ATNJ’s Statement of “Dark Money Bill”
MADISON, NJ, June 10, 2019 – We stand with newly formed grassroots groups all over the state and with established nonprofit organizations such as ACLU-NJ, LWVNJ, and NJCA against the Dark Money Bill S1500/A1524 that is slated to be voted on.
As a recently-established progressive nonprofit formed in the 2016 General Election, we believe in the power in the people and not corporations. With chapters in every county, our grassroots members have been advocating for more transparency at all levels of government so that anyone, no matter their zip code or party affiliation, can be an active member of our democracy. We want our elected officials to spend their time focused on the needs of the community and to come up with sound and budget-conscious solutions for taxpayers, not to waste time having to fundraise money for their next election. We want the people we elect to represent us to work for us, not for special interests or corporations. Many New Jerseyans have donated to nonprofits that provide clarity to complex public policy issues and that advocate for those under-represented in our society. Nonprofits rely on donations from New Jerseyans who believe in causes that nonprofits fight for — causes that may not be discussed publicly in their communities because of the controversial subject matter, the political nature of it, or they may hold the minority view. Personal privacy to which organization and causes we donate to are of great importance and are not in conflict with bringing transparency and removing “Dark Money”.
We ask the New Jersey State Legislature and Speaker Coughlin to go back and work on a clean bill that would be constitutionally sound, fair for all nonprofits across the board, and one that fulfills the goal of bringing light to dark money. As it currently stands, the bill would be subject to lawsuits based on the unconstitutionality of it, exposes the privacy of individual donors (names, home addresses, employment), and causes financial distress to nonprofits to hire a treasurer and do the reporting. This bill is unnecessarily broad, unevenly applied excluding 501(c)6, and treats the tens of thousands of nonprofits in New Jersey as operating like campaigns, which we do not. We have worked hard to educate the public on civics and getting people to care about state government’s role in improving the lives of New Jerseyans. This bill would harm our efforts to do so.
We are fully in support of state legislators to put together a clean bill that would take the dark money out of politics. We look forward to working with our Legislature to make that happen. We ask all New Jerseyans who donate to a nonprofit to call your members of the State Legislature members at 609-847-3905 to pull the bill S1500/A1524 from the vote. Protect your privacy. Protect nonprofits who work on your behalf.. Find your legislative members here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp
Uyen “Winn” Khuong
Founder and Executive Director
About Action Together New Jersey
ATNJ, a non-profit progressive group, is the largest grassroots organization in New Jersey. ATNJ has chapters in every county because change is local. Functioning as a central command for statewide initiatives and legislative actions, ATNJ’s teams work with coalitions of like-minded groups to serve the public by educating the electorate, providing a platform for progressive candidates, advancing legislative proposals with elected officials, and working in concert with advocacy groups for human rights. ATNJ seeks to promote equality and progressive ideals and to secure a more inclusive, fair and equitable future for New Jersey and the nation. For more information, visit www.ATNJ.org.