With a bribery indictment announced last week, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez became the latest in a long line of senior New Jersey elected officials to be hit with scandal or bribery charges.
The Democrat denies doing anything illegal.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest and most recent political scandals, corruption charges and resignations to affect a state where politicians have less than perfect images.
1804: Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, who served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and whose face still appears on the $10 bill, duel at Weehawken. He kills Hamilton. Burr, a native of New Jersey, is charged with murder but he was never tried.
Early 1980s: U.S. Senator Harrison “Pete” Williams, U.S. Representative Frank Thompson, and Camden Mayor Angelo Errichetti, also a state assemblyman, were all among those found guilty in the case. Abscam”, which involved accepting bribes from pretending Arab sheikhs.
1984: Michael Matthews, Atlantic City’s first mayor elected by the city’s voters, loses his seat in a recall election and pleads guilty to extortion. He served more than five years in prison.
2000: Camden Mayor Milton Milan convicted of a wide range of corrupt acts, including taking payments from the mob, using town contractors to carry out free work on his house, money laundering from a drug dealer, the use of vehicles provided free of charge by a tow. entrepreneur, using campaign money for a trip to Puerto Rico and selling a stolen computer. He served nearly six years in prison.
2002: Just five weeks before Election Day, Senator Robert Torricelli, a Democrat, drops out of re-election in light of a warning from the Senate Ethics Committee, which investigated allegations that he accepted gifts from a campaign contributor. He has not been charged with any crime.
2004: Governor Jim McGreevey announces that he is a “gay American”, that he had an affair with a male staff member and that he will resign from office. He has not been charged with any crime.
2008: Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, a Democrat who also served in the state Senate, is convicted of leading a land deal with a woman who was his girlfriend at the time. He served 18 months in federal prison. That same year, State Senator Wayne Bryant was convicted in a separate corruption trial of accepting “low-level” government jobs to inflate his government pension.
2009: In the case known as the “Bid Rig,” the largest corruption case in state history, 46 political, business, and religious leaders are arrested. Ultimately, 34 of them plead guilty, four are convicted by jurors, two are found not guilty, and one dies before trial.
2013: Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo is sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of federal corruption in 2012. He was released to a halfway house in December 2014.
2014: Federal authorities announce they are investigating whether any laws were broken during lane closures near the George Washington Bridge. An aide to Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, emailed a Port Authority official in New York and New Jersey before starting, ‘It’s time to have some traffic issues in Fort Lee’ . A Christie attorney and a report from state lawmakers found no wrongdoing on Christie’s part. It is not known when the criminal investigation will be completed.
2014: US Representative Rob Andrews, under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for using campaign money for a series of trips, resigns to accept a job at a law firm. He has not been charged with any crime.
2014: Trenton Mayor Tony Mack is found guilty of taking bribes in a bogus land deal. He is serving a nearly five-year sentence in federal prison.