NEW JERSEY – Senators Anthony M. Bucco and Steve Oroho said that the Elections Transparency Act (ETA) signed by Governor Murphy neutered election transparency after the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) was forced to dismiss 107 cases, according to a press release Friday.
“The action taken today by ELEC sets a concerning precedent for how election laws will be followed and enforced going forward. It is inexcusable that Governor Murphy signed a law that would require the dismissal of 107 cases of alleged campaign violations,” said Bucco (R-25). “Before the Elections Transparency Act became law, we had the country’s foremost campaign watchdog agency that was trusted and had the means to investigate credible election complaints. Today, we have a neutered agency that is dismantling election transparency at the behest of Governor Murphy.”
ELEC was formed in the wake of the Watergate scandals to improve public confidence and their perception of elections and the political process. The passing of ETA gave Governor Murphy full control over the then-independent campaign watchdog and allowed him to appoint new members to the commission. This action has eroded public confidence in election transparency.
The law established a new statute of limitations reducing agency enforcement actions from 10 years to 2. It also contained an incredible retroactive provision requiring the newly appointed ELEC members to dismiss today’s alleged violations.
Cases dismissed by ELEC can be viewed here: ELEC Reports and Data Search System.
“When Governor Murphy signed the ETA it opened the floodgates of corruption. This ridiculous law stifled the independence of our state’s campaign watchdog and limited their ability to hold those who commit campaign violations accountable,” said Oroho (R-24). “It is absurd that this is how ELEC is going to be forced to address alleged campaign violations now and in the future. We have a responsibility to provide New Jerseyans fair and transparent elections. This law and today’s action by ELEC shows that Governor Murphy and Trenton Democrats shirked that responsibility.”