Glad It Ain’t So, Joe

For full disclosure purposes, Joe Doria gave me my first job in government communications – as a press staffer for the N.J. Assembly Democrats when he was Assembly Speaker.

That caveat aside, it was gratifying to learn that the FBI’s July 23, 2009, raid of Doria’s home failed to turn up evidence to charge the longtime state official with any crime. And while it was a nice and unusual gesture for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to issue a letter indicating that it would not file any charges, the letter hardly rectifies an extremely unfair series of actions.

A full year and half before the U.S. Attorney’s Office issued its letter, the Star-Ledger’s Bob Braun reported that federal authorities had proceeded with the raid even though they already had learned that Doria had not accepted a bribe as had been alleged. According to Braun, a key witness had told federal authorities: “Joe Doria never saw a dime and never asked for a dime.”

Nevertheless, the FBI raided Doria’s Bayonne home and took several boxes, he immediately resigned as N.J. Community Affairs Commissioner (at the request of then-Gov. Jon Corzine), and he has lived under a cloud of sorts for over two years.

The letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office may have removed that cloud, but as another well-known New Jerseyan, former U.S. Labor Secretary Ray Donovan, said after he was exonerated of corruption charges: “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

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