Big-spending “dark money” political groups in New Jersey will have to reveal who is funding them after all, lawmakers agreed Monday.
Gov. Phil Murphy, despite vetoing the exact same legislation last month, has now committed to signing it, but his office did not say why. Murphy’s reversal came after it appeared the Democratic-controlled Legislature had the votes to override his veto, which would have been the first override in more than 20 years.
In Murphy’s May 13 conditional veto, he said aspects of the bill “may infringe” on “constitutionally protected speech” and that it also did not “go far enough in mandating disclosures of political activity that can be constitutionally required.”
“Dark money” refers to untraceable, unreported dollars spent to influence politics and voter decisions. So when New Jersey residents see a television ad featuring an ominous voice criticizing a legislator and urging New Jerseyans to “call Senator X and say you disapprove,” a viewer has no way of knowing what special interest is behind those words.