Campaign finance bill advances with new provisions targeting election law watchdog

A Senate panel advanced a bill to overhaul New Jersey’s campaign finance system on Thursday, accepting some changes sought by good government groups while approving a provision that would effectively allow Gov. Phil Murphy to pick who leads the state agency that oversees and enforces New Jersey’s campaign finance laws.

Some amendments to the bill offer concessions sought by advocates.

One new addition would require business and trade organizations to adhere to the same disclosure requirements as some politically active nonprofits. Another would reduce contribution limits for proposed “housekeeping” accounts that party organizations can use to pay for non-political expenses, like rent.

But the amendments were not enough to win critics’ support.

“We do think this transparency bill runs counter to transparency,” said Maura Collinsgru, director of policy and advocacy at New Jersey Citizen Action.

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