Menendez: BOB WIPES MUD OUT OF HIS EYES Rips Kean's 'campaign of smear'

Rips Kean's 'campaign of smear'
October 03, 2006 Jersey Journal

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez slammed the campaign of his Republican challenger, Tom Kean Jr., yesterday for enlisting disgraced former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski in what he called a "campaign of smear."

"I think it speaks volumes of Tom Kean Jr.'s campaign," said Menendez, referring to published reports that a researcher for the Kean campaign struck up a pen-pal relationship with Janiszewski, who's serving time in Kentucky prison for extortion, in the hopes of dredging up dirt about Menendez.

"This (Kean's) campaign . consorts with those who are in jail in order to pursue the politics of smear," Menendez added.

Touting his credentials as a corruption buster, Menendez, in Jersey City to accept the endorsements of two statewide firefighter unions, remarked, "There is only one candidate in this campaign who stood up to a corrupt political machine, testified against it, wore a bullet-proof vest and was ultimately responsible for sending that regime to jail," a reference to the regime of the late Union City mayor, William V. Musto.

The Kean camp offered a quick response.

"The selective outrage from Bob Menendez is amazing," said Kean spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker.

"Bob Janiszewski is exactly where he belongs, in federal prison, but the sad reality of this situation is that if you want to learn how a political criminal like Bob Menendez operates, then you have to talk to other political criminals. We want more of this information, not less."

The Star-Ledger reported on Saturday that Kean campaign researcher Chris Lyon began corresponding with Janiszewski in June. The pen-pal relationship supposedly led to Janiszewski providing the Kean campaign with a list of persons who bore a grudge against Menendez.

One name on that list, Oscar Sandoval, a Union City psychiatrist and former FBI informant, produced a tape last week that captured Menendez's partner in politics, attorney David Scarinci, urging Sandoval to hire a certain doctor "as a favor to the congressman." Menendez has said he never authorized Scarinci to use his name.

Lyon, who the Kean campaign says works for its Washington, D.C.-based consultant Alfano Leonardo Communications, has a colorful history as well, according to news reports.

In September 2000, New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin concluded that Lyon and an associate had been responsible for anonymous mailers that accused Republican gubernatorial candidate Gordon Humphrey's wife of being an active member of a cult that "advocates adults and children have orgasms as a means to reaching inner peace."

According to The Portmouth Herald, Lyon acknowledged his role in sending post cards and orchestrating phone calls, but he was never charged with a crime.

Lyon couldn't be reached to comment yesterday.

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