SENATE, No. 341

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.

District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)

Senator  MICHAEL J. DOHERTY

District 23 (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Restricts certain campaign contributions by public employee labor organizations.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act restricting certain campaign contributions by public employee labor organizations and supplementing P.L.1973, c.83 (c.19:44A-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature find and declares that:

     a.     In our representative form of government, it is essential that individuals who are elected to public office have the trust, respect and confidence of the citizenry;

     b.    All individuals, business, associations, and other persons have a right to participate fully in the political process of New Jersey, including making and soliciting contributions to candidates, political parties and holders of public office;

     c.     Nevertheless, when a labor organization that represents public employees makes reportable contributions to influence the terms and conditions of employment for its members, this constitutes a violation of the public’s trust in government and raises legitimate public concerns about whether the relationship between the public employer and labor organization is untainted and is conducted in the public’s interest in important matters of public policy and in the maintenance of the public finances;

     d.    The infusion of funds donated by labor organizations into the political process at all levels of government has generated widespread cynicism among the public that these organizations are unduly influencing elected officeholders;

     e.     Political action committees established by labor organizations spend more than other special interest political action committees and spend the most money;

     f.     For the purposes of protecting the integrity of government  decisions and of improving the public’s confidence in government, it is a compelling interest of this State to prohibit labor organizations, and their affiliated units and locals, from contributing to candidates, political parties and holders of public office;

     g.    There exists the perception that campaign contributions are often made to a State or county political party committee by a labor organization seeking favor with State elected officials, with the understanding that the money given to such a committee will be transmitted to other committees in other parts of the State, or is otherwise intended to circumvent legal restrictions on the making of political contributions or gifts directly to elected State officials, thus again making elected State officials beholden to those contributors;

     h.    Although the right of individuals, business, and labor organizations to make campaign contributions is unequivocal, that right may be limited, even abrogated, when such contributions promote the actuality or appearance of public corruption;

     i.     It is essential that the public have confidence that the selection of State, county, and local contractors is based on merit and not on political contributions made by such contractors and it is essential that the public have trust in the processes by which taxpayer dollars are spent;

     j.     It is essential that the public have confidence that the terms and conditions of collective negotiations agreements are negotiated at arms-length and that the public have trust in the processes by which such agreements are negotiated; and

     k.    The Legislature must safeguard the integrity of State, county, and local government labor negotiations processes by insulating the negotiations of terms and conditions of public employment from political contributions that pose the risk of improper influence, purchase of access, or the appearance thereof.

 

     2.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, including the “New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act,” P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.):

     a.     No labor organization that enters into a collective negotiations agreement, including but not limited to a project labor agreement, with the State shall solicit or make a reportable contribution to the State committee of the political party of which the Governor is a member, or to any candidate committee for Governor or Lieutenant Governor or to any State or county political party or of a political party nominating any candidate for Governor or Lieutenant Governor, or to a legislative leadership committee. 

     No such party or committee shall accept such a reportable contribution from a labor organization during the term of a collective negotiations agreement.

     b.    A labor organization that enters into a collective negotiations agreement with the State or a State agency in the Executive Branch shall have a continuing duty to report to the commission any contributions that constitute a violation of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, that are solicited or made during the duration of or the negotiation of a collective negotiations agreement.

     c.     If a labor organization that is a party to a collective negotiations agreement with the State or a State agency in the Executive Branch solicits or makes a reportable contribution during the term of or the negotiation of a collective negotiations agreement, the local, national or other entity of the labor organization making such contribution shall be liable for a penalty of the greater of:

     $10,000 or five percent of the dues paid by regular members of the appropriate labor organization entity in the last 12 months for the first violation;

     $25,000 or ten percent of the dues paid by the regular members of the appropriate labor organization entity in the last 12 months for the second violation; or

     $50,000 or fifteen percent of the dues paid by the regular members of the labor organization entity in the last 12 months for the third violation.

     d.    Reportable contributions of a high-level official of a labor organization that is a party to a collective negotiations agreement with the State or a State agency in the Executive Branch, that are solicited or made during the term of or the negotiation of a collective negotiation agreement shall be considered to be reportable contributions of the labor organization and shall subject the labor organization to the penalties in subsection c. of this section.  In addition, if the commission determines that the high level official willfully and intentionally solicited or made one or more reportable contributions that are limited by this section, the high-level official shall be subjected to a personal penalty for each violation equal to the penalties set forth in subsection 3 of section 22 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-22).

