ROBERTS: FEDERAL COURT KILLS CLEAN ELECTIONS FOR 2009
(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. today said that a federal court ruling that found a key part of Arizona's "clean elections" law unconstitutional has killed the chances for New Jersey to continue the program for the 2009 legislative election cycle.
In a ruling released late Friday, a U.S. Appeals Court judge in Arizona said that state's "rescue money" provision that allows clean candidates to counter third-party attacks was unconstitutional. New Jersey's clean elections contains similar provisions.
Speaker Roberts (D-Camden) released the following statement:
"In terms of enacting legislation to continue New Jersey's Clean Elections pilot program in 2009, the federal courts have imposed obstacles that are insurmountable given the time frame.
"Instead of rushing to find stop-gap solutions, Clean Elections simply needs a time-out.
"Putting the program on hiatus next year will give Congress and the courts more time to sort out the many issues that have been raised and the ability to give states clear guidelines to follow.
"It is disappointing that an activist court half a continent away has thrown such a huge obstacle in the way of a good government ethics reform that was making real headway in changing politics in New Jersey for the better.
"I am grateful for the efforts of every legislator who worked hard to give this program every chance to succeed."