Florio says Gov’s ethics plans don’t go far enough

If enacted, Gov. Corzine’s reform agenda could curtail the power of county chairs, who would be able to tap donors for less money and wouldn’t be able to wheel money from one county to another. But in solidly Republican Somerset County, GOP Chairman Dale Florio thinks that the reforms don’t go far enough.

Florio thinks the wheeling ban isn’t strict enough, since it allows state committees to donate unlimited funds to county committees, while still allowing county committees to donate $25,000 to state committees.

That’s still wheeling, according to Florio, whose day job is as a partner in one of Trenton's most influential lobbying firms.

“Wheeling fuels the need to raise money. If you take out the ability to wheel, what’s the incentive to raise a lot of money?,” he said.

Florio said that, like previous reform efforts, this one misses the point — that parties won't solicit as many contributions to vendors if they don't need the money.

“The last iteration of pay-to-play legislation and regulations just produced another way of doing things, and I think that this is a start in the right direction, but we’re missing the right point here, and that’s wheeling,” he said. “There’s an attempt, but it doesn’t go as far as it needs to.”

At his press conference today, Corzine denied that the allowances diluted the measures’ effectiveness.

“If that turns out to be a problem we can also stop that,” he said. “But it is perfectly reasonable that a state party would be able to raise resources to run state public offices, as long as it’s limited, and it is limited in each individual instance.”

Florio says Gov’s ethics plans don’t go far enough