Friday, March 24, 2006

NIEMANN HANGS LOCAL LEADERS OUT TO DRY!

"I don't know what PACs we have or how much is in them."
...Chairman Fredrick P. Niemann.


Republicans and others in Monmouth County woke up this morning to a report in the Asbury Park Press on seven "PAC" funds set up around Monmouth County so the County GOP leadership can get around the new "Pay to Play" law. The report was on the front page. Above the fold.
According to the Press, County GOP leaders were quick to take the code of omerta, or silence, and quickly denied any knowledge of the funds:

Fredrick P. Niemann, chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Organization, said Wednesday that he was unaware of the existence of the seven new GOP committees.
"I don't know what PACs we have or how much is in them," he said.

Josh Elkes, finance chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Organization, said he was aware of the seven GOP committees but would not comment further about why they were established or how the funds would be used.

The County GOP's shadowy Executive Director, Dan Gallic, has yet to chime in on his knowledge of this situation.
Freeholder Anna C. Little refused a contribution of $2,600 from the Holmdel Committee for Good Government, stating, "I was unsure of the origin of the funds in the account" and "I don't care to be involved in a scandal."
The PACs were also blasted by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-13) and Holmdel Township Committeeman Terence M. Wall, a freeholder candidate.
The PACs are all titled the (name of town) Committee for Good Government and include funds set up in Aberdeen, Holmdel, Howell, Interlaken, Long Branch, Neptune and Union Beach. Each lists the local GOP municipal chairman as PAC chairman and Glenn Hopler of Middletown Township as treasurer. Hopler is a CPA with the Toms River firm of Holman & Frenia, PC. Toms River is in Ocean County. All the PACs have the address of P. O. Box 7300, Shrewsbury. Three other PACs listed on the Interlaken ELEC report disbursements but without reports of their own are the Committee for Sensible Growth, New Millenium Leadership and the Committee for Small Business Development.
By playing dumb on this, Niemann has hung seven local leaders out to dry.
Of the seven PACs, so far only one may be said to have its days numbered, the Aberdeen Committee for Good Government. On March 9th, on this blog, Aberdeen GOP Chairman Michael Borg said:

"...about two months ago, I asked that it be dismantled, that has yet to be done. I will handle that when I get back from the Federal Law Enforcement Academy, where I have been for the last three weeks, and where I'll continue to be for the next two and half."

We hope that Mr. Borg follows through on this if he hasn't already, and the leaders in the other towns follow suit. It's a shame that Mr. Hopler didn't dismantle it when Mr. Borg asked in the first place.

UPDATE

In the March 25 Asbury Park Press, a follow-up article quotes Fred Niemann as saying the PACs are "perfectly legal"; he then in fine Clintonesque fashion deflects the question with assertations that the New Jersey campaign finance laws are weak.
A number of Republican stalwarts have called for his resignation.
At the Affilliated Republican Club's candidate's night last night, where the tension could cut glass, Niemann lashed out at his critics, calling them names like "part of al-Qaida in our organization" and "enemies of reform." He has previously used terms like "communists and bomb-throwers." He then came out for public financing of political campaigns.
Mayor Robert D. Wolf III of Interlaken demanded Niemann, "take accountability for turning the Interlaken GOP coffers into a Maytag washing machine."

59 comments:

the inside airbather said...

"Duh,I don't know what PACs we have or how much is in them. Duhhh, hyuk, hyuk, hyuk. I'm so stupid!"

Sharon Migliaccio said...

In Howell we have an Ethics Ordinance, touted by Joe DiBella as the toughest in the state, yet it allows wheeling freely. We have TWO Republican PACs working in Howell, Howell Citizens for Good Government and Howell Committee for Good Government.

Both of the names appeared in 2002 on horrendous, negative personal attack ads in the primary. (Almost, and in some ways worse, as bad as what was directed at me on this board)

In the last election, money was wheeled through The Committee for Responsibility and Trust in Government , through the Howell Citizens for Good Government to Wayne Lucey's campaign.

Money from our own professionals was also wheeled the the 19th District GOP Fund, through one of the offensive PAC's to Wayne Lucey's campaign.

Mayor DiBella has repeatedly justified and defended using money from the PAC's to fund the campaign, even knowing that the money came from professionals working for the township or developers seeking to do business with the township.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

It is also nice to see other elected officials sending back the money and denouncing the use of PACs in this manner.

