--BIDEN-BUY-OFF: Corzine Trades Concessions to Union to Secure Biden’s Attendance at Campaign Rally--
Trenton, NJ – Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson sent the following letter to Attorney General Anne Milgram today asking her to investigate whether Governor Jon Corzine committed official misconduct when he struck an 11th hour deal with the CWA in order to ensure that Vice President Joseph Biden attended his election night campaign rally:
Dear Attorney General Milgram:
Several newspapers have reported, and Governor Jon Corzine has confirmed, that he has reached an agreement with the largest public employee union, the CWA, concerning the terms of proposed furlough days and wage freezes for the coming year. According to those published reports, the Governor has, among other concessions, agreed to fewer furlough days than he originally said were needed and will now be providing additional vacation or personal days to public employees.
This deal was reached after the CWA threatened to picket Governor Corzine’s primary election night celebration. It has been further reported that Vice President Joseph Biden, who appeared with Corzine at his political rally, informed the Governor that he would not attend if it meant crossing a CWA picket line.
Clearly, Governor Corzine’s desire to avoid the embarrassment of having the Vice President cancel his appearance motivated Corzine to reach an agreement with the CWA. The fact that the governor agreed to less than he originally said was needed to meet the growing budget crises means that Jon Corzine placed his political needs ahead of his public responsibilities.
Jon Corzine made a deal with the CWA to ensure that his political rally would go off without a hitch and Vice President Biden would be in attendance. The laws of New Jersey make clear that a public official cannot use their office for personal or political gain:
N.J.S.A 2C:27-2. Bribery in official and political matters.
A person is guilty of bribery if he directly or indirectly offers, confers or agrees to confer upon another, or solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from another:
a. Any benefit as consideration for a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or exercise of discretion of a public servant, party official or voter on any public issue or in any public election; or
b. Any benefit as consideration for a decision, vote, recommendation or exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding; or
c. Any benefit as consideration for a violation of an official duty of a public servant or party official; or
d. Any benefit as consideration for the performance of official duties.
For the purposes of this section “benefit as consideration” shall be deemed to mean any benefit not authorized by law.
N.J.S.A 2C:27-10. Acceptance or receipt of unlawful benefit by public servant for official behavior
a. A public servant commits a crime if, under color of office and in connection with any official act performed or to be performed by the public servant, the public servant directly or indirectly, knowingly solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit, whether the benefit inures to the public servant or another person, to influence the performance of an official duty or to commit a violation of an official duty.
b. A public servant commits a crime if, under color of office and in connection with any official act performed or to be performed by the public servant, the public servant directly or indirectly, knowingly receives any benefit, whether the benefit inures to the public servant or another person, to influence the performance of an official duty or to commit a violation of an official duty.
c. In addition to the definition set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:27-1, “benefit” as used in this act includes any benefit from or by reason of a contract or agreement for goods, property or services if the contract or agreement is awarded, made or paid by the branch, subdivision, or agency of the government that employs the public servant.
e. An offense proscribed by this section is a crime of the second degree. If the benefit solicited, accepted, agreed to be accepted or received is of a value of $200.00 or less, any offense proscribed by this section is a crime of the third degree.
N.J.S.A 2C:30-2. Official misconduct
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit:
a. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner; or
b. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree. If the benefit obtained or sought to be obtained, or of which another is deprived or sought to be deprived, is of a value of $200.00 or less, the offense of official misconduct is a crime of the third degree.
With this letter I ask that you immediately begin an investigation into whether Governor Corzine acted in his official capacity for the purpose of benefitting himself. The foregoing statutes clearly prohibit such conduct.