TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin’s bill establishing that public servants who have yet to be elected or sworn in could still be guilty of bribery was advanced by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Thursday.
“Political candidates can sell the power of their future positions to solicit bribes and they should be held accountable just like elected officials currently in office,” McGuckin (R-Ocean) said. “This bill updates bribery laws so that no one can abuse public office or the promise of public office for personal gain.”
The bill (A2472) expands the definition of a public servant in existing bribery laws to include any person who has been elected, but not assumed office, and political candidates whose activities are subject to regulatory oversight by the Election Law Enforcement Commission. Campaign activity like speeches or mailers that generate lawful campaign contributions would not be subject to the law.
“Corrupt would-be politicians are not above the law. We should be punishing elected officials and candidates in the same manner if they are both exhibiting the same criminal behavior,” McGuckin said.
Two Hudson County Democrats who were running for mayor at the time they allegedly accepted bribes exemplify the need for the bill, says McGuckin. In 2021 and 2012, judges dismissed the charges in their respective cases because they did not hold public office at the time.