TRENTON – Senator Fred Madden, D-Gloucester & Camden, today released the following statement concerning bipartisan legislation he introduced to require lawmakers to disclose income from public sources.
“The purpose of this bill is to require legislators to disclose all their sources of public money.
“The message we want to send out is that if legislators are receiving public money from any number of sources, then taxpayers deserve to know that.
“This legislation will eliminate loopholes that have prevented full transparency and have sustained a lack of accountability.
“It doesn’t target anyone, but it does set the bar higher – as it should be set – for all legislators to fully reveal their sources of income from public entities of this state.
“Right now there is an imbalance in accountability that this legislation will rectify.
“It doesn’t make sense that a casino operator is required to have a more detailed disclosure requirement than members of the Legislature. Senators and Assembly members should be held to the highest standards for disclosure because we are the ones who make the laws of New Jersey.
“This bill would require legislators to reveal their receipt of public funds paid to companies owned or controlled by them and their families.
“Take my own situation, for example. I disclose that I get a paycheck as a police director for a county community college. But if I was operating in the same capacity through my private security company, the public money from the community college would go to the company and I would not be required to disclose it. This bill will close that loophole.
“This proposal will also require disclosure of public funds by children of legislators and other family members.
“In my professional experience with the State Police (former Acting Superintendent of State Police), I found that our best reforms were realized when we incorporated outside oversight coupled with a more transparent disclosure of the Division’s internal investigations procedures, hiring practices and promotional processes.
“That’s the concept we are advocating today to ensure an enhanced level of integrity in the Legislature.
“It just makes sense to disclose the receipt of public funds without having any loopholes in place to subvert the system.