Lafayette resident calls out Herald on Gottheimer

Lafayette taxpayer Josh Aikens called out the New Jersey Herald for reporting that Democrat Congressman Josh Gottheimer was in attendance at the annual Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday.  The parade was held in Newton, Gottheimer was the only elected official mentioned by name…but he was, in fact, a no show.  Records from Gottheimer’s own social media indicates that he was in Teaneck at the time of the parade in Newton. 

Aikens, who serves as the President of the Lafayette School Board, took to social media himself to complain about the Herald’s dishonest focus on Democrat Gottheimer, while other elected Republicans were ignored.  In recent years, the Herald has openly promoted Democrat Gottheimer.  This appears to be its editorial policy.

Is gun control just political theatre for Trenton Dems?

Trenton Democrats have an opportunity to show they are more than just b.s. artists when it comes to gun control.  They can follow the lead of many of New Jersey’s new Democrats in Congress and pass a resolution to condemn Washington’s radicalism that wants to make it easier to put guns into the hands of illegals in America.

Led by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-05), most of New Jersey’s freshman Democrats in Congress opposed the Democrat majority in Congress – run by Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who opposed common sense gun safety legislation that required ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – to be notified when an illegal immigrant is trying to purchase a firearm.  Congressman Gottheimer and a number of other Democrats joined with Republicans to support this legislation, which is designed to prevent illegals with violent criminal records in their home countries – and recruits to violent gangs like MS-13 – from obtaining a handgun or semi-automatic rifle.  

Democrats like Tom Malinowski (D-07) stood with Speaker Pelosi in opposing this common sense gun safety legislation.   Malinowski and Pelosi say that Americans should undergo background checks when they seek to purchase a gun to protect their home homes and families, but not illegals.  Malinowski and Pelosi support giving new recruits to groups like MS-13 the means to make their mark on American society.

As the former campaign manager for Malinowski’s campaign in Morris County, Democrat Assembly candidate Darcy Draeger should be asked what she thinks about her Congressman’s bad vote on this common sense gun safety legislation. Draeger should be asked to step up and do something about it – at the very least to issue a statement from the (Lisa) Bhimani – (Darcy) Draeger for Assembly campaign that opposes Malinowski’s position in opposition to this common sense gun safety legislation.

In voting against this common sense gun safety legislation, Malinowski joined with professional gun-criminal coddler Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-12) whose own sons were convicted of gun-crime – the armed hold-up of a toy store in central New Jersey.  It is disgraceful for Malinowski to endanger the lives of his constituents and their families in this way. 

As State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt of Warren County said:  “Tom Malinowski is way out of step with the people of North Jersey” and is “perpetuating a prioritization of coddling illegal immigrants rather than supporting taxpayers and keeping our communities safe.” 

Steinhardt added: “This was obvious and important enough to earn the support of New Jersey Congressional Democrats Van Drew (D-02), Kim (D-03), Gottheimer (D-05), and Sherrill (D-11), and, of course, Republican Chris Smith (R-04).”  Now the question is for Trenton Democrats like Senate President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Craig Coughlin to step up and show that all their “gun control” talk isn’t just political theatre and that they mean it, by adding their voices in support of this common sense gun safety legislation.

Pass a resolution to condemn Tom Malinowski and the other members of Congress who opposed this common sense gun safety measure, thereby putting all New Jerseyeans and their families at risk.

McCann: After victory… radio silence?

The primary over, most winning campaigns are asking supporters and potential supporters for money – to retire their debts from the primary as well as looking forward to the General Election in November.  But not John McCann.

His campaign has been silent.  Despite the fact that the McCann campaign is deeply in debt. 

According to the Federal Election Commission, as of May 16th, the McCann campaign had managed to raise just $61,155 in campaign contributions.  The rest of the campaign’s cash came from the candidate – who was convinced by his consultants to dump even more of his personal resources into the effort in the weeks and days leading up to the primary election.

So where is the effort to reach out to GOP donors who sat out this contentious primary?  And where is the effort to reach out to opponent Steve Lonegan and his donors?  After all, Lonegan was able to raise $429,803 in campaign contributions.  Even Jason Sarnoski – a Freeholder from Warren County who dropped out of the race – raised $75,998 before getting ending his campaign.

But rumors persist that many of McCann’s consultants and/or operatives were paid by sources outside his campaign.  This was a method used by former Essex County GOP boss Jim Treffinger in his abortive 2002 U.S. Senate race.  Treffinger’s race came to an end with his arrest and conviction on charges of political corruption.

