Independent groups’ influence on N.J. races may keep voters away

 New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

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, according to Jeff Brindle, executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. He anticipates those groups will continue to spend on the November elections — and he’s 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,” Brindle said.

In November, New Jersey voters will elect a governor as well as the entire Legislature. State law limits the amount of campaign contributions by individuals and registered political action committees, but independent groups can spend an unlimited amount of money.

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

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