PACs can be useful, and should not be discounted as a viable tool, but the perversion of the process must stop.

Not good for the public or the party.

Honest Abe said...

The Committee for Responsibility and Trust in Government.

That's been researched by Jackie Corley. Any updates on that, Journalista?

Elephants_not_donkeys said...

Sharon, you raise an interesting point, but what what do you mean by perversion of the system? The Democrats wrote the manual on how to exploit campaign finance loopholes. It is the exact reason why they are flush with cash while the Republicans are not. The PACS are a legal and accepted way of doing business. If it violates the spirit of the law, the loopholes should be closed for botht the elephants AND the jackasses, don't you agree?

I suspect that the problem here is that people simply have an axe to grind with Fred and they will jump on any wave (so to speak) that seems to somehow implicate him. And yet, all he has done since taking over is WIN, under rather tumultuous circumstances. The man has not lost a makor race yet!

Let's be fair, elephants!

Jackie Corley said...

The Comm. for Resp. and Trust in Govt. is a PAC run by Jack Sinagra, essentially for Republicans. Sinagra is seen as having ties to Lynch and the PAC is a haven for developer money, particularly Jack Morris.

Morris is the guy who most recently saw the spotlight because his companies used industrially-contaminated fill for residential projects. His companies have denied knowing the fill was contaminated.

I expect an update on the affiliate thing tomorrow, Abe! I understand Fred was supposed to be hosting? Man, that's gotta be awkward today.

Sue Veitengruber said...

Elephants_not_donkeys said...
"Sharon, you raise an interesting point, but what what do you mean by perversion of the system? The Democrats wrote the manual on how to exploit campaign finance loopholes. It is the exact reason why they are flush with cash while the Republicans are not. The PACS are a legal and accepted way of doing business. If it violates the spirit of the law, the loopholes should be closed for botht the elephants AND the jackasses, don't you agree."

Yes the loophole SHOULD be closed PERIOD! A candidate cannot run on ETHICS while knowingly wheeling contributions for the exact purpose of circumventing the ELEC and pay to play laws. YES, ELEC LAWS! When an individual gives the maximum contribution to each PAC, the PAC can then wheel the money back to the candidate, who may have also received the maximum contribution from the individual.

The Howell Citizens for Good Government actually had to return excess contributions from one donor which then showed up in another PAC. Online access to ELEC repotrs has made it very easy to follow campaign contributions. The wheeling of contributions is not fooling anyone. Wheeling only bring into question a candidate's credibility and intergity.

JIM_PURCELL said...

i hate to say 'i told you so,' but there is that...

Old Hickory said...

Keep it up, republIcan'ts. There will be 2 Democrats sitting in Freehold after Novemnber

JIM_PURCELL said...

ok, so let's take a hard look at this...

a. the gop chairman is full of @^*& and is pretty much weird. I won't dignify the Al Qaeda thing;

b. mike borq didn't tell the truth (ala "the county had nothing to do with my election" and "i didn't know...). chairmen are responsible for their shop on their watch... period and i really don't have time for the noises about excuses;

c. the gop's actual brain trust: jim, geri, pam, abe, bill s., john c., lillian, billy b., bob m., terry w., yeah..you gio, steve g., mary f., norine (well, you're the only one named norine) and mel (and there's only one mel). you guys better fix this thing or you will absolutely deserve to lose in november and i am as serious as a heart attack. you folks know it too and if you don't do it then you deserve whatever is next.

frankly, i always said that "hear no evil, see no evil..." thing was BS and you guys knew it too.

this was everything that people like myself and lorenzo said it was and WE caught it in the neck. it's just how it was. you folks are good people but, frankly, it's time to step up or lose. sorry, it's the truth and you guys know it.

a lot of people were hurt by this guy and no one said anything while he was doing it.

William H Seward said...

JIM_PURCELL said:

" you folks are good people but, frankly, it's time to step up or lose. sorry, it's the truth and you guys know it."

Thanks for that. As you already know most of those you listed have stepped up and are fighting. We will have a new chairman in June, or sooner, and our county ticket will very likely be funded by a grassroots effort this fall..Little is committed to it and two of her potential running mates, Wall and Kleinberg are on record as not being willing to take PAC money. If DiBella is the nominee there will be PAC money on our side.

