Elected officials are missing another opportunity to show leadership on campaign finance reform in the wake of the Birdsall Engineering case. Instead of giving back their Birdsall campaign contributions, we must ask whether criminalizing politics and putting companies out of business because of campaign contributions is good public policy.
The recent prosecution of New Jersey engineering firm Birdsall Services Group Inc. has reignited debate over the state’s campaign finance laws, particularly those provisions that call for criminal sanctions.
The company recently agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges of first-degree money laundering and second-degree making false representations for government contracts. The unfortunate result is that assistants, clerks and low level engineers who had nothing to do with the “crimes” are losing their jobs and may be unemployed for a long time in this down market.
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