ASSEMBLY, No. 3112

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 18, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman  GARY R. CHIUSANO

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

Assemblyman  DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman McHose and Assemblyman Space

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires any candidate convicted of crimes or offenses to return campaign contributions to donors; freezes most campaign funds of candidates indicted for crimes or offenses.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning candidates for elective public office indicted or convicted of certain crimes or offenses, and supplementing P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a. Whenever a candidate for an elective public office is indicted for a crime of the first second, third, or fourth degree, or an offense in another jurisdiction which, if committed in this State, would constitute such a crime, the Attorney General shall apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to issue an attachment order directing the financial institution or institutions to freeze the accounts that the candidate or the candidate’s committee uses to deposit the contributions it has received or to conduct the other financial business of the campaigns.  Notwithstanding such action, the candidate shall have access to such campaign accounts to pay campaign expenses incurred prior to the indictment.  Each payment made by the candidate pursuant to this subsection shall be reported to the Election Law Enforcement Commission pursuant to P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.) and to the Attorney General.

     While under indictment, the candidate shall be prohibited from establishing or becoming affiliated with another candidate committee or joint candidates committee.

     b.    If a candidate for elective public office pleads guilty to or is convicted in this State of the crime or offense for which the candidate has been indicted, or a lesser included crime or offense, the campaign committee of the candidate shall be responsible for paying all of the outstanding obligations of the candidate and for returning the campaign contributions received thereby.  Upon notice of the conviction, the Attorney General shall seek the suspension of the attachment order freezing the campaign accounts of the candidate so that such payments can be made.  The committee shall return to each contributor the full amount contributed to the candidate if such funds are available.  If there are insufficient funds to return such an amount, the contributors shall be paid on a pro-rata basis.  Once all such funds have been returned to contributors, the committee of the candidate shall provide to the Attorney General and the commission the names and mailing addresses of each reimbursed contributor, and the amount of each reimbursement.  No repayment shall be made to the candidate, or the immediate family thereof, for any personal funds contributed or loaned to the candidate’s campaign committee.

     After conviction, such a candidate shall be prohibited from establishing or becoming affiliated with another candidate committee or joint candidates committee until the candidate has completed the sentence imposed for the conviction, completed any period of probation or parole, paid all monetary fines and penalties imposed, and is again eligible to seek elective public office.

    c.  No candidate who is under indictment or has plead guilty or been convicted of a crime or an offense as provided by this section, and no candidate committee or joint candidates committee of the candidate, shall use any of the funds to which the candidate or committee has access pursuant to this section to pay any expense arising from the candidate’s defense of himself or herself for violating any provision of current law or for violating any other criminal statute in another jurisdiction, or of the federal government.

     d. If the candidate for elective public office who has been indicted is exonerated of all charges, the Attorney General shall be so notified and shall be responsible for seeking to suspend as soon as possible the attachment order that froze the campaign accounts of the candidate.

     e.    The penalties imposed on a candidate for elective public office by this section shall be in addition to any other penalties imposed on an elected public official in the event that the official has plead guilty to or been convicted of an offense or a crime and is also a candidate for elective public office.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     The purpose of this bill is to require any candidate for elective public office who is convicted of a crime of the first, second, third, or fourth degree, or an offense in another jurisdiction which, if committed in this State, would constitute such a crime, to repay all obligations incurred prior to the conviction and to return all campaign contributions received by the candidate.  The committee would return to each contributor the full amount contributed to the candidate if such funds are available.  If there are insufficient funds to return such an amount, the contributors would be paid on a pro-rata basis. 

     In addition, the bill requires the freezing of the campaign accounts of any candidate indicted for a crime, or an offense in another jurisdiction which, if committed in this State, would constitute such a crime.  Notwithstanding such action, the candidate would have access to such campaign accounts to pay campaign expenses incurred prior to the indictment.