7/19/08

Feds probe ousted CWA official

Related Jon Corzine stories: here

Katz Out of the Bag

An unwelcome new issue will be facing New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine when he runs for re-election next year: his former romantic ties to a union boss. This week, federal prosecutors subpoenaed the records of Carla Katz, ousted boss of New Jersey's largest state-worker union, with whom Mr. Corzine had an affair before running for governor in 2005. Not only did Mr. Corzine eventually pay off her mortgage and confer some $6 million on her as part of a "settlement," but Ms. Katz had apparently considered at one point holding a news conference to embarrass Mr. Corzine.

Ms. Katz was later investigated by a state ethics panel for potentially inappropriate attempts to lobby her former companion about an important labor contract. Last week, she was ousted from her position as head of the Communications Workers of America local that represents thousands of state employees. The national union had concluded that Ms. Katz used union funds to promote her unsuccessful bid for a national union office. The federal probe is said to be linked to those charges. Ms. Katz says the allegations are "baseless."

Ms. Katz's union-related troubles will eventually be sorted out, but in the meantime there's renewed interest in numerous emails she exchanged with Governor Corzine or his staffers. The governor has gone to court to keep the emails private, raising suspicions that they might contain evidence that he was asked to influence contract negotiations with Ms. Katz's union. Even if the emails are released and contain nothing incriminating, it's clear Governor Corzine has been damaged politically by L'Affaire Katz. Politics is said to make strange bedfellows. Here, the phrase is used literally.

- John Fund

(online.wsj.com)

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