Are NJ Politicians Just Looking to Line Their Own Pockets? [AUDIO]
If you're one of those cynics who feels politicians are just in it for the money, we have some evidence today that you might be 100 percent correct.
First introduced almost three years ago, there's a bill gathering dust, if not mold in Trenton that would force state lawmakers to certify in writing that they will not gain financially from legislation they sponsor.
"Under the bill, when legislators introduce a bill they must certify that they will not receive any monetary gain from it, directly or indirectly," explains Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, one of the measure's co-sponsors. "Besides just signing off on a bill, he (the legislator) would also have to certify that he has no direct interest in the outcome of the legislation."
The bill has had bi-partisan sponsorship since it was first formally introduced on September 30, 2010.
The Assembly Democratic sponsors are still Gusciora, Tom Giblin and Connie Wagner. On the Assembly Republican side the sponsor is Amy Handlin. When the measure was first introduced, GOP Assemblyman Pete Biondi was a sponsor but he has since passed away.
On January 10, 2012, Gusciora, Giblin, Wagner and Handlin re-introduced the bill. The measure has never even been considered by a committee and there's never been a companion bill in the State Senate. Gusciora is stunned the legislation didn't sail through three years ago. He assumes his colleagues don't think it is necessary.
"Legislators are already bound by their own ethical rules that they can't have a monetary gain from their legislation," explains Gusciora. "I think that a lot of legislators think that they are already complying with the ethics obligations, but it think this (bill) would directly answer the cynics out there that feel that legislators are just in it for the money."
Those same cynics might now be asking; if lawmakers are already barred by ethics rules from cashing in through their bills, why not put that in writing?