TRENTON, N.J. – A bill (A2959) recently introduced by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips would prohibit candidates and elected officials charged with crimes from using campaign contributions to fund their legal defenses.
“Campaign contributions were never meant to fund the legal defense of a corrupt public official. It is an insult to donors and violates public trust,” said DePhillips (R-Bergen). “My bill will ensure these funds are only used for legitimate expenses.”
At the end of last year, the attorney general announced charges against five former and current New Jersey public officials and political candidates who allegedly took thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of campaign contributions.
DePhillips’ bill expands the list of contribution expenses that are explicitly prohibited. Currently, once candidates take public office, they cannot use campaign funds for furnishing, staffing or operating their office. DePhillips’ bill would also forbid expenses arising from a candidate’s personal criminal defense.
The bill was referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee.