By Art Gallagher
Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Hirsh Singh told MMM that he has not complied with the Cease and Desist letter sent to him last week by the NJ Attorney General’s Office and that he thinks the letter might actually be a political dirty trick orchestrated by Bill Palatucci, New Jersey’s Republican National Committeeman and long term advisor to former Governor Chris Christie.
Singh, who is battling Rik Mehta, Natalie Rivera and Tricia Flanagan for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Cory Booker, mailed a letter to Republican primary voters encouraging them to request a duplicate ballot from their County Clerk if they had been “hoodwinked” into filling their ballot for Mehta.
The mailer was condemned as encouraging voter fraud by Republican leaders throughout New Jersey, including Palatucci. The Attorney General’s Office emailed Singh and, Singh alleges, the press a letter demanding that he stop distribution of the mailer and that he surrender the mailing list of voters to whom it was sent.JULY-7-PRIMARY-US-SENATE
Singh told me on the phone yesterday that the first email he received from the AG’s Office did not have the letter attached. He responded to the email indicating that there was no attachment and immediately received back an email with the attached letter and an apology for the first email. Singh said the letter appeared on reporters’ twitter feeds at the same moment he received it.
Singh said he immediately called the phone number on the letter which was not answered. He sent another email asking for good phone number. There has been no response to that June 25 email, he said.
Singh declined to share those emails with me because of the confidentiality language at the bottom of them. “That could get me in real trouble,” he said.
“Have you surrendered your mailing list to the Attorney General?” I asked Singh. “I need to be sure that letter is for real before I do anything,” he responded.
The candidate said he has not engaged an attorney to handle this matter for him.
Deputy Attorney General George Cohen, the signer of the Cease and Desist letter, has not yet responded to my email of 6:57 p.m. last night seeking to confirm the veracity of the letter and to confirm that Singh has emailed him seeking a phone call.
UPDATE: At 9:08 this morning the NJ Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the Cease and Desist Letter is authentic.
“The Division of Law sent the letter on behalf of its client, the Secretary of State (which includes the NJ Division of Elections.) Any follow-up you have should be directed to that department,” Leland Moore, spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, said in an email to MMM.
“In addition, your reporting that “the Attorney General’s Office emailed Singh and the press a letter” is inaccurate. Our office did not provide the letter to any press. “
This conversation with Singh happened during a phone call last evening wherein he offered me an “exclusive” of his press release stating that he would accept an apology from Palatucci and the other Republican leaders who have condemned his letter and called on him to end his campaign for U.S. Senate. He said my publishing his press release verbatim was the condition of the exclusive.
Singh’s press release had landed in my inbox a half hour prior, but I played along with his attempted hoodwink, decling to promise to print it verbatim until I reviewed it and discussed it with him.
Regarding Singh’s allegation that Palatucci, “Chris Christie’s lower level aide,” has conspired with Republican leaders and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to steal the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, Palatucci said, “Hirsh is a liar with a desperate campaign and he knows it.”
“When I was on Donald Trump’s private jet in 2016 with Gov. Christie after his endorsement of candidate Trump, Hirsh Singh was nowhere to be found,” Palatucci continued. “Candidate Trump collected 20 of 21 county endorsements in 2016 and no one claimed they were rigged or run by the establishment. Not even Mr. Singh.”