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Gov. Phil Murphy Deputy Chief Counsel Parimal Garg.

State appeal on decision allowing banks, utility companies to make independent expenditures unlikely

By Nikita Biryukov, June 23 2021 3:52 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration signaled it does not intend to appeal a federal court decision allowing regulated industries, like banks and utility companies, to make independent expenditures on behalf of legislative and gubernatorial candidates.

“No news on the appeal, but I would just note that Judge Martinotti’s decision was very consistent with what the attorney general asked for,” said Parimal Garg, Murphy’s chief counsel.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Martinotti on Monday ruled banks and other regulated industries could make independent expenditures but stopped short of striking a 1911 law that barred them from making direct campaign contributions.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal argued the law did not bar the regulated industries from making independent expenditures, which was news to the New Jersey Bankers Association, which launched the legal challenge claiming the prohibition infringed on their First Amendment rights.

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