TRENTON – Last week, Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. moved to suspend the salary and benefits of three Assembly members facing corruption charges.
Roberts (D-Camden) had already stripped Assemblymen Joseph Vas (D-Middlesex), L. Harvey Smith (D-Hudson) and Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean) of their committee assignments.
“The right to the presumption of innocence is a hallmark of our democracy, however, serving in the Legislature is a privilege, not a right,” Roberts said. “The Assembly is often referred to as the ‘People’s House,’ and I want the people to have full confidence in the integrity of its members.”
Roberts also called on the embattled assemblymen to resign. “I repeat my call for Assemblymen Smith, Vas and Van Pelt to do the right thing and resign. Their failure to step down is a disservice to their constituents and the Assembly, so this extraordinary step is necessary.”
Van Pelt has since resigned.
Vas has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, official misconduct, money laundering and theft.
Smith and Van Pelt were both arrested in last month’s sweeping federal corruption probe.
Members of the state Assembly receive salaries of $49,000 per year and health benefits.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!