Assemblyman Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge) wants his indicted colleague, Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy), to sit out the vote on the budget.
Since March, Vas has faced multiple charges for corruption from both state and federal authorities. All the counts pertained to his work as Perth Amboy Mayor — a position he served in between 1990 and 2008 — and not his role as an Assemblyman.
“Sadly, several recent budgets have been approved with votes by legislators who were later proven to be crooks,” said Thompson. “Assemblyman Vas remains innocent until proven guilty, but a man facing a set of federal corruption charges as well as two others from state authorities has no business casting a vote on the budget especially this year when New Jersey’s financial picture is so precarious.”
Vas, who has served in the Assembly since 2004, did not file to run for another term. He has refused calls to step down from his district’s other legislators, Governor Corzine, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) and Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), who’s also an Assemblyman.
In his first statement, Thompson was referring to state Sens. Wayne Bryant (D-Camden) and Sharpe James (D-Newark), who continued to serve out their terms even after their 2007 indictments. Unlike Vas, they were not asked to resign by their party’s leadership. Their terms had expired by the time they were convicted.
Vas may not need Thompson to discourage him from showing up, however. The last time he voted was on March 5 – six days before State Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the state’s first charges against him. He did not show up to any subsequent Assembly sessions, and has lost his committee memberships.