Who is Kevin McNulty? One happy man. The White House and entrenched incumbent Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey gave him a surprise early Christmas gift — and New Jersey politicos are grumbling. According to the New York Post, McNulty was nominated to a federal judgeship for which he hadn’t been previously mentioned. McNulty, it turns out, is New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer’s brother-in-law.
The collective response: “What the…?”
Not sure why there’s so much surprise and befuddlement. There’s never a holiday for cronyism:
Sen. Charles Schumer’s brother-in-law was quietly nominated this month to a federal judgeship in New Jersey — a move that has some in the Garden State crying political foul, The Post has learned.
Kevin McNulty, who is married to Schumer’s sister, Fran, was named to the US District Court by the White House late on Friday, Dec. 16. According to a boilerplate quote, President Obama believes McNulty is a “distinguished individual” who “will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
Obama vouches for his “commitment to justice?” Uh-oh.
Lautenberg and his aides have given no public explanation for the decision to go with McNulty even though the latter had never been publicly touted as a contender for the job, which carries life tenure and a $174,000-a-year salary.
“No one knows why he did it,” said one person involved in the nomination process. “Everyone thinks it’s all about 2014 and Frank making sure he has Chuck in his corner.”
The White House declined to comment, as did McNulty.
…People involved in the judicial-nomination process in New Jersey told The Post they believe the surprise nomination was a naked political maneuver by the 87-year-old Lautenberg to stay in Schumer’s good graces. Lautenberg is worried that party elders will try to push him out of his beloved Senate seat because of his advanced age — something that Schumer, one of the party’s top opinion makers and fund-raisers, would be able to stop.
“McNulty came out of left field,” said another source involved in the Jersey judicial politics. “McNulty’s not a dumb guy, but people were just, like, ‘How’d that happen?’ ”
To be fair, McNulty seems to have a solid résumé. But the timing and manner of the nomination smack of desperate pandering by a Beltway barnacle clinging to power.