That’s not the case with the Lonegan campaign.  Steve Lonegan’s General Consultants – former Ted Cruz political director Mark Campbell and Larry Weitzner (Jamestown Associates) – are clearly listed, as are a host of junior consultants, vendors, and operatives.  We are told that the law was followed in great detail.

One curious McCann connection that popped-up was with DC lobbyist Rosemary Becchi.  Becchi, who now resides in New Jersey, briefly considered challenging incumbent GOP Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ07).

Meanwhile, Democrat incumbent Congressman Josh Gottheimer had raised $4,444,660 by May 16th.  None of it loans from the candidate. 

With Democrat Gottheimer at +$4.4 million and McCann at -$260,000 is it any wonder that everyone who is anyone is downgrading this race, moving it off the board, and into the “safe Democrat” column.  Oh well… maybe next time?

McCann brings in speaker fired by Trump

"Stumbling John" McCann has done it again.  On the same day that President Trump fires his Secretary of State, the McCann campaign announced that it was bringing in a former White House appointee who was also fired by Trump. 

That's right.  On August 25, 2017, McCann's guy's White House tenure ended, one week after Steve Bannon's departure.  McCann's guy stated that he had resigned because White House officials were "undermining" the Make America Great Again platform, but the White House disputed his claim that he resigned and confirmed he was no longer employed there and did not have further access to the White House grounds.  Sounds like Trump canned him.

But it's typical of "Stumbling John" McCann and his campaign to think that bringing in a guy who was fired by Trump will get you support from Trump voters.   Of course, someone like McCann has to work real hard to act like he's a Republican, because he was working for Bergen County's Democrat Sheriff just last year.

McCann pocketed $167,000.00 a year to work for the Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County.  McCann held this patronage appointment because he had helped the Democrat Sheriff turn Bergen County into a one-party county belonging to the Democrat Party.

The Democrat Sheriff that John McCann worked for ran for re-election in 2016 on a ticket headed by Hillary Clinton for President and Josh Gottheimer for Congress.  So now we know where John McCann is coming from.

Menendez spokesman's firm guided Turkish authoritarian

Earlier today, disgraced United States Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) had spokesman Michael Soliman issue a weirdly worded attack (published in InsiderNJ.com) accusing American "millionaires" (plural) of "engaging in sleazy personal attacks" against his boss.  Hey, should a guy who works for a firm that shills for Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey really be attacking Americans -- regardless of their income levels?

That's right.  And why is a United States Senator using, as a spokesman, a political operative in an international firm representing the interests of the Turkish government?  This firm itself is a subsidiary of an even larger international firm that handles the image-making  for Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving credit for, among other accomplishments, getting Putin's face on the cover of Time magazine -- as the "Person of the Year" for 2007.

The firm is called Mercury Public Affairs.  Michael Soliman joined Mercury in 2013 and became a partner two years ago.  Mercury Public Affairs has 11 partners and over 160 employees.  Omnicom purchased Mercury in 2003.

Michael Soliman

PARTNER

Michael Soliman is one of eleven Partners at Mercury, working out of the New Jersey and DC offices. His extensive knowledge and lifetime experience on the region’s politics, government relations, and strategic communications proves to be an invaluable resource to clients throughout the entire Northeast.

Strategic advisor to Congressman-elect Josh Gottheimer’s successful campaign against a 14 year incumbent

Lead strategist for U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s successful 2014 Senate campaign

Served as Senator Robert Menendez’s State Director and New Jersey Chief of Staff since 2007

Managed Senator Menendez’s successful re-election campaign in 2012

District Director for U.S. Congressman Steve Rothman

Advised the campaigns of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, former Governor Jon Corzine, and Congressman Bill Pascrell

Worked on campaigns of various Democratic officials, including Mayor Glenn Cunningham of Jersey City and State Senator Bob Gordon

Frequent guest lecturer at academic institutions including St. Peter’s University and the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics

Appeared on the PolitickerNJ Power List for the past 9 years

Selected as an influencer by Campaigns & Elections Magazine

St. Peter’s University, Political Science (BA)

Bloustein School at Rutgers University (MPP)

http://www.mercuryllc.com/experts/michael-soliman/

Mercury Public Affairs has 18 offices worldwide -- including London; Mexico City; Washington, DC; New York; and Westfield, New Jersey.  The New Jersey office of Mercury includes a satellite office in Trenton.

