Corzine unveils broad ethics reform package

Gov. Jon Corzine unveiled a broad package of ethics reform measures Wednesday aimed at reducing the influence of money on the state's political system.

The governor signed an executive order that would outlaw the practice known as "pay to play," banning political contributions from people who hold state contracts. Any developer who has a project up for approval would also be affected.

"Instead of government of, by and for the people, we have a government of, by and for political contributors," says Corzine. "Today, that era ends."

The governor is also asking lawmakers to ban a practice known as "wheeling," in which someone donates to a county political party and has the money funneled to candidates in other parts of the state.

It is a practice the governor is familiar with, having donated more than $1.4 million to county party organizations since 2005.

Republican leaders say they welcome the governor's proposal, but want more details.

"We hope it doesn't go the way of prior efforts by this governor - like a ban on dual office holding that exempts incumbents, or a ban on borrowing without voter approval that exempts $3.9 billion," says state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union).

News 12 New Jersey has chronicled the waste of taxpayer money on the state capital, and now many are asking if the governor and lawmakers will follow through on the reform measures.

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