TRENTON – Senate measures intended to crack down on corrupt politicians and introduce increased transparency in State government are scheduled for consideration by the Assembly on Monday and, if approved, would be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
A package of bills sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, would prohibit political contributions from all State and local public agencies (S-222, sponsored with Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex); establish the crime of corruption of public resources which are diverted from their original purpose (S-1192, sponsored with Senator John Adler, D-Cherry Hill); and establish the “Public Corruption Profiteering Penalty Act,” which would allow prosecutors to assess civil damages against corrupt politicians (S-1318, sponsored with Senator Fred Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden).
“The number one issue that concerns the people in my district and throughout the State is public corruption,” said Senator Karcher. “The lack of faith in elected government is palpable, and without major ethics reform and increased public scrutiny, every good law we pass will be tainted by allegations of corruption. I’ve seen firsthand the sort of devastation that corruption can have on a municipality when I worked to clean up my hometown of Marlboro. We need to show the people of New Jersey that we mean business by eliminating corrupting influences from State and local government and restoring the integrity of public service back into elected office.”
In addition to Senator Karcher’s bills, a measure sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny, Jr., D-Hudson, would expand the statute of limitations for certain crimes involving public corruption from five years to seven years. And a series of bills sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, would ban Legislators and their staff from receiving gifts from lobbyists (S-2504); require lobbyists to report what appropriations they had asked for in the annual State Budget (S-2505); and prohibit candidates from contributing campaign funds into charitable organizations that employ themselves or members of their family (S-2506).
The Assembly voting session is scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM on Monday.