reporter, she chose to disregard it.
Fact No.2- Our campaign is extremely cautious on fundraising, but is not always perfect. The campaign has returned proactively more than $60,000 in donations that we felt represented conflicts or perceived conflicts. Not a lot of campaigns make it a habit to return money. I am proud of the lengths we go to without any fanfare to simply do the right thing.
Fact No.3- Every single donation the campaign receives is vetted by a group of volunteer good-government activists. Every donation is discussed and checked by regular people to ensure that our campaign is compliant with the letter of the law. You won't see any other campaign in Hudson County going to these lengths to create checks and balances.
Fact No.4- The Reporter article provides no facts and offers no comments for attribution. It is solely based on sources the reporter deems "politically connected." They are, of course, anonymous. I would suggest that responsible journalism requires more than this.
Fact No.5- The law firm referenced in the story has been working for the city and the Board of Education for 10 years. In other words, the firm has been engaged since long before I ever entered government. So much for the suggestion that I had anything to do with getting that firm placed in New Jersey.
Sadly, this is going to be an ugly campaign no matter how much we try to stay above the fray. The Healy plan is to try to show that everyone is as ethically challenged as he is, with the hope that apathy prevails in the end. I am going to do my best to keep the dialogue above that, but I won't be bashful about responding when the attacks are baseless, anonymous, and just plain wrong.