Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney today introduced legislation that will make those called to testify before the Legislature more accountable for their actions. The bill not only would improve the Legislature’s ability to prosecute those who knowingly give false or misleading testimony, but also give courts the authority to enforce subpoenas issued by the Legislature.
“It is personally frustrating to me that I even have to introduce a bill like this at all,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “But when we have a legislative committee conclude that witnesses who testified under oath provided contradictory, self-serving or evasive testimony, we need to act.
“The Legislature convenes investigatory committees with subpoena power only in the most urgent cases, and those who lie to the Legislature under oath are also lying to the public that the Legislature represents. Unfortunately, too often we have testimony that strains credulity and is given with too little concern for prosecutorial consequences. This legislation will change that,” he said.
The Senate President noted that legislative leaders from both houses expressed concern that they did not receive truthful answers from witnesses testifying before special committees that investigated the Bridgegate lane closures and the handling of sexual assault allegations by Katie Brennan, chief of staff for the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
“Those who testify before the Legislature under oath must be held accountable if they willingly and knowingly lie to the Legislature and the public,” Senator Sweeney said. “That is an important check and balance not just on this administration, but for future administrations.”