ELEC sues former senator Coniglio for $140,000

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission is going after a former senator for $140,000 in campaign funds it said were used in the defense of a criminal case.

ELEC filed a civil suit Friday seeking the repayment from former 38th District Senator Joseph Coniglio and his treasurers.

The Complaint in Superior Court alleges that the campaign funds were spent in connection with a criminal investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office. Coniglio was indicted on Feb. 14, 2008, and convicted in federal court on April 17, 2009.

“Elected officials and their treasurers must abide by the law in managing their campaign accounts,” said Jeff Brindle, Executive Director of the Commission. “Candidates are not permitted to use campaign funds to defend themselves in a criminal matter.”

The suit also names his former treasurers, Theresa Romano and Louis Romano, and alleges that the defendants violated the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act.

Coniglio served 16 months in federal prison.  Prosecutors alleged he channeled millions of dollars to Hackensack Medical Center and received a $5,000-a-month consulting fee.

On appeal, five counts of mail fraud were dismissed. One extortion count was upheld.

ELEC sues former senator Coniglio for $140,000