Contractors who swindle New Jersey may not get the chance again

A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced legislation to bar contractors convicted of defrauding the government from ever bidding on public contracts.

 

Anyone convicted of a serious crime should not be allowed to return to the public trough and benefit from a government contract, said Assemblyman Dan Benson.

“We shouldn’t be taking that risk again. A person has done something wrong with public dollars, we should hold them accountable,” said Benson, D-Mercer. “There are plenty of other contractors trying to do the right thing that should be allowed to focus on that government work.”

Benson’s bill requires county prosecutors to notify the state attorney general about convicted contractors. And the late treasurer would maintain an online list of the banned offenders.

Assemblywoman Linda Stender, D-Union, said it will send a message.

“This is a way of protecting our taxpayer dollars. We certainly are in a time when people have suffered loss of confidence in what we do,” she said. “So by taking steps to make sure that we can build that confidence and show that we’re worthy of it is in the best public interest.”

The legislation would require the state treasurer to maintain a list of the banned contractors on the Internet.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.