TRENTON, NJ - New Jersey Senators Sam Thompson (R-12) and Ron Rice (D-28) held a joint press conference this morning to announce a bipartisan initiative for the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” to open a full inquiry into government abuses of power and cover-ups in The City of Newark, under its former mayor and now U.S. Senator Cory Booker.
“Senator Rice and I are urging this committee to start this investigation on behalf of taxpayers all across New Jersey who give $100 million a year in state tax dollars as well as federal funds to the state’s largest city,” Thompson said. “The City of Newark has a storied history of government issues and state Comptroller reports from December and this month raise deeply troubling concerns for all New Jerseyans who are now represented in the U.S. Senate by the city’s former mayor. Such abuses have no place in any government and beg many questions as to what other abuses of power and tax dollars or cover-ups were done under Newark’s former mayor Booker and council.”
Since 2008, Senator Rice has been pushing for a thorough state investigation into how the City of Newark has wasted and abuses power and millions of tax dollars by creating offshoots of government that are afforded public money for questionable purposes.
“It’s sickening to continue to read about this type of waste and taxpayer abuse in Newark, after I’ve personally been calling for full-out audits and investigations for years into not just the City’s administration, but also ancillary entities that it has created and given millions of public dollars,” Rice said. “The Comptroller’s Office has done a tremendous job shining a light onto some of Newark’s problems, but we can’t rely on the occasional investigation by that office to identify all issues, fix the problem or recoup tax dollars. Mayor Booker was running around the country tweeting and showing up to press conferences to kiss babies, while either ignoring or facilitating the fraud and waste occurring under his administration.”
On February 20, Senator Thompson sent a letter (attached) to Select Committee Chairman Wisniewski and Chairwoman Weinberg, as well as Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto, and others, requesting this inquiry. He has yet to receive a response.
“For the next two years, the Select Committee is empowered with subpoena power to investigate any government abuse of power and cover-up,” Thompson concluded. “Senator Rice and I will work tirelessly until this taxpayer-funded Committee is used to its full potential. The Committee chairs and Senate and Assembly leaders must be pressed until this happens.
“The people deserve answers to questions such as — what other egregious abuses Cory Booker allowed, how they all happened, what he knew and when — in order for us to recoup stolen and wasted tax dollars and protect them with legislative reforms to prevent it from happening again anywhere in New Jersey.”