The following editorial by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union) to urge action on accountability, ethics and campaign finance reforms was published in Sunday’s Press of Atlantic City:
“Regarding the April 26 editorial, “Campaign-finance reform/Yeah, right …”:
You are correct that there is too much finger-pointing and not enough action in Trenton to make government accountable. So why don’t you join us in demanding answers from those who aren’t getting the job done?
The Democratic majority in this Legislature has total control over what bills are posted for votes, starting at the committee level. Despite our repeated public calls for action, Senate committee chairmen Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and James Whelan, D-Atlantic, continue to ignore Republican measures to provide a pure, transparent government to New Jersey residents. Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, who can force legislation through committees, has also neglected our bills to make government accountable at all levels in this state.
Van Drew is chairman of the Community & Urban Affairs Committee. He has, for example, failed to allow hearings on S2068, which would apply ethics standards to local and school officials.
Whelan is chairman of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. He has, for example, refused to allow hearings on S1917, which would close pay-to-play loopholes that benefit contributors who get public contracts worth billions of tax dollars. Whelan has also denied hearings on: S681, which would prohibit legislators from holding another elected office; S590, which would force elected or appointed officials to forfeit their public pensions if they are convicted of crimes touching their office; and S597, which would prohibit “wheeling,” a practice parties use to evade campaign finance limits.
There are even more necessary Republican-sponsored ethics, accountability and transparency bills that are being neglected by legislative Democrats who aim to benefit from the status quo in an election year.
An election year should have the opposite effect on legislators: Those who are not willing to provide residents with an accountable, open and ethical government should be voted out of office.”