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11 N.J.A.R. 376

Election Law Enforcement Commission v. Citizens to Make Mayor-Council Government Work
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Citation: 11 N.J.A.R. 376
Decision Date: 1985
Synopsis: A complaint filed by petitioner alleged that respondent had violated the Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act, N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq., by failing to submit pre-election and post- election reports of funds as well as failing to disclose the identity of certain contributors. Respondent requested a hearing and the matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law. Respondent is an organization formed to secure signatures on a petition to recall the mayor of Atlantic City. Respondent claimed it is not a 'political committee' as defined by the Campaign Contribu- tions Act and is therefore not subject to filing requirements. Political committee is defined in N.J.S.A. 19:44A-3(i) as an organization which acts to aid or promote the passage or defeat of a public question. Respondent argued that by promoting a recall it was not advocating the passage or defeat of a question, but merely attempting to bring a question before the voters. The administrative law judge rejected respondent's argument, say- ing that by working for a recall respondent was in fact taking a position on a public question. N.J.S.A. 40:69A-169 defines a recall petition as a petition to 'demand the removal of a designated incum- bent.' Accordingly, the administrative law judge concluded that respon -- dent was a political committee subject to the filing requirements of the Campaign Contributions Act. Respondent did not deny violating the requirements. Penalties were ordered, including fines and escheat to the State of any anonymous contributions, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-11. State of New Jersey 377 The administrative law judge declined to address respondent's con- tention that the Campaign Contribution Act was unconstitutional, saying that argument was more appropriately raised in an appellate forum. Upon review, the Election Law Enforcement Commission affirmed this initial decision. The Appellate Division, 208 N.J. Super. 583, reversed. Judgment of the Appellate Division was affirmed in part and reversed in part by the Supreme Court; the cause was remanded. Gregory Nagy, Esq., Staff Counsel, on behalf of petitioner Oscar Gaskins, Esq., on behalf of respondent