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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


Monitoring the New Jersey Clean Election Pilot Projects

The New Jersey Project has provided information about Clean Elections and specifically Clean Elections in New Jersey since 2004 when the then-Majority Leader Joseph Roberts included it as a part of a 25 point ethics agenda. 

Looking Ahead to a Clean Election Program for 2009
In June 2008, following the work of a bi-partisan task group of Assembly members and senators, a bill was considered by the Assembly State Government Committee.

Testimony was presented by Ingrid W. Reed, director of the New Jersey Project, summarizing the proposals for a 2009 Clean Election proposal based on the monitoring study and the advice of the Citizen Advisory Committee. 

The proposals were summarized in a chart comparing the proposal, the bill, A-100, with the previous pilots projects and 2006 recommendations of the New Jersey Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

The bill did not advance and is scheduled for reconsideration by the legislative task group in September 2009.

2008 Report
Results of 2008 Clean Elections Around the Country, A Report from Public Campaign

2007 Pilot Project Study
For the 2007 study, a Citizen Advisory Committee provides perspectives, advice and informed evaluation of the second pilot project.  Funding was provided for the Clean Elections monitoring studies by the Fund for New Jersey and additional support from the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Information about the New Jersey Clean Election Pilot Project can be found in:
New Jersey Citizens’ Clean Elections Commission Final Report, May 2006

2007 Fair and Clean Elections Report, March 28, 2008 (New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission)

Clean Elections and the Supreme Court in 2008 - A Decision on the Case of Davis v. Federal Election Commission
This case, decided on June 26, 2008, addressed the constitutionality of mitigating the effects of self-financing of elections by wealthy candidates. Since this decision was rendered, opinions have been written on its relevance to Clean Elections.

The N.J. Office of Legislative Service in a letter opinion of July 21,2008 said that “relying on .... “Davis decision, would likely find the rescue money provisions to violate the First Amendment.”

A July 23, 2008 statement from The Campaign Legal Center that analyzed the Davis decision for its relevance to Clean Elections concluded that “the Davis Court did not decide the issue and public financing program trigger provisions can be distinguished from the Millionaire’s Amendment invalidated in Davis.”

2005 Pilot Project
The first Clean Election Pilot Project took place in 2005 and focused on candidates for election to the General Assembly from two districts. The second Clean Election Pilot Project included candidates for the General Assembly and Senate and was expanded to three districts.

Included in the Eagleton monitoring study of these pilot projects were opinion surveys conducted jointly by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and the Fairleigh Dickenson University Public Mind Poll. Voters were polled state-wide and in the pilot project districts to determine citizen attitudes and knowledge about clean elections and campaign finance reform. 

The monitoring study also conducted analyses of newspaper coverage of legislative races with a focus on Clean Elections districts campaigns and as well as campaign materials of the clean election districts.