State Senator Diane Allen makes an interesting point regarding the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards: now that State Senator Joseph Coniglio is the target of a federal criminal probe, perhaps the ethics panel was a bit hasty in dismissing Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan’s complaint against him? If federal prosecutors found enough information to pursue their investigation of the Bergen County Democrat, who was a plumbing consultant to the Hackensack University Medical Center when the hospital received over $1 million in state funds, why was the ethics committee so quick to dismiss a complaint that was essentially based on the same foundation?
In a letter to Judge Herbert Friend, the Acting Chairman of the JLCES, Allen writes:
In light of recent information in the media about Senator Joseph Coniglio being the target of a criminal investigation regarding his dealings with the Hackensack University Medical Center, I am concerned that the Joint Committee on Ethical Standards did not have enough information when they considered the complaint Mayor Lonegan filed with the committee regarding Senator Coniglio.
Is there a process in which we can reconsider or reopen a complaint when new information arises? Even better if we could spend more time gathering information we could make a more informed decision.
It is difficult to make an informed decision without all the facts and even more difficult to know if we have all the relevant information we need. We must, as a committee, improve our thoroughness.
I believe you should poll the committee to assess their interest in reopening the Lonegan complaint. In addition, a review of the By-Laws with an eye toward improving the ability to revisit complaints I believe is in order.