TRENTON - A former in-house New Jersey government watchdog has been hired to investigate claims of racial discrimination at the state National Guard.

Former federal prosecutor and state comptroller Matthew Boxer is looking into complaints made by four senior Guard officers that two generals are discriminating against minorities, stunting the careers of their critics and rewarding loyalists with promotions and other opportunities.

The Guard commander, Brig. General Michael Cunniff, disclosed during a budget hearing last month that his agency was under investigation and told lawmakers that he was confident that the claims were baseless.

Boxer was hired April 7, but it was first reported Monday by

Boxer left as comptroller in 2014 after six years on the job and now works at a private law firm.