WHEREAS, limits on contributions to candidates from lobbyists, Super PACs, and other groups are necessary to reduce corruption and the appearance of corruption as outlined in Buckley v. Valeo (1976); and
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court held in Nevada Comm'n on Ethics v. Carrigan (2011) that restrictions on official actions taken by legislators in situations in which their independence of judgment is questioned do not constitute restrictions on the First Amendment free speech rights of legislators; and,
WHEREAS, closing the "revolving door," where an elected representative or senior staff member parlays their authority to attain a high-paying job, has been upheld by courts to prevent employees from being “Influenced in the performance of public duties by the thought of later reaping a benefit from a private individual." Brown v. District of Columbia Board of Zoning, 423 A.2d 1276, 1282 (D.C. App. 1980); and
WHEREAS, the Township of South Brunswick adopted Article XIV, Public Contracting Reform and Political Campaign Contributions, so that it is in full compliance with the New Jersey Campaign Contribution and Expenditures Reporting Act, N.J.S.A.19:44A-1, et seq.; and
WHEREAS, elected officials, volunteers and staff are required to submit a financial disclosure statement on an annual basis to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; and
WHEREAS, nearly $6 billion was spent in the 2012 elections, where the vast majority came from big special interest donors, politicians are dependent on a tiny percentage of the population to fundraise their campaigns while ordinary voters have less and less influence; and
WHEREAS, agencies such as the Federal Election Commission and the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission need to be strengthened to enforce the anti-corruption rules that exist; and
WHEREAS, the Township of South Brunswick joins with other communities in the United States in seeking limits on and full transparency of political money as necessary for the growth of an educated, engaged and informed electorate;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED on this 12th day of April, 2016, by the Township Council of the Township of South Brunswick, County of Middlesex, State of New Jersey, that:
1. The Mayor and Council support tough, anti-corruption laws and encourage the Congress and the State to consider pursuing legislation to prohibit politicians from taking campaign money from industries they regulate; put limits on unregulated Super PACs and other groups; increase transparency for campaign financing; stop elected representatives and staff from negotiating jobs while in office and bar them from all lobbying activity for five years once they leave public office; empower all voters through a $100 tax rebate to contribute to the candidates they support; and strengthen federal and state agencies to enforce the rules against politicians and special interests that break campaign finance law.
2. The Township of South Brunswick continues to enforce its own anti-corruption legislation, and respectfully urges its representatives of the New Jersey Legislature to support anti-corruption legislation.
3. A copy of this resolution be forwarded to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Senator Christopher Bateman, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli,and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker.