Showing that it refuses to not waste a single second of its time, the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards has decided by a vote of 5-0 (with 1 abstention) that they would prepare to charge Assemblyman Scott Rumana for the appearance of impropriety. If Rumana is found to have violated the ethics rules, he will face a fine of up to $10,000, and also face the Democrats this fall with some red meat hanging from his neck. By the way, the complaint itself was brought by the democrat running against Rumana this year (I won’t name him because his insignificance cannot be understated, and he simply doesn’t deserve any publicity).
When you actually look at what actually happened, this whole “scandal” seems a whole lot less sexy. To paraphrase the situation, Rumana is the chairman of a non-profit organization called Wayne Energy Corporation. This is a position that does not pay him a cent in compensation, and of which the sole purpose is to generate renewable energy solutions for public buildings in Wayne, NJ. Anyway, Rumana requested to sit in on a meeting between the non-profit and the Board of Public Utilities, which would make sense, since, you know, Rumana was the chairman of the organization! After showing up at the meeting, an objection to Rumana’s presence was raised by a deputy attorney general who was there. How did Assemblyman Rumana react to said objection? Well Save Jerseyans, to put it quite simply: he left.
That’s right. He did not refuse to leave, he did not cause any sort of scene, he did not raise and sort of complaints, Rumana just left. Even assuming that his presence was an issue in the first place (which I find to be terribly questionable), the moment a problem was suggested, Rumana did the smart, and ethical, thing by leaving.
Instead of letting this go, the Ethics Committee, desperate for something to do I suppose, has decided to spend not one, but multiple meetings discussing this issue. In a state like ours where corruption runs rampant, one would think that something a bit more juicy would come a long. But alas, Scott Rumana has become a victim of the committee’s boredom.
There is one member of the Committee, a fairly famous name this year I might add, who is sticking up for the Assemblyman and finds this whole situation as equally puzzling as I do: Committee Chairman Alan “11th Member” Rosenthal.
Rosenthal told NJ.com,
I don’t think he did anything wrong at all. The behavioral accusations or complaints were disposed of at our last meeting. We were only discussing how it might appear to people. To me this is a long, long way from crossing any lines.
That’s right, discussing “how it might appear,” rather than whether the actual behavior was ethical.
In his only vote this year that Republicans will actually appreciate, Rosenthal voted to dismiss the complaint against Rumana, a vote that ultimately failed. Time will tell whether the Committee intends to waste additional time on this issue, and whether Assemblyman Rumana will have to pay for what may “appear” be unethical, but admittedly never was.