Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Division in a matter involving the conviction of a State Senator. The senator was convicted of corruption and fraud crimes. His designated campaign committee then sought an advisory opinion as to allowing it to pay the costs of defending the criminal case.
The criminal case involved allegations that the School of Osteopathic Medicine of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey put him on payroll with a "do-little job" and allowed him to fraudulently increase his state pension benefits in exchange for using influence to get funding for the school. He also was charged with similar arrangements with a county board of social services and Rutgers-Camden Law School.
The court held that the legal costs of defending against charges of official corruption are not an "ordinary and necessary" expense of holding public office. Thus, the decision of the Election Law Enforcement Commission to prohibit campaign funds to be used for such a purpose was not plainly unreasonable. (Mike Frisch)