Whelan is No Friend of Ethics Reform

?With a plea of guilty to public corruption by another Callaway today, voters in Atlantic County should recall that Democrat Assemblyman Jim Whelan voted to block consideration of major reforms in public officials? ethics laws,? Atlantic County Republican chairman Keith A. Davis said today.

Whelan, who benefited from the get out the vote efforts of the group headed by convicted felon Craig Callaway in his 2005 campaign, voted to block legislative consideration of measures to:

Require legislators to cooperate with court-issued subpoenas
Prohibit dual office holding
Prohibit taking public jobs just to boost a public pension
Suspend without pay any public official under criminal indictment
Mandate prison terms for public officials convicted of corruption
Forfeit all retirement benefits for convicted public officials
Ease the method for the public to file ethics complaints against legislators

Today, Maurice ?Pete? Callaway, a Pleasantville City Councilman, entered a guilty plea to accepting $13,000 in bribes while a member of that community?s school board in exchange for awarding public contracts.

?The Atlantic City Democrat Committee paid the Callaway group some $35,000 to work on behalf of Whelan in his 2005 campaign,? Davis said. ?Those payments are a matter of public record, no matter how hard Whelan tries to separate himself from the Callaways.?

?Whelan has shown an abysmal lack of leadership on tightening public ethics laws,? Davis said. ?He failed to call for the resignation of two indicted Democrat State Senators and, at one point, voted to preserve a loophole in the law which allowed convicted public officials to collect a public pension under certain circumstances.?

?From accepting the support of the Callaway organization to joining his Democrat colleagues in the Legislature to kill ethics reform proposals, Whelan has shown he prefers business as usual,? Davis said. ?Unfortunately, for the taxpayers of Atlantic County, it?s the same kind of business the Callaways were engaged in.?

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