FEBRUARY 05, 2007
A special office created by New Jersey’s governor after numerous scandals rocked the state has proven to be a worthwhile investment that has so far exposed fraud and corruption at practically every level of government.
The misuse of tax dollars and ethics violations were so rampant in the Garden State that former acting Governor Richard Codey opened a much-needed inspector general’s office to investigate the lapses a few years ago. His executive order pointed out that New Jersey desperately needed to improve public accountability by identifying areas where state spending, and that of county and municipal governments, is wasteful and inefficient.
In its short existence and with a small staff and shoestring budget, the New Jersey Inspector General’s office has uncovered widespread wrongdoing and has issued several scathing reports exposing millions of wasted taxpayer dollars.
One investigation precipitated the overhaul of an $8.6 million school construction program and another documented improprieties in a $7.7 million state contract for addiction services.
Additionally, a conflict-of-interest ethics investigation of New Jersey’s sports authority led to the recent resignation of a corrupt official whose son and good friend work at a law firm that made millions from its contracts with the state agency. Apparently fearful of the Inspector General’s probe, the official resigned from his $195,000-a-year state job.
New Jersey legislators credit the leader of the Inspector General’s office, a no-nonsense attorney who once prosecuted fraud for the state attorney general, for its success. All reports and investigations can be viewed at the New Jersey Inspector General’s web site.
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