Sen. President Sweeney Faces Ethics Complaint - New York News

Sen. President Sweeney Faces Ethics Complaint

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An ethics complaint has been filed against State Sen. Steve Sweeney (D) NJ Senate President alleging that he has a conflict of interest because he is also the general vice president of the International Association of Iron Workers union.

In the complaint, Dr. Murray Sabrin alleges that Sweeney is acting as a lobbyist on behalf of the iron workers, being paid by them, while serving as senate president.

Sabrin, a Ramapo College finance professor, is running as a Republican for Sen. Booker's U.S. senate seat and filed the complaint.

"This is serious stuff," Sabrin says. "Because this goes at the heart of what some people see as systemic political corruption in the state of New Jersey.

Sweeney acknowledges that he is making more than $50,000 as senate president. Union documents show that he has also made more than $200,000 a year in 2012 and 2013 for his union duties.

Sabrin says that Sweeney is the most powerful legislator in New Jersey and asks, "How can you be a lobbyist in New Jersey when you are lobbying legislators who are your colleagues who you oversee as senate president?"

Former Acting Gov. Don DiFrancesco(R), who also served as senate president, says Sweeney can do both jobs.

"He's not registered as a lobbyist with the state of New Jersey. I don't know if that is something he would do,” DiFrancesco says. "He's not lobbying the legislature, he's in governmental relations."

Chasing New Jersey called Sweeney's office multiple times for a statement but did not hear back.

The ethics committee says it received the complaint in December but has not started to investigate while it waits for two more members to be appointed to the committee.

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