It might seem strange that the state commission monitoring money in politics wants to let contractors give more money to candidates. But this is the era of the Super Political Action Committee. And the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission can’t track Super PAC cash. Super PACs, which can receive unlimited amounts of money without disclosing their contributors, were called “active players” in New Jersey campaigns in ELEC’s 2014 annual report. The report included 12 legislative recommendations to increase oversight and transparency of campaigns. At the top of that list were recommendations dealing with Super PACs.
Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s executive director, said independent groups like Super PACs aren’t subject to pay-to-play laws. Contractors know this, he said, and are working around the pay-to-play laws by donating to Super PACs instead of candidates.
“We would rather see the money going to candidates,” Brindle said.
Candidates are required to disclose their donations and expenses. Super PACs don’t have to disclose a thing, unless they run advertisements that expressly support or criticize a candidate. If the ads do focus on a candidate, then the Super PACs must disclose what they spent. But spending on ads that focus on an issue, say gun laws, don’t have to be disclosed.