Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Reform Jersey Now is a newly formed group that is pushing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's agenda. It is run by some of Christie's top advisors. The issue-advocacy group is a 501 (c)4 organization that does not have to disclose expenditures or donors. Christie has been a speaker at Reform Jersey Now events and is scheduled to speak before the group again on July 22.

Top Democrats in the State legislature have been railing against the organization accusing Republicans of engaging in pay-to-play. Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney and three of his colleagues in the Upper House (Barbara Buono, Paul Sarlo and Nick Scutari) say they are seeking to bar state contractors from donating to "political shadow organizations."

"Groups like Reform Jersey Now are simply fronts for their political parties, so they should be treated just like an arm of a political party," says Sweeney. "They should be subject to the state's financial disclosure laws and they should have to live by the same pay-to-play laws that political parties do."

Under current pay-to-play laws those with state contracts worth more than $17,500 cannot contribute more than $300 to statewide campaigns.

Christie said yesterday, "As long as these groups operate within the law, that's fine with me....If people want to change the law I'm happy to consider changes to the law that are fair and that level the playing field for everyone."

As you might expect, Republican legislators are not denouncing Reform Jersey Now or Christie, but that doesn't mean they're all big fans of issue-advocacy groups.

In 2008 when then-Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, formed Save Our State (SOS) to help push his plan to increase tolls by 800% to help pay down the state's debt, the GOP was up in arms wanting to know who was donating to that issue-advocacy group which was not unlike what Reform Jersey Now is today. SOS ultimately released its list of donors due to pressure from the public, not because of any changes to the law that forced the group to do it.

Why is it that issue-advocacy groups are a problem for Sweeney, Buono, Sarlo and Scutari now, but they weren't in 2008 and why is it that issue-advocacy groups were a problem for Republicans in 2008, but they aren't in 2010? That's a rhetorical question.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The answer is easy, they always do what is best for them and their careers, not what is good for the voters. Of course when you have lazy, uninformed, and naive voters, then you will continue to get politicians who don't give a darn about the people paying their way!