Former 8th District Congressional candidate Brian Varela of the NJ Forward Party, submitted the following opinion letter to Hudson TV concerning today’s vote on the Election Transparency Act (ETA):

                                                                                                                      OPINION: New Jersey’s dominant political machine is once again attempting to consolidate their power and further build their influence. 

The latest attempt by our elected officials to undermine the voice of the people is the proposed Election Transparency Act (ETA), also known as Public Corruption Authorization Act, which they will be voting on Monday, March 20th. It is the 3rd time that they have tried to pass this bill. This legislation is a direct threat to the principles of fair and open elections and must be opposed.

The proposed Election Transparency Act either doubles or triples the limits of donations to political campaigns and political committees, giving more power and influence to special interest groups and corporations at the expense of the public. This includes donors who have lucrative state contracts.

The act also consolidates power among the select few party bosses who will be able to direct these funds to politicians who “play ball”. The incumbent who chooses not to tow the party line could find themselves facing a well-financed primary opponent. This along with losing The County Line will almost guarantee a failed re-election campaign. They could lose their position by acting in the interest of their constituents.

The Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) will be forced to operate under the absolute influence of the Governor, losing it’s autonomy and now being susceptible to machine politics. As ELEC is charged with enforcing election law violations, this is a clear conflict of interest. The bill further defangs ELEC by not allowing them the time required to investigate potential election violations empowering bad actors and reducing the likelihood of any repercussions.

The proposed Election Transparency Act is not in the best interest of the people of New Jersey. It undermines the principles of fair and open elections, threatens the impartiality and autonomy of ELEC, and consolidates power among a select few. We must take action to protect our democracy and oppose this bill.

I urge you to join me in contacting your legislators and letting them know that you stand against this threat to our democracy. You can do so by texting PARXYM to 50409. The future of our state depends on it.

Brian Varela

NJ Forward Party