In January 2015, Michael Soliman registered with the United States Justice Department, pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as a person representing the Embassy of the State of Qatar.  You must have read about Qatar in the news...Amnesty International has accused Qatar of being complicit in human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Yes, slavery.  In fact, the United Nations recently gave Qatar one year "to end migrant worker slavery" or face an international investigation. 

Qatar is just one of freedom's garden spots represented by Mercury.  Remember the controversy in Uganda, when the President of that country decided that homosexuality was a crime that should be punishable by death?  Well, the law he wanted passed was "moderated" in December 2013, substituting life imprisonment for the death penalty.   In 2015, Mercury was brought on to provide public relations, lobbying, and media monitoring services with regards to the Office of the President and the Ugandan government in general on subjects beginning with "human rights" and ending with "good governance."  For which the contract calls for Mercury to be compensated at the rate of $50,000 per month, with $150,000 up front.

Mercury also represents individuals.  Folks like Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who in 2003 led an anti-American demonstration in which he personally burned an American flag.  For its work, Mercury pocketed a $30,000 monthly retainer, plus expenses.

In January 2016, Mercury Public Affairs partner Morris Reid negotiated a contract with Amsterdam & Partners, an international law firm with offices in London and Washington, DC.  The document is marked "confidential and privileged" but is public information under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  In August of last year, Amsterdam & Partners signed a contract with the Turkish Ambassador to the United States to provide legal services related to a "matter of importance" to the embassy.  The government of Turkey pays Amsterdam a retainer of $50,000 a month.

While the contract stipulates that the greatest security and confidentiality be observed, under the terms of the contract between Amsterdam and Turkey, third parties may be hired "as the Firm and the Client agree in writing are necessary to further the Engagement."  And so, in March of 2016, Amsterdam hired Mercury to perform work on behalf of the Turkish government for $20,000 a month -- above and beyond what was being paid to Amsterdam by Turkey.  It is in the contract between Amsterdam & Partners and Mercury Public Affairs that we learn what all this cloak and dagger is in aid of.

The Amsterdam-Mercury contract references an "investigation into Fethullah Gulen and his organization in the United States."  So who is Fethullah Gulen?

Gulen has been in the news since the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.  Gulen is a religious leader from Turkey, and a one-time political ally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Erdogan is the increasingly authoritarian and Islamist President of Turkey.  He has been repeatedly in the news for purging the judiciary, jailing journalists who write unflattering reports, and successfully intimidating the opposition.  Erdogan had a law passed to allow the government to ban websites and he has promised to "rip out the roots" of Twitter.  He has even attempted to censor speech in other nations, recently demanding that Germany prosecute a poet who had written some verse critical of Erdogan.

Erdogan and Gulen had a falling out over allegations of political corruption by Erdogan in 2013.  Gulen's books were banned.  First, he was indicted on charges that a Turkish judge threw out, but then was indicted a few months later for treasonable offenses that carried the death penalty.  Gulen fled Turkey, came to the United States, and was convicted in absentia.  According to Wikipedia, Gulen was one of the first Muslim leaders to condemn the attacks on September 11, 2001, writing a "condemnation article" in the Washington Post, the next day.  He wrote:  "A Muslim cannot be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true Muslim."

The government of Turkish strongman Erdogan has attempted to extradite Gulen back to Turkey to face punishment, but the government of the United States hasn't cooperated.  In the hours after the coup attempt, Erdogan was quick to blame Gulen, while Gulen put forward the theory that Erdogan had staged the coup himself in order to consolidate power.

The Associated Press identified Amsterdam & Partners (the firm Mercury is working for) as "lawyer(s) for the Turkish government" and quoted Robert Amsterdam:  "There are indications of direct involvement (in the coup attempt) by Fethullah Gulen."  Amsterdam added that he and his firm "have attempted repeatedly to warn the U.S. government of the threat posed (by Gulen)."  Amsterdam said that "according to Turkish intelligence sources, there are signs that Gulen is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government."

Why does Mercury want to be a part of extraditing a moderate cleric to satisfy the rage of an Islamist dictator?  The close relationships with powerful figures in American politics that many of Mercury's partners and employees enjoy is a matter for deep concern. Given who their clients are and the relationship they have with them, shouldn't a client like Turkey's Erdogan be out-of-bounds?

Wouldn't it be better if American political operatives stuck with helping to elect the best candidates to serve the American people?  With all this money from foreign powers floating around, at what point does a political advisor to a United States Senator find himself in an existential conflict of interest?