Monday, September 29, 2008

The heat is on Garrett after 2 scandals are uncovered

After word got out about Scott Garrett's $41,000 tax break for his farm that had $600 in income, as well as his ties to failed financial services giant Countrywide Financial, the press is starting to shine a light on the problems and conflicts of interest that Garrett has.

To recap the 2 scandals, they are as follows:

  • Garrett has taken thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Countrywide Financial and has hired its former lobbyist as his Chief of Staff. Despite his seat on the House Financial Services Committee, he has sat idly by while our economy spiraled into crisis.

  • Garrett has taken a $41,000 tax break, intended for real farmers, on his multi-acre estate by claiming his brother sells $700 worth of "shrubs." He does not disclose the complete value of the adjoining land or the income from this so-called shrub farm as required by federal law. Learn more and view Shulman's new ad at

Here are some of the things that are being said in the press about the 2 scandals:

The Star-Ledger highlighted Garrett's extensive ties to the financial services industry: "Garrett has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from financial-service firms and in March hired as his chief of staff a former lobbyist for Countrywide Financial, the nation's former largest mortgage lender that earlier this year became synonymous with the financial-services meltdown." - Jim Lockwood, 9/25/08

The Record highlighted Garrett's tax problems in "Fake farmer TV ad could hurt Garrett": "Garrett's campaign says he's done nothing wrong taking advantage of the state's farmland assessment program.... But a similar attack of being a fake farmer cost Ellen Karcher, a Democratic state senator from Monmouth County, her seat in 2007." - Herb Jackson, 9/25/08

More coverage of the Shulman campaign's new tv ad:

"Gasperino [Garrett's campaign manager] did not respond to follow-up questions to identify which statements she deems untrue." - The Express-Times, 9/24/2008

"They say there are about two or three enduring storylines in world literature, and over the last year there have proved to be two or three storylines in New Jersey politics.... [T]he Shulman campaign argues that it's the Ellen Karcher story all over again, with Garrett receiving a $41,000 tax break on a piece of land that yields approximately $700 per year in income." - PolitickerNJ, 9/24/2008

More coverage of Garrett's ties to our economic crisis:

"[Garrett's] chief of staff, Amy Smith, used to be employed by a lobbying firm that listed Countrywide Financial as a client. Countrywide has borne part of the blame for the subprime mortgage situation that led to current financial distress." - New Jersey Herald, 9/21/2008

"When I'm in Congress, I will never put Countrywide Financial and Big Oil above the citizens I represent. That is why I have pledged to never take campaign contributions from an industry I'm supposed to oversee." - The Hill, Congress Blog by Dennis Shulman, 9/17/2008

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