The New Jersey State League of Municipalities has been sued under New Jersey’s open records law by Fair Share Housing, a pro-affordable housing group. Fair Share wants access to the League’s records, because the League, a lobbying association, has been lobbying against legislation valued by Fair Share.
In the lobbying business in New Jersey, it’s not a level playing field, Fair Share notes. They have to raise private money from private donors to fund their grassroots lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, the powerful League is funded by taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists. As the League boasts on its website, “Every bill pending before the Legislature which might affect localities is evaluated by the League’s 100-member Legislative Committee, and aggressively opposed or supported by the League’s lobbying team in concert with local officials around the state.”
Fair Share says that if the lobbyists are paid for with taxpayer dollars, then taxpayers have a right to see their records. The League says this is a frivolous lawsuit. A Superior Court judge seems to be treating it seriously, however.