PALLONE CALLS FOR CAMPAIGN LIMITATIONS ON DEVELOPERS & CORPORATIONS IN RESPONSE TO PUBLIC CORRUPTION
May 2, 2005
---Seeks Expansion of Public Financing---
Long Branch, NJ --- In response to a series of recent indictments of public officials, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said today that New Jersey needs to limit campaign contributions to developers in particular and corporations in general, as well as expand public financing of campaigns at every level of government.
"I've lived in New Jersey my whole life, and I'm saddened and disgusted by what seem to be daily examples of serious misconduct involving governmental officials," Pallone said. "We cannot ignore the substantial influence developers have gained over the past two decades in their pursuit of paving over every acre of our state. It's time we curb developers' influence by banning them from contributing to politicians who will decide on their zoning or land-use permits. It's also time we give the public a say in development proposals that impact their neighborhoods."
Pallone believes a developer should not be allowed to financially contribute to a candidate for public office in a county or municipality in which they plan to seek government approval for construction.
The New Jersey congressman also believes the public must have more input into the development and zoning process. Pallone says New Jersey counties and municipalities must allow the public to petition to overturn decisions of planning and zoning boards for projects that have a significant public aspect, such as significant zoning changes or the development of large residential complexes or shopping malls. Citizens could collect signatures for petitions to place a binding referendum on the ballot approving or disapproving actions of local boards.
Pallone also believes New Jersey must eliminate all corporate contributions in state, county and local elections.
"The problem is that corporate contributions are unlimited because individuals and groups can create as many corporations as they like and therefore contribute collectively large amounts of money," Pallone continued. "As with federal candidates, only individual contributions should be allowed with a cap at no more than $2,000 per cycle. This is the core of the McCain-Feingold Act adopted by Congress and should be enacted into state law."
Pallone also supports the eventual move towards a system of public financing of elections, also known as "clean elections." Pallone would like to see public financing in all state, county and local races.
"The best way to maintain the integrity of the political system is to rely on smaller donations matched by public dollars financing. This inevitably curbs the influence of special interests," Pallone concluded.