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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hamilton council can’t regulate legal defense funds

From today's Trentonian:

  • The Hamilton Township Council won’t be taking up a measure supporters say would help clean up the town’s politics.
  • The measure would extend the reach of the township’s Pay-to-Play law to cover private legal defense funds for criminal charges, including embattled Mayor John Bencivengo’s.
  • Council President Kevin Meara said, on advice from the law department, that state law did not give the township the ability to regulate legal defense funds.
  • “There is really nothing we can do to regulate ” he said. But if the state were to revisit the law, “we may have the ability and look at it again then.”
  • Several Election Law Enforcement Commission officials said the current Pay to Play law only let townships govern campaign funds, and did not extend to private legal defense funds. Deputy Director Joe Donahue said the agency’s reach did not extend to private funds.
  • “Certainly under our law, that set us up, there is nothing,” he said. “We certainly have no regulatory authority over legal defense funds.”

  • I'll be covering the Town Council meeting later this evening on here, so stay tuned!

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