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Doug Forrester

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Doug Deceives on His Business Record

By: Matt Stoller October 19 at 2:54 PM EST

Last night during the debate:

And you know what, we've been doing it for 15 years, and over 95 percent of our clients always come back to us in a very, very competitive industry.

Today in the Star Ledger:

Sherry Sylvester, Forrester's campaign spokeswoman, said the reason Forrester's earnings were down was that his business took a tumble in 2004. "It's just the cycles of the business. It cycled down," she said.

Sylvester would not elaborate, declining to say whether the company lost clients or made less money off its clients.

Pallone and Holt - Corzine Had a Great Point on Benecard

By: Matt Stoller October 18 at 7:52 PM EST

Link is here:

I am sitting here with Rep. Frank Pallone, and he has a few words to say --

Good for Corzine.  He attacked Forrester on Benecard in Burlington County.  It makes Forrester look like a hypocrite.  The point is that he is making money at the public expense.   -- Rep. Pallone.

Congressman Rush Holt commented:

When asked to cite a mistake, Doug Forrester refers to his time as mayor for two years in the 1980s (the only office he's ever held) not to talk about the tax increases he levied, or the suburban sprawl that his successors have spent twenty years trying to get under control.  Instead, he tried to make it an issue of family values.

Debate Thread with Rush Holt and Frank Pallone

By: Matt Stoller October 18 at 4:23 PM EST

I'll be live-blogging the debate tomorrow at 7pm on this thread, and updating it as I go.  Much cooler than that is Congressman Rush Holt, who will be commenting here during the debate. He's in the thread below, and BlueJersey is also live-blogging.

7:01pm: The moderator is introducing the candidates - there are four of them. The crowd outside is loud and boisterous.

Let's Review

By: Matt Stoller October 18 at 10:59 AM EST

Forrester engaged in direct pay-to-play in Burlington County for more than $3 million in contracts for his company.

Forrester paid Republican County leaders to perform work for his company Benecard.

Forrester said 80 percent of his business is through no-bid public sector contracts.  He will not release details of the contracts.

Forrester is politicizing the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.

Forrester claimed the fraud lawsuits against his company were dropped, even though they weren't.

Forrester used people indicted for embezzlement in his ads railing against corruption.

Forrester had a business relationship with both Charles Kushner and George Norcross, party bosses he lambasts on a regular basis.

Forrester first denied, then admitted his insurance company is located in New Jersey.

Forrester changed his property tax web calculator four times before removing it from his web site completely because the details of his plans kept changing.

Forrester selectively edited news articles on his site to make himself look more favorable.

Forrester took money from an event headlined by Karl Rove, even as Rove is being investigated for damaging national security for partisan purposes.

Forrester released his 30in3 property tax plan, and then, under fire from the media, changed the details substantially without acknowledging it.

Doug Busted for Pay-to-Play Profiteering

By: Matt Stoller October 17 at 7:11 PM EST

What more do you need as proof that Forrester is a corrupt dishonest politician?  Direct evidence of pay-to-play?  Well, here you go.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester, who has made ridding the state of corruption a hallmark of his campaign, is defending himself in the wake of a published report linking his business to the powerful GOP officials who helped him win the nomination.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that Forrester's prescription benefits company received more than $3 million in contracts from a Burlington County agency with ties to Republican Party politicians.

The newspaper said the government contracts that BeneCard Services Inc. received were brokered by the son of powerful South Jersey Republican Sen. William Gormley, who played a key role in Forrester's nomination. The son, Sean Gormley, received a 5 percent commission on the transaction, the Inquirer reported.

Sean Gormley did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

His father told the newspaper that he was not aware of his son's involvement in the contracts.

Forrester's campaign issued a statement Monday blaming Democratic rival Sen. Jon Corzine for the "latest baseless attacks," and said, "The fact is that BeneCard was the only firm to meet the specifications and provide the lowest price to the Burlington County Special Services School District."

Corzine issued a statement Monday that read, in part, "If ever the hypocrisy of my opponent needed greater clarity, it was provided in full measure by today's revelations ... that Mr. Forrester was practicing pay-to-play and has taken no-bid contracts.

"He runs on a campaign platform of ending pay-to-play and eliminating no-bid contracts at the exact same time that he getting wealthy doing both," Corzine said.

The district chose Forrester's BeneCard Services Inc. to manage its prescription drug program in 2004 and 2005, even though other companies offered lower costs. Forrester has contributed close to $60,000 to Burlington County Republicans since 2003.

This is really stunning.  Doug Forrester is running on a platform of ethical reform.  But he is the consummate insider who was in government for fourteen years before starting a business to capitalize on his government contacts.  Pay-to-play, corruption, lying - Forrester's done it all.

Doug's Tax Returns

By: Matt Stoller October 17 at 4:47 PM EST

Back in April, Doug Forrester said he'd release his 2004 tax returns by October 15.  

He didn't.

(As a reminder, Forrester raised taxes by 200% when he ran the town of West Windsor.)

The Two Faces of Forrester

By: Matt Stoller October 17 at 3:07 PM EST

In 2002, Doug said:

"But the reason that I am not part of the problem but part of the solution is because I know the industry and have been able to run a successful business and create jobs in New Jersey precisely because I have been able to lower costs for employers."

Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer reveals:

"The school district selected BeneCard even though other companies offered lower costs for each year, and it renewed the contract this summer despite a 37 percent price increase by BeneCard."

The New York Times Endorses Jon Corzine

By: Matt Stoller October 16 at 11:48 AM EST

The New York Times endorsed Jon Corzine for Governor today.  

It is heartening that Senator Jon Corzine has chosen to run for this daunting job. A Democrat who entered politics after a career on Wall Street, Mr. Corzine has shown himself to be a force for America's better instincts in Washington over the last five years. He had the foresight to oppose the war in Iraq. He has worked to fend off Republican attacks on Social Security and voted against President Bush's reckless tax cuts. The former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Corzine has also provided the Senate with valuable expertise on the needs of consumers and employees in a post-Enron world.

Douglas Forrester, Mr. Corzine's opponent, has a scant public record. A former state pension director and briefly the mayor of a small suburban town, Mr. Forrester is a very successful businessman whose main company manages employee health benefit plans. He advertises himself as a moderate Republican in the manner of former Govs. Thomas Kean and Christie Whitman, but those credentials are thin on many telling issues. As one example, the cleanup of polluted sites could easily cost the polluter less and the taxpayer more under Mr. Forrester. And his reasons for opposing the state's embryonic stem cell research seem intentionally ambiguous. Mr. Forrester will only offer the argument that adult cells are more promising than embyronic cells. This is an argument made by anti-abortion activists, but supported by few scientists.

Read the rest.

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