Kean Crafts Bill to Place Pay-to-Play Restrictions on Big Labor

Our friend and State Senate GOP Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Union) is introducing legislation that would, in his office’s words, “apply the same restrictions on campaign contributions and activity that currently exist for other government service providers to labor unions under contract, including project-labor agreements, withstate, county, or municipal government entities.”

“Labor unions are no different than a legal orengineering firm: they negotiate contracts for services with elected officials. In fact, labor unions receiveamong the largest government contracts given out year after year, yet are free to wield unparalleled financial influence in electing the very same people who sit opposite them at the bargaining table.”

Kean also noted that New Jersey organized labor unions “outspent the next closest interest group by a margin of 8-1 in the 2010 election cycle, and 17-1 during the 2009 gubernatorial and legislative election season. 11 of the 15 top spending special interest committees (PAC’s) identified by ELEC were run by unions in the 2010 election cycle.”

The problem is real. A notorious example? Last year alone, as we’ve previously reported, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) spent approximately $10.8 million on advertising.

So all of us here at Save Jersey say “Bravo, Senator Kean!” This legislation is an prime example of why New Jersey’s Conference of Mayors recently named him “Legislator of the Year.” Our taxpayers deserve a government that works for them and not the other way around!


33 thoughts on “Kean Crafts Bill to Place Pay-to-Play Restrictions on Big Labor

  1. Pay-to-Play Petition Committee Sues Township Clerk

    A five-member petition committee seeking a local pay-to-play ban sued the Gloucester Township clerk this week for refusing to certify their petition based on advice she received from the municipal attorney.

    The township has until May 31 to respond to the lawsuit, which was both filed at the Camden County Hall of Justice and served on the township on Wednesday.

    A Superior Court hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 8.

    South Jersey Citizens (SJC) labeled township Solicitor David Carlamere a "pay to play campaign finance laundering PAC (political action committee) operator" in a scathing statement announcing the lawsuit its members filed against Clerk Rosemary DiJosie.

    "Mr. Carlamere's practice of putting the interests of the local (Democratic) political party ahead of the people of Gloucester Township is exactly why Gloucester Township needs pay to play reform and why the political machine is fighting to block it," the statement reads.

    "Pay to play" is the phrase used to describe campaign contributors being awarded government contracts by the officials they help get elected.

    Carlamere did not return a message left at his law office late Thursday morning seeking comment on the lawsuit.

    The petition committee, which is entirely comprised of township residents, was headed by the conservative watchdog group's executive director, Tom Crone, and its political director, Joshua Berry. The three other committee members are identified on various documents as Elizabeth Holzman, who leads SJC recruiting, Robbie Traylor and Donald Choyce.

    The petition committee initially submitted its petition, with a total of 1,268 signatures, to the clerk on Feb. 13

    The township rejected the petition on Feb. 28 and again on March 14.

    The committee needed DiJosie to validate a minimum of 1,047 signatures in order for its proposed ordinance to move to Council or, had the governing body failed to adopt it without significant change, to the ballot in November.

    The clerk informed the committee in mid-March that she had validated a total of 1,091 signatures, but rejected 504 of those based on Carlamere's legal advice.

    Carlamere's primary reasons for rejecting the petition in mid-February were that the petition forms were circulated by individuals who were not on the five-member committee and that several of the forms were notarized by a Pennsylvania notary public.

    The solicitor reiterated his assertion that the petitions could be circulated only by committee members in the undated memo DiJosie attached to her March 14 letter. That opinion resulted in 299 signatures being rejected.

    Carlamere also rejected 205 signatures found on more than a dozen re-notarized forms, citing the fact that the affadavits SJC obtained in support of them were not signed by the circulator and New Jersey notary public in the presence of the clerk and were not attached to the previously questioned forms when delivered at the municipal building.

    Earlier this month, the petitioners asked DiJosie in a letter to reconsider her earlier decision, threatening to file a lawsuit to force her hand if she did not certify the petition by April 13.

    The letter included legal counter-arguments to Carlamere's positions prepared by Renée Steinhagen, an attorney with nonprofit New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center. NJ Appleseed assists grassroots reformers who use the initiative-and-referendum process under the state's Faulkner Act-established governments.

    DiJosie declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by phone Thursday afternoon. Mayor David Mayer did not return a message left at his municipal office Thursday morning.

    Berry cited Democrats' main argument in the legal battle between Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and Republican opponent Shelly Lovett following the 2011 4th Legislative District Assembly race in expressing his disappointment with township officials.

    "I find it ironic the same Mayer-Council team that argued 'voter disenfranchisement' following the 2011 Assembly race and subsequent lawsuit would in turn disenfranchise the voters who signed this petition," he said. "I am appalled local officials would resort to dirty tactics and wasting taxpayer dollars to prevent good government reforms like this."

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