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>Are New Jersey public officials required to report a bribe?

>Are New Jersey public officials required to report a bribe?
Monday, October 11, 2010

Imagine this scene.

A mayor of a New Jersey town meets with a developer who wants to build an office complex. The developer asks for a hassle-free approval for the project and hands the mayor a bag of cash – a classic bribe.

The mayor refuses the money, but then faces this question: Does the law require him to call police and report that a bribe has been attempted?

In New Jersey, the answer is no.

As our tarnished state endures yet another public corruption trial – this time, involving Ridgefield Mayor Anthony R. Suarez in federal court in Newark — it’s worth pointing out that our anti-bribery laws have a massive hole.

Yes, taking a bribe is a crime. But not blowing the whistle on an attempted briber is not.

Shocked? Don’t be. This is New Jersey. Loopholes are like potholes. We live with them.

We all know that officials are not supposed to take bribes – hopefully, this is not shocking news. But what may be shocking to some is that public officials don’t have to tell anyone if someone tries to attempt to bribe them.

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