Vacancies on N.J. election watchdog panel stall fines for campaign law violations

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle says the vacancies will have no effect on the filing of campaign finance reports for the upcoming election. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle says the vacancies will have no effect on the filing of campaign finance reports for the upcoming election. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Because of so many vacancies on its board, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has been unable to take action on fining campaign law violators.

Gov. Chris Christie said he will renominate Republican Eric Jaso to fill one of the three empty seats on the four-member board.

But he said Wednesday that he’s waiting for Democrats to tap nominees for the other spots.

“If the Senate president gives me names and they vet out, I’ll nominate them. If he doesn’t, I can’t,” Christie said. “And I’m not going to just pick two Democrats that I like because, almost invariably, if I like them, they won’t get confirmed.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said he is working on culling candidates for the governor to consider.

“I actually have a pool of candidates that we’re evaluating,” he said. “We’re vetting them and we’ll put two forward as soon as we’re comfortable with it.”

Commission executive director Jeff Brindle said, in the meantime, staff members are still conducting investigations and filing complaints. When the new commissioners are put in place, he said, final decisions will be made on fining candidates who violate campaign laws.

The vacancies won’t affect the filing of campaign finance reports for the upcoming election.

“Candidates and political parties and PACs and so forth will be filing,” Brindle said. “There’s nothing changed there so the public is not going to be cheated of any kind of disclosure.”

 

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission is unable to meet to impose fines on campaign law violators because of vacancies on its board.

 

Governor Christie says he’s re-nominating Republican Eric Jaso to fill one of the three empty seats on the four-member board.

 

But he’s waiting for Democrats to tap nominees for the other spots.

 

“If the Senate President gives me names and they vet out, I’ll nominate them. If he doesn’t, I can’t. And I’m not going to just pick two Democrats that I like because almost invariably if I like them, they won’t get confirmed.”

 

Senate President Steve Sweeney says he’s working on it.

 

“I actually have a pool of candidates that we’re evaluating. We’re vetting them and we’ll put two forward as soon as we’re comfortable with it.”

 

He says the vacancies won’t affect the filing of campaign finance reports for the upcoming election.

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“Candidates and political parties and PACs and so forth will be filing. There’s nothing changed there so the public is not going to be cheated of any kind of disclosure.”

 

The Commission’s executive director Jeff Brindle says staff members are still conducting investigations and filing complaints. When the new commissioners are put in place he says final decisions will be made on fining candidates who violate campaign laws.

 

He says the vacancies won’t affect the filing of campaign finance reports for the upcoming election.

 

“Candidates and political parties and PACs and so forth will be filing. There’s nothing changed there so the public is not going to be cheated of any kind of disclosure.”

 

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