Three hours is not a long time to interview all of those candidates, so I thought I assist any members of the committee who are readers by sharing a small sample of the questions I've been preparing to ask CD 12 candidate Scott Sipprelle should he have a sudden change of heart and accept my invitation to an on camera interview.
Question 1: When did you register as a Republican voter in the State of New Jersey? Be prepared with the obvious follow ups.
Question 2: Why do you want to be a congressman. Not the stump speech answer, please, rather what's in it for you?
Question 3: You've stated that if elected you would only serve 3 terms, 6 years. What have you thought about doing after 2016? Something else in politics or government? Philanthropy? Academia? Return to the private sector?
Question 1: Scott, you have proposed a "flat tax" that exempts millions of Americans from paying federal income taxes, and taxes the rest of the earners at a flat rate. 20% had been mentioned. Your plan would allow taxpayers to choose between the current tax system and your flat tax system.
1a:. Isn't your plan really a tax cap, given that tax payers will have a choice between the current system and the flat tax system?
1b: The current IRS code is amended frequently. Would your plan end future tinkering of the "current tax law?"
1c: How would your plan impact the federal deficit in a declining ecomony, a stagnant economy and a growing economy?
Question 2: You have proposed a "Super Regulator" for the financial system? How does your proposal differ from that of Congressman Barney Frank? Did you reference Frank's legislation when drafting your own proposal?
Question 3: You have proposed "merit pay" for house members and senators. How will that work? What will the criteria for bonuses be? Who will decide who gets bonuses? Under your proposed system, would it be possible that members of congress will earn multiple millions of dollars in any given year? Would there be a cap? How do you think your proposed compensation system would be received by members of congress? How would it impact their willingness to create term limits? Are you trying to transform congressional pay into Wall Street style compensation? If you are successful in passing such legislation, would you keep your pledge to serve only 3 terms?
Question 4: How will your self-imposed 6 year term limit impact your ability to be influential and effective in congress, given the current seniority system?
Donations to Democrats?
You stated that you donated to Chuck Schumer because your Senior Partner at Morgan Stanley put pressure on you to do so, and that you left Morgan Stanley as a result.
Yet, you donated to Schumer four years after you left Morgan Stanley. Please explain this discrepancy. (Be prepared with obvious follow ups.)
Wall Street Career
Question 1: You have described yourself as a "senior level" Wall Street executive. Is that an accurate assessment of the status you achieved on Wall Street? Would other Wall Street executives agree?
Question 2: Why did you leave Morgan Stanley in 1998?
Question 3: You have described yourself as a "bona fide Wall Street reformer." Please describe reforms that you have implemented that have transformed Wall Street?
Question 4: Were you an essential player in the change of leadership at Morgan Stanley in 2005? Please elaborate.
Question 5: Why did you close the Copper Arch hedge fund in 2007? How did Copper Arch perform vis a vis most hedge funds in 2007?
Question 6: Within a few months of closing Copper Arch you were appointed to the board of a Morgan Stanley subsidiary.
6a: What does that company do?
6b: How did you come to be appointed to the board?
6c: When that company went public, who received the proceeds of the initial public offering? How much money was that?
6d: What is that company's stock trading at today? What did it trade at when it first went public?
6e: Did the company benefit, directly or indirectly, from TARP or any other taxpayer bail out?
As of the most recent public filing by the company, you were still a member of the board and the beneficial owner of over 100,000 shares. 6f: Did you buy those shares? Were they awarded as compensation? What are they worth today? What other compensation do you receive from sitting on that board?
I have more questions but these are probably too many for the Middlesex screeners to cover in such a short meeting.
Scott Sipprelle has a legitimate shot at gaining the GOP nomination in CD 12. I truly hope that he answers these questions, and others, himself rather than leave me to my research and conclusions or worse, leave them to Rush Holt's opposition researchers and subsequent spin during the general election.