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Monday, April 28, 2008

Baroni: restore ELEC funding

One of the most questionable cuts in Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s proposed budget is that which would slash funding to New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission from last year’s level of $4.9 million to $4.1 million, according to Sen. Bill Baroni, R-14.

The senator recently wrote a letter to the governor calling on the restoration of funding for the commission, which serves as a major obstacle to those in New Jersey who would engage in activities that would fall under what's known as "pay-to-play."

“We need to be serious about ending New Jersey’s culture of corruption,” said Sen. Baroni, in a statement. “It is vital we both strengthen and support ELEC. Gov. Corzine’s budget does neither.”

The commission served to oversee the enforcement of the 2006 pay-to-play disclosure law, which provided some level of oversight to over 2,000 elections, and 24,000 public contracts worth over $10 billion, according to Sen. Baroni’s office.

The commission also provided public information on contributors giving money to over 6,000 candidates, contained in 30,000 reports covering $69 million worth of campaign contributions.

The election commission has also continued to operate at low staffing levels, according to a report by the senator’s office, which showed numerous vacancies and unfilled positions in a government organization crucial to the oversight of public monies.

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