Marcellus Jackson was awarded a $70,000 a year cushy job as a 'special assistant' with the Department of Education by Gov. Phil Murphy, probably because he was one of Murphy's earliest campaign supporters and a major figure among black voters. The problem? He was an ex-con and should not have been eligible for the job.

You see Jackson was a corrupt Passaic City Councilman who took bribes from undercover FBI agents and served several years in prison for his misdeeds. Governor Sanctuary, never one to let things like laws get in his way, decided somehow he deserved this job anyway. He was defiant, in fact. On Jackson's conviction Murphy said, "Somebody made a mistake, they admitted it, they repented, they paid their price."

All that's fine, Phil. The problem is your Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, says that conviction should have legally disqualified him from serving again in any role of public trust. He says either the Attorney General at the time or the county prosecutor was supposed to file an application for a forfeiture of public employment and failed to do so. Now he's having the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability look into who may have been given public jobs from which they should have been disqualified.

So we have one of two things going on here. The governor is either such a rookie having never held elected office before that he is fumbling in the dark unaware of what the laws are. Troubling considering his defiance in defending the hiring of an ex-con and then doubling down saying more ex-cons who violated the public trust should be hired for public positions. Or even worse, he just didn't care what the law is. Your wealth doesn't mean you get to re-write the rules, Phil. And we all know why you hired this crook in the first place. He took over for a black pastor who had been all in for Team Murphy when illness struck. Murphy was rewarding loyalty.

This is not the first person hired by Murphy who has had a questionable past. A former Citigroup exec once accused of defrauding thousands of investors was hired by the state DOT. He now oversees several divisions. Unlike Jackson he was never convicted.

For a governor who talks a good game Murphy may be as shady as anyone. Let's pray he's just ignorant instead. That's the best we can hope for.

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