New Jersey Mayor Indicted for Corruption…’Democrat or Not?’

-By Warner Todd Huston

Former Newark, New Jersey Mayor Sharpe James has been brought up on charges of corruption and the AP, The New York Times and several other outlets have all been reporting that jury selection for the event is underway this week. These news outlets dutifully reported the charges against James, reported his long political career, some have even reported how popular he was in office. Yet, not one of them remembered to mention he was a Democrat. So, today’s episode of “Democrat or Not?” leaves us right back where we usually are… with a story of corruption of a public official where his Democratic party affiliation is somehow not “relevant” to the story.

In two versions of the story the Associated press seems not to notice that Sharpe James is a Democrat (here and here).

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James is scheduled to appear in federal court today for the first of two federal corruption trials.

After being indicted in July, both James and his co-defendant, Tamika Riley, pleaded not guilty to all charges and are free on bail.

And what are the charges?

The first trial focuses on whether James, 72, arranged for the sale of nine city-owned properties at discounted rates to Riley, a woman nearly half his age with whom he traveled. Prosecutors said they will present evidence to show the two had an intimate personal relationship.

Prosecutors said James improperly steered properties to Riley, 38, and that she, with James’ help, quickly resold them at much higher prices. Riley was able to buy the properties although she lacked real estate, construction and financial experience to rehabilitate them, according to the indictment.

And where is his party affiliation mentioned….

You guessed it. Nowhere to be seen.

It isn’t just the AP conveniently forgetting that James is a Democrat of long standing, to be sure. The New York Times omits a party mention and so did the Star-Ledger. And UPI couldn’t seem to find any reason to mention that James was a Democrat, either.

And there you have it: another in our long, long list of corrupt government officials (or those charged as such) without that Democratic party label affixed to their name. Isn’t it a blessing that the Democrats are so chameleon-like as their party fades into invisibility once charges of their criminal activity fills the air?


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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