Legislation Will Allow Municipalities to Push Envelope on Pay to Play Bans
TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, a leading advocate on State ethics reform and banning developers’ influence in government, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate approval of a bill allowing municipalities to pass stronger bans on pay to play, or the practice of trading campaign contributions for lucrative contracts of government favors:
“For government ethics watchdogs, pay to play has long been considered a cancer on the good work and achievements of government at all levels. It is unrelenting and undiscerning, affecting officials on the municipal, county and State level with equal voracity.
“The fact that, on January 1st, local cries for reform were essentially going to be muffled by a less-restrictive Statewide ban on pay to play seems completely contrary to the goal of stamping out this insidious practice across the board.
“Earlier this year, I was made a commitment from legislative leadership, that we would address local pay to play bans, and protect them from preemption from the State’s ban on the practice. Today, we have met that commitment head on.
“In the State of New Jersey, there are 566 municipalities, each with individual governing bodies, individual problems, and individual needs. As such, we should allow local advocates for good government reform to push for tailor-made ethics codes that will have the greatest impact in moving the State to reform.
“We should give our local reformers the chance to push the envelope, and craft stronger and more creative bans on the pay to play crisis. Their efforts locally may spur New Jersey to adopt stronger regulations for everyone.
“It is said that money in politics is like water, always able to seep through the cracks and into the foundation. With today’s bill passage, we have 566 masons on call, and we will turn the tide on government corruption in the Garden State.”