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Hoboken City Hall.

Hoboken Dems want pay-to-play law untouched until after November

By Nikita Biryukov, September 25 2019 10:44 am

Hoboken’s Democratic Municipal Committee members called for the city’s campaign finance ordinance to be preserved through the end of this year’s council races Wednesday.

“Hoboken’s municipal elections are coming in November.  Candidates have already collected and submitted petitions, and ballot positions have been assigned.  All this has happened under the current campaign finance law,” 25 of the city’s Democratic committee people said in a letter. “Now, only weeks from the election, changing those laws would be tantamount to changing the rules mid-game.  Such an outcome would be unacceptable and antithetical to democratic norms.”

Earlier this month, an outside review found Hoboken’s pay-to-play law would likely not stand up to a court challenge.

The measure limits the maximum direct contribution political action groups can make to $500, a figure that’s $2,100 lower than the maximum allowed under state law.

The outside review said a judge would likely find the law unconstitutionally limits the political speech of PACs and other similar groups.

The Hoboken City Council is set to vote on campaign finance measures on Thursday. Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who is running a slate of council candidates against the city’s incumbents, has called for the law to be kept intact until after the year’s races.

His candidates have signed a pledge to abide by the local law. Most council incumbents have not.

“The fear that ‘Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity,’ is as true in Hoboken as it is in Washington,” the letter said.

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