|Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) today reached out to U.S Attorney Paul J. Fishman and N.J. Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino asking the top federal and state law enforcement officials in New Jersey to investigate what the senate president identified as attempts by leaders of public employee unions to coerce legislators and political organizations into approval of legislation that would seek voter approval of a plan to require scheduled payments to the state pension system.
Sweeney wrote his letters in response to threats by public workers unions to withhold campaign contributions to lawmakers until the senate puts on the fall ballot a constitutional amendment guaranteeing pension payments.
The letters shocked the New Jersey political world, who see Sweeney as one of the leading contenders in next year’s Democratic Primary for governor. Since his earliest efforts to overhaul the public pensions and benefits system, Sweeney has struggled to endear himself to public sector unions.
His allies dismissed queries about whether this signifies that he has given up a gubernatorial bid, instead arguing that it proves he is not willing to compromise his integrity or that of his colleagues for personal gain.