TRENTON – In the wake of a report that embattled Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo is planning a fundraiser to help set up a legal defense fund, two Assembly lawmakers say they will introduce legislation that would require defense funds to adhere to campaign finance laws.
Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo (D-14) and Daniel Benson (D-14) announced Wednesday morning they will introduce the legislation shortly after news broke that the embattled Republican mayor was planning the fundraiser.
Bencivengo, arrested last month on corruption charges, is planning the June 5 event that asks for $125 per ticket. According to a PolitickerNJ report, Bencivengo said the proceeds of the fundraiser – to be held at Spigola on Route 130 – will go to a legal defense fund he has set up.
“Anyone has the right to hold a legal defense fundraiser, but such events must be transparent and above board for elected officials,” DeAngelo said in a statement. “Legal defense fundraisers should not be an excuse to bypass campaign contribution limits and pay-to-play laws that are designed to protect the public trust. The public has a right to know these laws are being respected.”
Both men have already called on Bencivengo to resign.
Hamilton’s mayor is fighting federal allegations that he was involved with a more than $12,000 bribery scheme. Bencivengo appeared before a federal court judge late last month and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.