Petition filed to repeal “Matt’s Law”; Belmar’s loosened pay to play ordinance

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty

The Committee of Petitioners to repeal Belmar’s recently passed Ethics Ordinance that would allow Borough elected officials seeking higher office to accept campaign contributions from town vendors, developers, professionals and liquor licensees and accept anonymous contributions under $300 submitted 326 signatures to Borough Clerk April Claudio today, according to Committee Member Katrina Clapsis.

Claudio confirmed the receipt of the petition.

Dubbed “Matt’s Law” by locals because the timing of the Ordinance’s introduction and passage coincided with Mayor Matt Doherty’s announcement that he is running for Monmouth County Freeholder, the measure is now subject to repeal by the Borough Council or a referendum within 40-90 days of the signatures being certified by Claudio. 61 more signatures than need to force a repeal or referendum were submitted, according to Clapsis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Belmar, Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, Matt Doherty, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

NJEA Spent Nearly $60M on Campaigns and Lobbying in Past 15 Years

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, News, NJLRA | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

National group gives NJ contractors a new way to influence elections

National group gives NJ contractors a new way to influence elections (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — New Jersey government contractors banned from making major campaign contributions to state and local politicians are now donating big to a national Republican group that is showering the Garden State GOP with money, a Star-Ledger review…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, George Gilmore, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on National group gives NJ contractors a new way to influence elections

Watchdog group puts Menendez, Andrews on ‘most corrupt’ list

Watchdog group puts Menendez, Andrews on ‘most corrupt’ list (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has joined the list of the nation’s 13 “most corrupt” members of Congress, according to a report issued today by a watchdog organization, making New Jersey home to two lawmakers with ethical clouds hanging over…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Zipprich Has More Campaign Cash Than Angelini and Casagrande Combined

Assembly candidate Ed Zipprich and Senator Barbara Buono and NY's Gay Pride Parade, 6/30/13 facebook photo

Assembly candidate Ed Zipprich and Senator Barbara Buono and NY’s Gay Pride Parade, 6/30/13 facebook photo

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich, a Democratic candidate for Assembly in the 11th legislative district, announced today that he has outraised his Republican opponents, Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande, over the last two fundraising periods and that he has more cash on hand than Angelini and Casagrande combined.

RED BANK–  Today, Ed Zipprich, candidate for New Jersey Assembly (NJ-11), announced that he has outraised his opponents, Mary  Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande, over the last two fundraising  periods.  Zipprich raised a total of $21,793 during the pre and  post-primary reporting periods while Angelini and Casagrande combined to raise a total of $12,200.  Additionally, Zipprich has $42,819 on hand  compared to Angelini and Casagrande’s combined $37,873–$23,966 on hand for  Angelini and 13,907 for Casagrande.”

“I am humbled by the amount of support I’ve received across the 11th district,” said Zipprich.  “It shows our campaign is building momentum  and that voters are starting to pay attention to the differences between myself and my opponents.  Whether it’s on raising the minimum wage,  ending special tax breaks for millionaires, or finally bringing marriage equality to New Jersey, the residents of the 11th  district know I will fight for them.”

MMM verified Zipprich’s numbers at the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 11th Legislative District, 2013 Election, Barbara Buono, Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, Caroline Casagrande, Ed Zipprich, ELEC, Elections, Mary Pat Angenlini, Monmouth Democrats, SEIU | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Unity or Strange Bedfellows in the Monmouth GOP?

Anna Little, with good reason, has been taking credit for John Bennett’s election as Monmouth GOP Chairman.  If not for Little endorsing her benefactor and encouraging the County Committee members who are also Tea Party activists to vote for Bennett, Christine Hanlon would be Chairwoman.

Little’s reward, whatever it is, will come sometime after she loses to Frank Pallone in November.

