Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) and his wife, Diane, face a seven count indictment today on charges that they funneled legislative paychecks for aides into Chiappone’s 2005 campaign account and a personal account.
State Attorney General Anne Milgram said that Chiappone issued $7,532 in paychecks to a legislative aide, who in turn donated all of the money to the campaign along with $629 to a woman who they falsely claimed was a legislative aide.
The state charges that that more than half of the money — $4,299 – was deposited for personal use, and that the rest was put into the campaign account but not reported to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
“We charge that Assemblyman Chiappone and his wife conspired to have the state issue more than $8,000 in paychecks for legislative aides, knowing that the money was really destined for the couple's own pockets or his re-election campaign,” said Attorney General Milgram. “This indictment chronicles a betrayal of the public trust by this elected official.”
The counts are for conspiracy, official misconduct, theft by deception, tampering with public records or information, falsifying or tampering with records, and concealment or misrepresentation of contributions or expenditures
Chiappone was elected to the assembly in 2003, and the donations in question were for his 2005 Democratic primary campaign, which he lost. He came back two years later to win a second, non-successive term, and is running for reelection this year.