A state lawmaker is requesting New Jersey’s Attorney General open a criminal investigation into Sen. Richard Codey’s re-election campaign, according to sources.
In a letter shared with PolitickerNJ, an unidentified state legislator claims Codey overstepped boundaries when he approached several of his Senate opponent’s employers in the weeks leading up to November’s election and criticized them for employing such an individual. The letter alleges Codey spoke to his opponent’s employers on two occasions and that a former staffer also spoke to the opponent’s superiors.
It alleges the longtime Democratic lawmaker is threatening the job security of his Republican opponent, Lee Holtzman, a tax attorney with McCarter & English.
The Attorney General’s Office wouldn’t confirm whether it received a request for investigation. However, Codey’s political consultant confirmed the lawmaker contacted people at Holtzman’s firm after the GOP challenger’s campaign accused Codey’s funeral home of not paying some of its bills.
“I know that Codey was really upset because his opponent was saying that he had some debt that he didn’t pay and that [it was] the debt of his father’s when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” said Codey consultant Frank Baraff.
“He was absolutely incensed and he told the people in the law firm,” Baraff said. “It’s one thing to attack him on taxes or any issues, but [it’s another thing] to go into something that involves his father when his father was suffering from a disease he died from.”
Holtzman’s release prompted Codey to send mailers to targeted neighborhoods in the senator’s district that criticized Holtzman’s tactics.
“When Lee Holtzman attacked me for what my father did while suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, he crossed a line that should never be crossed,” read the mailer. “Using the behavior of a man suffering from the disease that caused his death to launch a political attack on his son is beyond the pale.”
Baraff argued Codey never issued any threats to the firm about jeopardizing contracts with the state and said to suggest otherwise is a complete mischaracterization of the conversations.
“Let them refer anything to the Attorney General’s Office. Nothing that Codey did was illegal here,” Baraff said. “Codey was bounced from a position of power in the Legislature … [and has] no influence over contracts that are awarded to a law firm.”
The letter sent to the state’s Attorney General alleges Codey attempted to use Holtzman’s employment status as a scare tactic.