WHEREAS, it is essential that the citizens of the State of New Jersey have trust in the processes by which their taxpayer dollars are spent; and
WHEREAS, it is in the public interest for the State to monitor closely the activities of governmental affairs representatives, legislative agents, lobbyists and consultants with respect to their roles in influencing governmental processes, including the solicitation and retention of bond underwriters by the State of New Jersey, its departments, agencies and independent authorities, in order to ensure the integrity of government; and
WHEREAS, it is essential that the public have confidence that the selection of bond underwriters by the State is based on merit and not on political connections or political contributions made by, or on behalf of, such underwriters; and
WHEREAS, it has been a practice of some bond underwriting firms in recent years to engage consultants, other than firm principals or registered lobbyists, to solicit underwriting business from the State of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, in some cases, these consultants are politically active, and also may be engaged in soliciting and providing campaign contributions; and
WHEREAS, in some cases, these consultants may receive from the underwriters, as compensation for their activities, a commission based on a percentage of the fees paid by the State for underwriting services; and
WHEREAS, it is imperative that, as we embark on a new administration, every effort be made to remove both the actual and perceived influence of money on government; and
WHEREAS, current statutory law already prohibits registered legislative agents from accepting contingency fees to influence legislation or regulation; and
WHEREAS, all of the sound policy reasons that support the current statutory prohibition against contingency fees to influence legislation or regulation certainly apply with equal, if not greater, force with respect to the solicitation and retention of bond underwriting business by the State; and
WHEREAS, it has long been the public policy of this State to secure for taxpayers the benefits of competition, to promote the public good by ensuring the honesty and integrity of bidders for public contracts, and to guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance and corruption, or the appearance thereof, in order to benefit the taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, the Constitution of this State requires me, as Acting Governor, to manage the operations of State government effectively and fairly, to uphold the law to ensure public order and prosperity, and to confront and address impropriety, or the appearance thereof, in whatever form it may take; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate that I, as Acting Governor, expand the stringent policies and procedures that already apply generally with respect to government contracts for services, materials, supplies and equipment, by imposing additional restrictions concerning bond underwriting services; and
WHEREAS, imposing such additional restrictions will promote efficiency by relieving the underwriting firms of an unnecessary expense and, more importantly, will remove an opportunity for political or monetary interference with the fiduciary responsibilities of State government;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- In all cases where bond underwriting services are or may be required by the State of New Jersey or any of its departments, agencies or independent authorities, the affected department, agency or independent authority shall deal directly with the principals of the involved underwriting firms or their registered lobbyists. The affected department, agency or independent authority shall not discuss, negotiate, or otherwise interact with any third-party consultant, other than principals of underwriting firms and their registered lobbyists, with respect to the possible engagement of the firm to provide bond underwriting services.
- Additionally, it shall be the policy of the State to require any bond underwriting firm seeking to provide underwriting services to provide a certification stating that the firm has not employed or retained, directly or indirectly, any consultant who will be paid on a contingency basis if the State engages the firm to provide such underwriting services. Every contract and bid application and specifications promulgated in connection therewith covered by this Order shall contain a provision describing the requirements of this Order and a statement that compliance with this Order shall be a material term and condition of said contract and/or bid application and binding upon the parties thereto upon the entry of all applicable contracts.
- This Order shall not prohibit the awarding of a contract for underwriting services when a public exigency requires the immediate performance of such services as determined by the State Treasurer.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 6th day
of December in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand
and Four, and of the Independence of the United States,
the Two Hundred and Twenty-Ninth.
/s/ Richard J. Codey
/s/ Paul T. Fader
Chief Counsel to the Governor