February 8, 2012 •
NJ ELEC Has the Power
Appellate Court Affirms New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s Authority
A New Jersey state appellate court has reaffirmed the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) has the authority to enforce the state’s campaign finance laws.
In Nordstorm v. Lyon, the Appellate Division reversed a lower court’s decision not to defer to ELEC’s jurisdiction for enforcement of campaign contributions and reporting violations.
In affirming the power of ELEC, the Appellate Division held, “We reach our conclusion that ELEC has exclusive jurisdiction regarding reporting violations because of the overarching legislative goals of (1) guaranteeing transparency of campaign contributions and expenditures, (2) ensuring that disclosures of the same be managed and controlled by a single agency, and (3) implementing remedies for violations of the Reporting Act through a uniform and predictable system of sanctions.”
The case arose following a close Republican Party primary election for Morris County Freeholder between William “Hank” Lyon and Margaret Nordstrom. In its press release, ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said if the lower court ruling had not been overturned, “it would have subjected candidates and committees to inconsistent application of the Campaign Reporting Act in enforcement actions.’’
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