TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator John H. Adler which would criminalize misusing public resources was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today by a vote of 9-0.
“For too long, the abuse of power in New Jersey has been a factor in skyrocketing property taxes,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. “Waste and fraud increase the cost of government to taxpayers who are looking for a break from soaring tax rates. We need to put strong penalties in place, to protect public dollars and the public trust in their elected representatives.”
Senator Adler’s bill, S-1992, 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 (click here for table of penalties). 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 where public funds are entrusted to a private individual, such as a non-profit group,” said Senator Adler. “In those cases, the penalties available for corruption are minimal at best, and non-existent at worst. We need to send a message, that if public resources are misused and abused, that we will impose penalties that meet the crime. We’ll do what it takes to fight the recent surge of corruption, wherever it may appear.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.