TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator John H. Adler which would criminalize misusing public resources was unanimously approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.
“New Jersey’s residents have long suffered from the effects of public corruption,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Corruption and fraud increase the cost of government and waste precious taxpayer dollars. We need to take a hard-line approach against corruption, and close any loopholes corrupt officials might have to avoid penalty under the law.”
Senator Adler’s bill, S-1192, sponsored with Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, would create the crime of corruption of public resources. The bill would make it a crime to knowingly misuse public grants, loans, assets or property for purposes other than the intended governmental purpose, and would establish a graduated penalty setup, depending on the value of the resource, and the intended purpose. The bill also would impose criminal penalties for misrepresenting facts to a government agent or officer for the purpose of obtaining public resources.
“This bill is intended for cases when tax dollars are assigned to a specific private purpose, and misused for corrupt purposes,” said Senator Adler. “New Jersey awards millions of dollars in public grants to projects which should be used in the best interests of its residents. However, when someone abuses that system for personal gain, we need strict penalties to ensure that it never happens again. This bill seeks to punish and deter the corruption that seems forever to plague New Jersey.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.