A shabby, tawdry political deal seems to be at the bottom of the nomination of Kevin McNulty, Senator Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) brother in law, to the federal bench.
Kevin McNulty, who is married to Schumer's sister, was nominated for the $174,000-a-year lifetime post in the U.S. District Court on Dec. 16, according to the New York Post.
"McNulty came out of left field," the Post quoted someone involved in New Jersey's judicial politics as saying. "McNulty's not a dumb guy, but people were just, like, 'How'd that happen?' "
The paper's sources suggested the nomination was a nod by Lautenberg to Schumer, in a bid to stave off opposition from Schumer and other Democratic leaders to the 87-year-old Lautenberg running for reelection in 2014.
Lautenberg had been leaning toward other candidates for the judgeship and only made a last-minute decision to get behind McNulty, whose name had not been been previously floated for the position, the Post said.
Lautenberg aides denied there were any politics behind McNulty's appointment, saying he got the nomination on his own merits, and they claimed that Lautenberg was unaware of McNulty's connection to Schumer when they first looked at him in 2009.
A Schumer spokesman told POLITICO that the senator played no part in the nomination and that he is supporting Lautenberg for another term in 2014.
And if you believe that last bit, I've got a bridge over the Chicago river I want to sell you.
Nepotism, cronyism, and the cynical grab for personal advantage has corrupted our politics almost beyond anything that we've seen previously in America. It may not be as bad as it was when congress was quite literally for sale - when legislation couldn't be passed unless you paid off enough congressmen in bribes at the end of the 19th century. But only by a matter of degree.
It seems that even federal judgeships are now tainted by the worst kind of political corruption.