WASHINGTON – An ethics complaint alleging Sen. Jon Corzine (search) failed to disclose a $470,000 mortgage loan in 2002 to his then-girlfriend, a powerful state union boss, was filed Thursday with the Senate Ethics Committee by a public interest attorney.
The New Jersey Democrat forgave the loan in 2004, just days before he announced he was running for governor of New Jersey. Corzine, who made millions when he was CEO of Goldman Sachs, later received the union's endorsement.
The last time the committee investigated a senator was in 2002, when disclosing them. The panel ultimately admonished Torricelli, and he dropped his re-election bid.
"Robert Torricelli (search) was caught taking bribes and not disclosing them and Jon Corzine has been caught giving bribes and not disclosing them," said Carl Mayer, the New Jersey public interest lawyer who filed the complaint.
Corzine said Thursday he will cooperate fully with the committee, and he sent a letter to Sens. George Voinovich (search), R-Ohio, and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., the panel's chairman and vice chairman, asking for "a fair and professional review of the matter as quickly as possible."
"The loan was of a personal nature and there was no requirement for it to be listed on his annual Senate disclosure forms," Corzine's office said in a statement. "The loan, which he subsequently forgave, was never an asset held for income or investment, but a loan to a personal friend."
The loan was given to Carla Katz (search), president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, while the two were dating. The union represents 9,000 New Jersey state employees.
Mayer contends Corzine had broken ethics rules by not disclosing the loan on his financial disclosure form, adding that the senator had listed personal loans to two other women in his 2000 and 2001 forms, both in the range of $250,001 to $500,000. Corzine has said the loans were for business reasons and that one was never repaid, and he was unclear on the status of the other.
Mayer also said Corzine failed to disclose during his first years in the Senate his involvement in JSC Investments, a limited liability company formed in 1999 as a holding company for several of his investments. The Katz loan was made from JSC Investments.