Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin today asked that funds for Assemblyman Neil Cohen’s reelection campaign be frozen, along with a joint campaign account Cohen held with Assemblyman and Democratic State Chairman Joe Cryan.
“As the investigation of child pornography allegations apparently continues against former Assemblyman Neil Cohen and election laws mandate that a special election be held this November as a result of the legislative vacancy, the Union County Republicans are calling for both his individual and joint legislative campaign accounts with Assemblyman Cryan to be frozen until the investigation is complete,” said Morin in a statement.
If the allegations against Cohen prove true, Morin said, he Cohen and Cryan should contribute the funds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Cohen’s own campaign account for his 2009 reelection campaign had $14,985 cash on hand as of the last ELEC filing. His joint account with Cryan had $33,414.
Morin said a recent ruling about former State Sen. Wayne Bryant barred use of campaign contributions for criminal defense.
“No campaign funds should be used for Mr. Cohen's personal legal defense or doled out as campaign contributions in the interim,” said Morin.
Cohen resigned from the Assembly on Monday. A special election will be held in November to pick someone to serve out the remainder of his term.
Cryan kept his response short.
"I want to thank Mr Morin for his insensitive and unnecessary press release," he said.
Morin plans to meet with the Republican municipal chairs of the four Union County towns that make up the 20th Legislative District – Elizabeth, Union Township, Kenilworth and Roselle—to begin the process of choosing a candidate. The district has a four-to-one Democratic registration advantage.