The State of New Jersey was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of committing fraud when it issued bonds between 2001 and 2007. According to the SEC complaint, the State did not fully disclose to bond buyers the extent of the growing shortfall in the state's two major pension plans.
Although the State just settled the SEC case without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, this episode highlights the misfeasance and probable malfeasance on the part of both Republican and Democratic state officials. Yet, the SEC has not charged any individual in the case.
Rather than closing the books on this issue, the SEC and certainly an independent commission appointed by Governor Christie should investigate the actions or nonactions on the part of the DiFrancesco, McGreevy, Codey and Corzine administrations regarding the pension payments that should have been made to adequately provide retired teachers and state workers with their promised benefits.
Every former governor and state treasurer, as well as key legislative leaders and others should be made to testify in an open forum about their disregard of sound financial polices while they were in office. They should be asked the tough questions about their irresponsible decisions during 2001 and 2007 that has led to a massive underfunding of state pension funds.