So if Bob Ingle was hoping to write a sequel to “The Soprano State,” well, he’d best not look to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for help.
In what can best be described as a surprising interview, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman let it be known that public corruption isn’t his top concern.
Instead, he said his top priorities were "public safety, or terrorism" prosecutions.
And he told the Ledger this:
The chief federal prosecutor in New Jersey doesn’t endorse the idea he works in the "most corrupt" state in the union — and says such talk can be "demoralizing" to the people who live here.
"I don’t know how you can make that kind of comparison,’’ said Paul Fishman who, last October, was named to replace Christopher Christie as the United States Attorney. "I don’t happen to believe that to be true."
That’s nice, Mr. Fishman. But this isn’t Iowa or Kansas -- we live in New Jersey. And we know exactly what we’ve got here.
After all, there is a reason why “The Sopranos” was set in Jersey. And why “The Soprano State” was a best seller. And why “The Jersey Sting” likely will be too.
Like there is a reason why undercover FBI agents were able to walk through a League of Municipalities convention and catch so many fish.
Just like salmon swim upstream, in New Jersey, some politicians go up the river.
It is the natural order of things.
Fishman was apparently reacting to quotes made last July after 44 people were arrested in a corruption investigation. (The same one that led to the new book, “The Jersey Sting.”)
As the Ledger reminds us, "at that time, Ed Kahrer, the FBI agent in charge of the office’s public corruption unit, told a press conference, 'New Jersey’s corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation.’
Ralph Marra, then the acting U.S. Attorney, at the same press conference, said honest people didn’t have a chance ‘in this culture of corruption.’"
But fear not, New Jersey. It isn’t as bad as we thought.
Read the rest of the column here.