NJ Senate president accuses NJEA of extortion

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's Senate president is accusing the state's largest teacher's union of threatening to withhold political contributions in exchange for a vote on requiring quarterly pension payments.

Democrat Steve Sweeney on Wednesday said that leaders of the New Jersey Education Association called Democratic county chairmen and threatened to withhold political contributions unless the Senate passes a proposed amendment ramping up pension payments by the state.

Sweeney also called on the U.S. attorney and New Jersey attorney general to investigate the union's action as criminal.

The union did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

Sweeney, an executive with the ironworkers union and possible candidate for governor, called the action "intolerable."

The proposal must be passed by Thursday in order to go onto the ballot.

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