Tag Archive: sunlight

They give in a shadow afraid to be known

Who are these people and organizations? What are their names? How much do they contribute? Assembly Bill 3863 would require disclosure of contributions received and expenditures made by committees or organizations not affiliated or coordinated with any candidate.

The bill passed the Assembly State Government Committee with the three Democrats, Linda Stender, John McKeon, and Herb Conaway in support. The two Republicans, Donna Simon and Chris Brown, abstained and issued a Minority Report. It pays lip service to transparency but serves as a preamble for likely opposition from other Republicans and from the governor who expects significant contributions to go to “independent” groups which support him.

Following the Citizens United court ruling at least 27 states have strengthened their campaign finance laws. It is important that New Jersey do so as well. The Assembly and Senate Democrats should be willing to make some accommodations to avert a veto or gain enough Republican support to override a veto. We need more sunshine and less shadow.  

Ending Campaign Finance Secrecy: Our Last Best Chance During the Gubernatorial Campaign

Following Citizens United at least 27 states have made changes to their election laws regarding expenditures, disclosure or both. NJ has not. Do you remember Reform Jersey Now and the Committee for Our Children’s future which operated under a veil of secrecy to support Governor Christie? Because of Citizens United and the rise of super PACS we can not prevent the onslaught of big money into the gubernatorial campaign. We can, however, enforce more disclosure.

When a person at an event last month complained about campaign finance laws, Governor Christie responded, “It’s all permitted under the laws … If you don’t like it, then change the laws.”

That is exactly what Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is proposing. Tomorrow an Assembly Committee will take up his bill A3863. It requires disclosure of the contributions received and the expenditures made by committees or organizations that are not affiliated or coordinated with a candidate, the candidates committee or joint candidates committee. It also requires similar disclosure for a committee organized to support or oppose a public question.

This bill will poke a light into the dark caverns where individuals, corporations, and interest groups can pour in sums of money that they are not allowed to contribute directly to campaigns. And by all reports the caverns will be overflowing with funds.