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Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, who represents the 16th District (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) released the following in response to the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters request for a meeting.
“New Jerseyans deserve to have their health and safety protected from threats to our state’s air, water, and natural resources. They also deserve to be free of the influence that anonymous, big-money donors bring to the political process, no matter what positions those influencers espouse. There is no reason we can’t have a clean environment and clean politics.
“As the NJ League of Conservation Voters acknowledged in its public statement requesting a meeting to discuss whether or not to endorse my candidacy, the issues the organization is raising have nothing to do with environmental protection. NJLCV endorsed me two years ago, and since then has supported my record on the need for clean energy, protecting water resources, and other important concerns related to New Jerseyans’ health and safety. I value my strong ties to NJLCV members.
“My legislative advocacy for making the political process more open and accountable by shining a light on the problem of ‘dark money’ is why NJLCV has backed away from supporting me.
“NJLCV’s claim that I did not treat them as a ‘true partner’ is erroneous. As the legislation I sponsored made its way through the legislative process, I met many times with NJLCV and many other environmental organizations. I also spent hours on the phone with the Executive Director of the NJLCV and met with him privately for three hours. I listened to everyone’s concerns and did my best to address them. There is no reason for further discussion.
“The legislation that was signed into law is not the ‘onerous’ disclosure law NJLCV claims. Its requirement that organizations seeking to influence our political process must report any donations over $10,000 every three months, and more frequently around an election, brings fairness and transparency to an arena where public trust has unfortunately eroded.
“NJLCV’s ‘David vs Goliath’ narrative about this issue, claiming that certain types of nonprofit organizations would be prevented from effectively advocating on social justice, a clean environment, and other important issues is highly misleading. The executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has refuted it. (https://www.insidernj.com/pending-dark-money-legislation-targets-groups-truly-operate-secret/)”