 

     3.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, including the “New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act,” P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.):

     a.     No labor organization that enters into a collective negotiations agreement with a county or municipality shall solicit or make a reportable contribution to any county or municipal committee of a political party in that county or municipality if a member of that political party is serving in an elective public office of that county or municipality or to any candidate committee of any person serving in an elective public office of that county or municipality.

     No such committee shall accept such a reportable contribution from a labor organization during the term of or the negotiation of a collective negotiations agreement;

     b.    A labor organization that is a party to a collective negotiations agreement with a county or municipality or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall have a continuing duty to report to the commission any contributions that constitute a violation of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented that are solicited or made during the duration of or the negotiation of a collective negotiation agreement.

     c.     If an entity that is part of a labor organization that is a party to a collective negotiations agreement with a county or municipality or any agency or instrumentality thereof, makes a reportable contribution during the term of or the negotiation of a collective negotiations agreement, the local, national or other entity of the labor organization shall be liable for a penalty of the greater of:

     $10,000 or five percent of the dues paid by regular members of the appropriate labor organization in the last 12 months for the first violation;

     $25,000 or ten percent of the dues paid by the regular members of the labor organization in the last 12 months for the second violation; or

     $50,000 or fifteen percent of the dues paid by the regular members of the labor organization in the last 12 months for the third violation.

     d.    Reportable contributions of a high-level official of a labor organization that is a party to a collective negotiations agreement with a county or municipality or any agency or instrumentality thereof, that are solicited or made during the term of or the negotiation of a collective negotiations agreement shall be considered to be contributions of the labor organization and shall subject the labor organization to the penalties in subsection c. of this section.  In addition, if the commission determines that the high-level labor organization official willfully and intentionally solicited or made one or more reportable contributions that are limited by this section, the high-level official shall be subjected to a personal penalty for each violation equal to the penalties set forth in subsection 3 of section 22 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-22).

 

     4.    It shall be a violation of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, for a labor organization or high-level official, and shall subject the labor organization and high-level official to the penalties in sections 2 or 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to:

     make or solicit a reportable contribution in violation of this act;

     knowingly conceal or misrepresent a reportable contribution given or received;

     make or solicit reportable contributions through intermediaries for the purpose of concealing or misrepresenting the source of the reportable contribution;

     make or solicit any reportable contribution on the condition or with the agreement that it will be contributed to a committee;      engage or employ a lobbyist or consultant with the intent or understanding that such lobbyist or consultant would make or solicit any reportable contribution, which if made or solicited by the business entity itself, would subject that entity to the provisions of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented;

     fund contributions made by third parties, including consultants, attorneys, family members, and employees;

     engage in any exchange or contributions to circumvent the intent of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented; or

     directly or indirectly, through or by any other person or means, do any act which would subject that entity to the provisions of P.L.2005, c.51 (C.19:44A-20.13 et seq.), as amended and supplemented;

 

     5.    As used in P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "high-level official of a labor organization” means any person authorized to perform the functions of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, or other executive functions of a labor organization, and any member of its executive board or similar governing body; and

     "labor organization" means any organization of any kind, any agency, or employee representation committee, group, association, or plan so engaged in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment, and any conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council so engaged which is subordinate to a national or international labor organization.  This definition includes the national or international labor organization and its member locals including the contracting entity and member locals governed by the collective negotiation agreement at issue and any affiliates of such entities.  The definition shall also include any political committees formed by such labor organization. 

 

     6.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill applies pay-to-play proscriptions to public employee labor organizations at all levels of government.

     The bill prohibits a labor organization that enters into a collective negotiations agreement, including a project labor agreement, with the State from making a reportable contribution to the State committee of the political party of which the Governor is a member, or to any candidate committee for Governor or Lieutenant Governor or to any State or county political party or of a political party nominating any candidate for Governor or Lieutenant Governor, or to a legislative leadership committee.  It also prohibits a labor organization that enters into a collective negotiations agreement with a county or municipality from making a reportable contribution to any county or municipal committee of a political party in that county or municipality if a member of that political party is serving in an elective public office of that county or municipality or to any candidate committee of any person serving in an elective public office of that county or municipality.  A contribution by a high-level official of a labor organization will be considered a contribution by the labor organization.  The bill provides monetary penalties for violations.