NJ lawmakers propose electing attorney general

 Gov. Chris Christie appointed John Hoffman as New Jersey's acting attorney general. Some lawmakers want to ask voters of they'd prefer to elect a top prosecutor rather than leaving the decision up to the governor. (AP file photo)

Gov. Chris Christie appointed John Hoffman as New Jersey's acting attorney general. Some lawmakers want to ask voters of they'd prefer to elect a top prosecutor rather than leaving the decision up to the governor. (AP file photo)

New Jersey is one of only five states that do not have an elected attorney general, and some state lawmakers want to change that.

Sen. Peter Barnes wants to put a constitutional amendment before voters to allow election of an attorney general every four years instead of appointment by the governor.

That would create checks and balances — and provide more stability in the position, said Barnes.

“This has nothing to do with the current attorney general, a person that, as far as I’m concerned, is an honorable man and a person who I think has been under some pressure because he’s in an acting attorney general capacity,” Barnes said, “This is not criticism toward him.”

John Hoffman has been the state’s acting attorney general for two years.

Sen. Ray Lesniak said serving at the pleasure of the governor raises suspicions about Hoffman’s decisions.

Lesniak cited Hoffman’s decision that gifts to Gov. Chris Christie don’t have to be disclosed, the settlement with Exxon on environmental damages, and the lack of state indictments in the Bridgegate scandal.

Gov. Chris Christie has not officially nominated Hoffman for the job, so he hasn’t gone through a confirmation hearing.

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