U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski was charged with driving with a suspended license last month, but on Tuesday agreed to a $150 fine for “failure to provide documents,” according to his lawyer.
The charge against Malinowski, a freshman Democrat who represents New Jersey’s 7th District, was highlighted in a tweet late Monday by Harrison Neely , a consultant for Republican Tom Kean Jr., who’s challenging Malinowski in the November election.
Neely posted an 11-second clip of police body camera footage of the Aug. 1 traffic stop in Hopewell, Mercer County. He said he obtained the footage through a records request.
“You were doing 65 miles an hour. It’s a 45 mile-an-hour zone,” the officer tells Malinowski.
“Going along with the traffic, I guess,” Malinowski says.
“There was nobody in front of you or behind you,” the officer says.
Malinowski’s attorney, Scott Salmon, said the congressman was cited for “delaying traffic” in Raritan in December and thought he had paid the ticket, but did not.
Salmon said Malinowski’s license was automatically suspended when he did not pay or show up in court. He believes Malinowski didn’t receive a letter about the notification of suspension because he was in the process of moving.
Salmon said that shortly after the Aug. 1 traffic stop, Malinowski paid the original fine. A prosecutor on Tuesday agreed to reduce the suspended license charge to failure to provide documents — a $150 fine.
The incident was picked up by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC that in a mass email Tuesday said Malinowski “tried to shift the blame from himself on others, which is much like how he acts in DC.”
Salmon, who specializes in election law, said Republicans are “desperate to go after [Malinowski] for anything, real or imaginary.”
“It’s something normal that happens to people. He fixed the problem and the process worked out the way it would work out for anyone," Salmon said. “Just because he’s a congressman he wasn’t treated any differently.”
The race between Malinowski and Kean figures to be one of the most competitive congressional races in the country this year. The Cook Political Report has projected it as “lean Democratic,“ while POLITICO rates it as a “toss-up.”