Senator Says Corrupt Officials Should be Punished to Full Extent of Law
TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, a leading ethics and watchdog and government reform advocate in the State Senate, issued the following statement today regarding an SCI report, and the ongoing criminal investigation, into allegations of bribery within the State Treasury Department by a private vendor responsible for accepting tax payments on behalf of the State:
“If proven guilty in the course of the criminal investigation, the public officials responsible for casting a pall over the otherwise honest, hard work of the State Treasury deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, to send a message to the people we represent that corruption will not be tolerated in any form.
The vendor, OSI, should also be held to a high degree of scrutiny, and if appropriate, should face strong legal sanctions and reimburse the State for the cost of corruption that has inflated their contracts, allegedly by millions of dollars over the last five years.
“The SCI report stands as fairly damning evidence, pointing to a pattern of gifting officials, not only in the New Jersey Treasury Department, but other states agencies, and even the federal government. This evidence not only highlights the corrupt actions of an individual vendor, but the ease with which the entire system can be exploited for the profit of an unscrupulous few.
“Following the disclosure of what went wrong with OSI, I intend to again make the call for comprehensive contractor reform in the State of New Jersey, to ensure that the sort of underhanded abuse of the public trust may never happen again. When corruption such as this rears its ugly head, we must be willing to shut the door to it, and use the momentum and public outcry to push for higher standards of ethics from all levels of government.”