Heading into elections, N.J. lawmakers take a pass on campaign finance laws

New Jersey lawmakers will be taking their summer break without acting on campaign finance reforms.

Measures to require political candidates to disclose all campaign contributions and expand disclosure rules to include spending on ads by independent groups have stalled in the Legislature.

Lawmakers may have decided not to advance those bills ahead of the November election, said Heather Taylor with the Citizens Campaign, a government watchdog group.

“They’re going to want to try to raise as much money as possible. So with that as the backdrop, it is much harder to mount a campaign for real reform,” Taylor said Wednesday. “It’s going to come down to citizens speaking up and really taking a stand that they really want increased disclosure.”

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Taylor says the public deserves to know who is funding the campaigns, and the group will continue its efforts to get reforms enacted.

“We are going to continue to mobilize on the ground. Citizens have already passed over 90 local pay-to-play laws and our momentum isn’t stopping,” she said. “So while the Legislature can sit on reform, the citizens will keep on moving it.”

Taylor said she expects the bankruptcy of the Birdsall engineering company after pay-to-play law violations will have a deterrent effect on other companies.

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