Independent Groups Could Influence NJ Elections

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. August 27, 2013

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Jeff Brindle, executive director of NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (photo by Phil Gregory)

Independent groups that raise money from outside the state could have an influence on the gubernatorial and legislative elections in New Jersey.

Independent groups spent more than $14 million on the June primary.

Jeff Brindle is executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. He anticipates those groups will spend big bucks on the November elections and is concerned that’s having an effect on voters.

 “Many people are just saying I don’t have any kind of impact on the election, we have a lot of these groups that are coming in and there’s so much money being spent and very little accountability and disclosure, and therefore we’re not going to vote.”

New Jersey law limits the amount of campaign contributions by individuals and registered political action committees, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows independent groups to spend an unlimited amount of money.

Brindle says that spending is difficult to track.

“If they specifically come out and support or oppose a candidate, then we get that information in terms of how much they have spent independently, but we can’t get their contributors.”

Brindle is hoping lawmakers will act before the end of the legislative session to approve a measure that would require the independent groups disclose their contributors.


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