Philadelphia Inquirer

Letters | 'Clean Election' Program Needs More To Pitch In

The Philadelphia Inquirer — Friday, September 9, 2005

To run for office in New Jersey, candidates must spend an enormous amount of time and effort raising money. As the costs of campaigns have increased, so has the amount of fund-raising - to the point where it has become easier to solicit contributions just from a few wealthy donors and special interests, skipping right over the average citizens who used to give $10 or $25 to a candidate's campaign committee.

We all know the effect of big-money, special-interest campaigns: They lead to big-money, special-interest control of state government. Let's face it: Legislators are beholden to those who got them elected, and in most cases, that means the special interests that financed their last campaign.

To help combat this problem, the "Fair and Clean Elections" campaign-finance program is being tried out in two legislative districts, including the Sixth District in Camden County. Participating candidates agree to limit spending in exchange for state grants to fund their campaigns. But to participate, each candidate must raise 1,000 contributions of $5 and 500 contributions of $30 from registered voters in his or her district.

We think the idea of a "Fair and Clean" campaign is good. It will allow both sides in the Sixth District to be evenly funded. More important, it will take the special interests – including corporations, lobbyists, unions, PACs and political parties – out of the campaign-funding equation.

So far, only one side is eligible for Clean Elections funding in the Sixth District. Democratic Assemblyman Lou Greenwald and his running mate, Pamela Rosen Lampitt, have each collected the necessary 1,500 contributions. We congratulate them for participating and for reaching the contribution threshold. But to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program, both sides need to qualify.

For this historic campaign-finance program to work, our side needs additional contributors to qualify. We're halfway to the magic number of 1,500 contributors, and we still hope to qualify by the Sept. 21 deadline.

Voters in the Sixth District have a chance to make this pilot program work. If you agree that both sides should participate – whether you're a Democrat, Republican or independent – you can help us with your two contributions of $5 or $30 today. This money does not go to our campaign; it goes to the state's Clean Elections Fund, which will fund both Democrats and Republicans this fall.

We think the program's worth trying, and hope you do, too!

Marc Fleischner and JoAnn Gurenlian
Republican candidates for Assembly
in the Sixth District

Letters | To Contribute

By check: Make checks out to Clean Elections Fund and mail them to Clean Elections, Box 4742, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08034.

By phone: 856-261-6532.

Online by debit or check card: www.nj.gov/treasury/clean_election.

The Sixth District covers Audubon Park, Berlin Borough, Berlin Township, Cherry Hill, Chesilhurst, Collingswood, Gibbsboro, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Oaklyn, Pine Hill, Pine Valley, Tavistock, Voorhees, Waterford and Winslow.

Top Top | NJCA Homepage | NJCA in the News