TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Federal corruption probe ties two Democratic state lawmakers who are running for Congress to a controversial budget account that doled out millions in grants based on legislators' recommendations.
The now-defunct Property Tax Assistance and Community Development Grants Program has become a focal point of two tight fall congressional campaigns since testimony in a federal corruption trial linked Democratic lawmakers to control of the $128 million fund.
Gov. Jon Corzine shut down the program in 2006 after a citizen filed a lawsuit questioning how grant recipients were selected.
Third District Republican Chris Myers on Tuesday called on his opponent, Democratic state Sen. John Adler, to disclose any funds he directed to pet grant recipients, while 7th District Republican Leonard Lance chastised the Democratic candidate, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, for steering $300,000 in grants to pet causes, including her employer.
Adler spokesman Mark Warren said the programs receiving state funds were legitimate. Stender said any grants she secured for organizations in her district were based on merit, not politics.