Ramos Introduces Legislation to Ensure Finance Transparency in Government, Preserve Integrity in Public Office

The two-bill package is based on the recommendations of NJ ELEC

(HOBOKEN) – Noting that public officials should be held to higher ethical standards as elected representatives of the state and its residents, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson) introduced two bills this week to enhance the transparency of election finance in New Jersey.

The bills, (A-3340) and (A-3252), are based on the recommendations of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC)’s 2011 annual report.

“With the recent influx of PAC money into political campaigns, it is imperative that candidates and donors are held accountable for how that money is used,” said Ramos. “This legislation will ensure that New Jersey’s elected officials will be held to high ethical standards as public servants.”

The first bill (A-3340) enacts several ELEC recommendations, including the following:

  • requiring school board candidates to file certifying forms if he or she receives no campaign contributions and makes no expenditures;
  • expanding the 48-hour reporting requirement for PACs to include municipal, municipal runoff, school board, and special elections;
  • changing the deadline for legislative and gubernatorial candidates to file disclosure statements to May 15th of the election year, and requires ELEC to post the statements online within 10 days;
  • eliminating redundant paperwork for municipal and county candidates;
  • lengthening the term of ELEC appointees to six years; and
  • requiring gubernatorial ballot statements to be posted online instead of being mailed, and using saved monies to pay for advertising the gubernatorial debates.

“By strengthening disclosure requirements and streamlining the disclosure process, this bill ensures that the public has immediate access to the funding sources of every candidate on the ballot, right down to the school board,” added Ramos.

The second bill (A-3252) prohibits government officers and their employees from lobbying before state or municipal boards for the personal interests of the official. Even if the officer or employee is terminated from their position, the prohibition from lobbying extends one year following his or her termination.

“Lobbying for your own self-interest, personally or through an employee, is a clear conflict of interest,” continued Ramos. “This legislation will hold elected officials responsible for serving in the best interests of all of their constituents, one hundred percent of the time.”

Both bills are awaiting referral to an Assembly committee for further consideration. The bill (A-3252) has also been introduced in the Senate as (S-598).