The biggest change that Bennett has made since taking over the helm of the Monmouth GOP six weeks ago is to start to make good on his campaign promise to raise the money necessary for county campaigns.   He has informed the Monmouth GOP ticket of Freeholders John Curley and Serena DiMaso, as well as County Clerk Claire French, not to worry about rasing money for the fall campaign.  He has instructed office holders not on the ballot this fall, including the legislative delegation and the sheriff, all of whom have campaigns next year, to suspend their fund raising activities effective August 1 so as not to compete with his efforts for the current campaign.

But how will he raise the money?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Anna Little, Brookdale Community College, Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, Christine Hanlon, CME Associates, ELEC, Frank Pallone, Freeholder, John Bennett, John Curley, Middlesex County Democrats, Middletown Democrats, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments »

Monmouth Democrats 2ndQ ELEC report not filed. Missing?

Monmouth GOP Team reports $83,000 cash on to hand

The Monmouth Democratic Party’s second quarter campaign finance report, due July 15th, has not been posted on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website as of this afternoon.  Dem Chairman Vin Gopal told MMM that the report was filed with ELEC, along with the report designating him as the new chairman, on July 10th.  Gopal said he would contact ELEC resolve the problem.

At the end of the first quarter, the Monmouth Dems had $6,305.14 cash on hand and was $78,025 in debt.  Over $60K of the debt was owed to then County Chairman Victor Scudiery.  Gopal said that the second quarter report “was pretty much the same, less than $10,000 on hand.”

The Democratic county candidates, Kevin Lavan and Bill Shea for Freeholder and Michael Steinhorn for Clerk, have $64.14 between them as of their post-primary reports.  Lavan and Steinhorn each told ELEC that they were not raising or spending money for the primary race.  Shea raised over $20K, but spent all but $64.14 in the uncontested primary.

The Monmouth GOP appears to be in better shape.  The GOP committee reported $34,790.31 in cash as of June 30th.    In their post-primary reports, Freeholder Director John Curley reported $22,554.81 in cash; Freeholder Serena DiMaso reported $11,401.19 and County Clerk Claire French reported $14,673.21.

Monmouth County  Republican Chairman John O. Bennett III has instructed all county and state elected officials, with the exception of this year’s candidates, to suspend raising money as of August 1 so as to not compete with his fundraising activities for the coming county campaign.  Bennett promised Curley, DiMaso and French that he would raise the funds necessary for the fall campaign.

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, ELEC, Elections, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Middlesex County PACs Update

Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Peter Barnes is responding to the controversy over the Middlesex County PACs that are circumventing the State’s pay to pay laws by ranting that Governor Christie is doing the same thing, according to a story at Politickernj that also takes credit for breaking the PACs story last month, even though Harold V. Kane broke the story here at MMM last September.

Someone should tell Barnes, and Politickernj’s Darryl Isherwood, that Democratic NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is employing the exact same fund raising technique to promote his agenda in New York that Christie is using in New Jersey.

All of this ranting about PACs and 501(c)4’s circumventing the pay to pay laws is silly.  The campaign finance system is working exactly the way it was designed to work.  It decreases transparency and gives politicians something to shout at each other about while the public tunes out to pay attention to something more entertaining.   That’s what the system was designed to do!

Note to Isherwood:  The New York Times broke the story about Cuomo’s use of a 501(c)4.

Posted: May 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Cuomo, Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, Chris Christie | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Turning up the heat on Middlesex County pay to play scandal

Politickernj writers Darryl Isherwood and Max Pizarro posted an in depth piece yesterday afternoon that exposes an incestuous web of influence driving planning, zoning and development approvals before the Middlesex County Freeholder Board and several municipal planning boards in the county.  

State Senator Bob Smith of Piscataway is the leader of the PACs that fund the campaigns of the Freeholders and municipal officials who approve the applications.  The applicants are donors to the PACs.  Smith is the applicants’ attorney.

