(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel advanced on Thursday legislation Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Herb Conaway and Tim Eustace sponsored to apply to Congress for limited constitutional convention to limit corrupting influence of money in politics and overturn Citizens United decision and related cases.
“A constitutional convention is clearly needed to correct the disastrous impact of recent Court decisions on the integrity of elections in New Jersey and throughout the nation,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) “Citizens United opened the door to unlimited spending by shadowy, well-funded groups with no transparency or accountability – spending that drowns out the voice of the American voter and threatens the fundamental fairness of our democracy.”
The Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR-149) states that elections should be free of the corrupting influence of excessive spending by outside interests and fair enough that any citizen can run for public office. The measure also notes that numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions have frustrated the will of the American people by eroding the ability to choose political leadership.
“It is important for all states to be heard and counted on the issues that affect voters and elections,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “How we protect the voting process is just as important as the process itself.”
The resolution references U.S. Supreme Court decision on Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission which determined that corporations and unions can make independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.
“New Jersey has made its mark nationally by establishing its own laws barring issues such as pay-to play,” said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Federal court decisions should continue to support the changes states have made to ensure that voters can make their own decisions about who they want to lead them.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary committee.