Political analyst concerned NJ election transparency bill will allow money to flood into campaigns

Campaign finance illustration
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SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — The New Jersey Senate passed the Election Transparency Act on Monday, despite objections. A political expert says this could potentially take the teeth away from campaign finance watchdogs.

Most people don’t know about the existence — let alone the responsibilities — of the Election Law Enforcement Commission, but the ELEC’s job is essential, according to Micah Rasmussen from Rider University’s Rebovich Institute.

“They are the watchdog that is responsible for making sure that campaigns in New Jersey follow the law,” Rasmussen said.

The current commissioners could be removed if the bill passes. The governor then would unilaterally appoint a new committee.

“The reason it’s a concern is because we only have to look to past practice. Right now, there is one Republican seat on ELEC that has been kept vacant by the party in power.”

The bill would also cut the window for investigations into campaign finance violations from 10 years to two years.

“The idea of letting a campaign off the hook or a candidate off the hook simply because you got past the two year mark is pretty troubling to many of us.”

Rasmussen says there are some good things included in the bill, such as declaring sources of dark money contributions. It’s likely to be approved by the assembly later this month and signed by the governor soon after that.

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