It’s all legal.  And no one would know about it if not for Harold Kane of Monroe Township painstakingly examining thousands of pages of ELEC reports to find out where all the Middlesex Democratic money was coming from and the good journalists at Politickernj and The Star Ledger following the money.

Smith, the Senator working the system, and Peter Barnes, the Assemblyman and Middlesex County Democratic Chairman who’s candidates benefit from the system, know the solution to this “craziness.”   Barnes said that “any impetus to close the hole lies with the legislature.”  Smith said, “There is a solution to the craziness we have now and that is publicly financed elections – or complete transparency. “In New Jersey, we have nothing but chaos. The state needs one set standard across the state.”

Where is their legislation?   Smith and Barnes are both powerful members of the legislature.  They obviously know how the work the system.  They know how to fix it. 

Sponsor the legislation gentlemen.  Publicly financed elections won’t work.  Complete transparency will.

Here’s a campaign finance system that would be transparent:

1) Remove all limits on campaign contributions.

2) Require that all candidates and campaigns disclose all contributions of any amount on a dedicated website within 24 hours of receipt.

3) Competing campaigns, good citizens like Kane, and good journalist will examine the donations and expose influence.  Voters will decide if the influence is acceptable of not.

Correction: Peter Barnes, Jr, the Middlesex Democratic Chairman is no longer in the legislature.  His son, Peter III is an Assemblyman.

Now there are two Barnes and a Smith who can advocate for legislation that creates complete transparency.

Posted: April 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, ELEC, Middlesex County Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

5.7% turnout for school board elections

Marlboro and Neptune Township held school board elections yesterday.   Of the 45,035 registered voters in the the two townships, 2,618 voted.

By far most of those voters were from Marlboro, where over 2000 people came out.  In Neptune, less than 600 of aproximately 16,000 registered voters came out.

As of February 18, there was 24,926 registered voters in Marlboro and 15,865 in Neptune Township, according to Labels and Lists.  The county website says there were 45, 035 eligible voters in yesterday’s election.  Where those 4,244 new voters came from since February could be the subject of a future column.  In the meantime GOP leaders should take note that someone seems to be having a voter registration drive in Democratic towns.

For now I’d like to speculate about why there was a close to normal 10% turnout in Marlboro while only 3% turned out in Neptune.

One obvious reason could be competition.  In Marlboro, there were 7 candidates for 3 seats on the school board.  In Neptune, the 3 seats were not contested.

A not so obvious reason could be campaign spending.  In Marlboro one of the candidates, Bonniesue Rosenwald, mailed out a professionally produced post card late last week which included an endorsement from Mayor Jon Hornick.  Rosenwald, an incumbent, squeaked out a third place finish by 13 votes to retain her seat.

Some in Marlboro were upset that Rosenwald and Hornick politicised a school board election.  I say politicisation increases participation.

With the recent and perennial hubbub about campaign spending and pay to play, few of the critics of the pay to play/PAC/wheeling system are offering alternatives.  No one is talking about the public service campaign spending provides.

If not for campaign signs littering our roadways and lawns and mail boxes filled with glossy advertisements  few people would know when to interrupt their routines to vote.

With the arguable exception of presidential and gubernatorial elections, the media, local and national, does a horrible job of covering campaigns.  The media looks as electioneering as a revenue source,  not a story to be covered as if democracy depends upon it.

Current campaign finance laws thwart participation by limiting contributions and making the process more complicated.  The process is so complicated that only the most motivated and self interested contribute.  Recently, pundits at The Star Ledger, The Asbury Park Press and even the usually smarter than that InTheLobby criticised the John Wisniewski/Middlesex County PAC practices for violating the spirit of campaign finance laws.   Hogwash.  The complex system that reduces transparency is the spirit of our campaign finance laws.

If our leaders really want to reform the system, rather than give lip service to ethics while voting for a bill with “loopholes” intentionally written in, the would create a simple system with full and immediate disclosure required.

Posted: April 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, Elections, Pay-to-play | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »