Sunday, January 31, 2016

ABOUT CHANGES IN " PAY TO PLAY






Sunday night 60 Minutes devoted  half of its time ti how American Lawyers assisted in Money Laundering. One lawyer commented that lawyers ran the country because they made the Laws for the benefit of the lawyers. 

This letter from Alan Goldstein to the Council members regarding the changes in the “Pay to Play Ordinance is a well perceived appraisal of the proposed changes.

Dear City Council Members,

re MC 2016-04 Pay-To-Play Amendments

The Mapp Administration is trying to gut the Pay-To-Play ordinances adopted by the City Council in November 2011. These have been ignored in practice by the Mayor’s campaign committee since they were adopted, most egregiously by two vendors that utilized an East Orange joint campaign committee to funnel $9500 to the Mayor’s 2013 campaign for office, and by multiple vendors who have made contributions in violation of the prohibition against making any contributions during the term of their contracts. A mechanism for enforcement is needed, as well as a true and full understanding of what these ordinances say, not amendments that roll back restrictions. Several changes actually may make the amended ordinance less restrictive than New Jersey’s Local Unit Pay-To-Pay Law, thereby invalidating it. Wording to the effect that these changes are a response to Citizens United and “would create a more fair application of the spirit and intent of the Ordinance” are falsehoods obfuscating what would open the door to significantly more vendor cash and abuse of Plainfield’s electoral process.

Among the notable changes are:

1)Tripling the local contribution limit to $1000 from $300.

2) Permitting contributions up to the limit in all instances during the term of a contract regardless of State law prohibiting them.

3) Redefining the threshold for ownership or control, and hence what is considered to be a contribution by the business entity itself to 51%, disregarding the State mandate of anything more than 10%. This would effectively void all restrictions, as most business entities such as partnerships do not have a single majority owner.

4) Removing “solicitation” as an action that would invoke a penalty.

5) Reducing the penalty phase from four years to one year. Not that this means anything. Without enforcement, there are no penalties.

Under these circumstances I urge the City Council to reject this ordinance. I view it with a great deal of suspicion, particularly coming as it has from the Administration’s Office of Economic Development, not from the Council itself. These changes will mean the City and its officials will be even more beholden to contractors, and fully subvert the spirit and intent of the original ordinance. Moreover, changes 2 and 3 above, being less restrictive than State law would, in my view, invalidate the entire ordinance. It should also be noted that once a local unit adopts its own Pay-To-Play ordinance, the Election Law Enforcement Commission washes its hands. The only amendment should be the creation of a mechanism for local enforcement and a legitimate interest in seeing it through.

9 comments:

  1. Doc Cory Storch along with Mayor Mapp was the sponsor of this ordinance when it was bought to the council.

    Renee

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Alan.He does his homework.The mayor again is up to no good. He wants these developers whom he gives projects to,to give him big money.People of Plainfield wake up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is quite obvious that is another deceptive ploy by mapp to gain more money from the people who are under his dirty thumbs

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mapps rubberstamps on the Council will rubberstamp this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The last time I look(yesterday) there was the group of 4 and 3 beholden to the "New Democrats".. I can't see how 3 can rubbere stamp.

      Delete
  5. Alan Goldstein will be my first stop when the fundraising season kicks in this year. Alan, get your check book ready.

    What Alan fails to state is that this ordinance places those who are not in favor with the County at a huge disadvantage. These rules don't apply to Jerry Green nor do they apply to the school board elections.

    The only Councilor that voted in favor of the change was Barry Goode. Williams and Storch voted against the change as they were protecting 'their' ordinance as they were the original sponsors of it. Rivers, Taylor, Toliver and Brown voted against it as they probably were led to believe that it benefits Mapp more then them.

    Barry Goode was the only one smart enough to recognize that it's much more difficult to raise money in the 1st and 4th ward then the 2nd and 3rd. And that this ordinance actually puts him at a disadvantage.

    So see you soon Alan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim, what you're not seeing is that the purpose of a P2P ordinance is to limit vendor cash in the electoral system, not to make it easier for politicians to raise cash from anyone and everyone, particularly the vendors these same politicians hand contracts to. But it seems to me you are really advocating to just get rid of the ordinance. The changes proposed by the Administration basically does just that, in a sneaky, underhanded way. By attempting to define a business entity's principals as those who own a 51% stake, instead of the State-mandated 10%, essentially no one has any limitation, and the increased $1000 limit becomes meaningless. In that case just get rid of the ordinance and stop with the fakery. I'm not against raising the limit from $300 to $1000. I'm dead set against pretending that principals who control these firms, and whose individual contributions are considered to be contributions of the business entity itself, are not principals at all. Besides, this change is less restrictive than the State mandate, which Corporation Counsel Minchello said would not be permissible. I hope that Councilman Goode is smart enough not to approve sham ordinances in the future.

      Delete
    2. I voted not to move to the agenda for a vote because the 51% ownership proposal opens the floodgates to excessive campaign donations at the local level. The existing ordinance creates a huge imbalance favoring county political chairpersons. I favor raising the contribution threshold but not to the point where the Plainfield ordinance is negated. Ultimately, the best reform will come with state legislative action. Until then we need balanced local reform, however imperfect it may be.

      Delete
  6. YES, I am advocating that we get rid of the ordinance – if the same rules don’t apply to the county and state then it’s just not fair.

    NO, I am not in favor of vendors giving to campaigns. But there needs to be a level playing field. What’s good for the goose . . . . well you know the rest.

    Change it? It was worth a try but good luck the votes aren’t there because whatever is perceived good for Mapp, whether it’s good for them or not, will not pass. It’s not about Plainfield, it’s not about a better ordinance. It’s similar to the republican Obama curse – vote against anything Obama.

    Drop it until next year!

    ReplyDelete