This is very risky! Will the APP go after the Dems wheeling as hard as they are going after the GOP's? Will The Courier and the other weeklies? Will the Dem candidates foresake PAC money? Has anyone asked them? Jim, will you ask them?

Anna Little's election last month indicates that the rank and file is fed up with the nonsense and wants candidates and party leadership that are clean and in the game for the right reasons. Will the rank and file get their checkbooks out?

Elephants_not_donkeys said...

WOW. "Former" Union Beach Democratic Chairman Jim is giving Republicans heartflet advice. HA!

Fred WINS when others would lose. Loopholes need to be fixed so BOTH parties stop exploiting them. Everyone is guilty or everyone is innocent.

The loopholes need to be closed. The standards need to be raised. But don't blame Fred for playing the game according to the current rules. Don't hold him to a different standard than anyone else.

Perhaps Donkey Jim will endorse Mel or Ed for Chairman - the dozen or so of you who actually read the Courier will recall the glowing coverage of those two a few short weeks ago.

Donkey Jim amd Chairman Vic are licking their chops at the prospect of having you elephants do their dirty work: removing Fred and substituting in a far less talented individual.

They don't like Fred because Fred WINS. He hasn't lost a major election yet!!!

Jackie Corley said...

Fred has won in spite of himself, not because of any skill as a campaigner. The man couldn't even win his own committee seat.

The R's only won the freeholder race last year because the APP endorsed Unger and the Dems managed to trip over themselves. In the process, the R's faced numerous municipal losses. That happened because of Fred's incompetence.

With any poor chairman, the Mon. GOP isn't going to lose everything in the 2-yr. period he or she hold the reins. The machine that was built up over the past couple decades is too strong for that.

The municipal losses represent a slow cancer that will spread to the county level and legislative district level soon enough. I don't seen how the party sustains the divisions Fred has created.

And the PAC stuff is not going to just vanish because it was a loophole. Fred grossly exploited that loophole and then through the blame on local leaders. Those local leaders were likely the last remaining supporters Fred has, and now he's gone and threw them to the wolves.

Even Handlin doesn't seem to support him anymore.

Where can he go from here?

Somebody better get it together fast. The Dems this year actually apear organized and frothing at the mouth for a win. If they don't trip over themselves as they have in the past, you guys will be facing a problem. And if DiBella is selected as freeholder you may as well count your losses now.

JIM_PURCELL said...

elephants:

it's not the dems that got nailed with wheeling. so far, there hasn't been a word about dems. so, before you go throwing any rocks i suggest you close up the great big gaping holes in your own house and stop speculation without one shred of evidence.

i became a democrat because i was one of those stupid enough to believe in fred very early on but not glassy eyed enough to not allow myself to see the truth. he's a bad guy and, by the way, he did lose...in declan's race. and, that's one more loss than bill dowd had in 17 years (he lost bennett, arnone and farragher in like his 18th year).

fred also lost in aberdeen, matawan, keyport, hazlet among other places in monmouth.

you can be "anti-me" all you want. you keep on drinking that punch and waiting for the mother ship. he's a bad guy and does shady things. you want to believe he's the best you can do? well, your sites are set pretty low.

he got elected because he lied through his teeth. i was there... a lot of people were. peddle your prepared partisan monologues down the street.

William H Seward said...

Elephants_not_donkeys said:

"They don't like Fred because Fred WINS. He hasn't lost a major election yet!!! "

And he never will lose a major election, because he as managed his last.

The genesis of Fred's problem is not fundraising or playing by the rules or not. Its a question of leadership. Bill Barham has the same problem. They both live as though their titles give them power. They think that they no longer have to build relationships or sell their agendas. They think people will be, or should be, obedient just because they are the boss. It doesn't work that way in politics. It doesn't really work that way in business either. A boss has to build a team based on strong relationships and mutual respect before their teams will follow.

The rank and file gave Fred the position because they were fed up with the back room deals. He made promises he didn't keep and he stopped building relationships and support.

If Fred had continued to develope his team, proposed the by laws, and explained why we need to raise money the way he's raised it, BEFORE the splatter came off the fan, we wouldn't be in this mess, and he would be a hero for winning last year, with the APP's help or not. Fred is inept at team building. That's why we have this problem and that's why he has to go. The recent news is a sympton, not the cause. The press will make it out as the reason he gets the boot, but its not.

Barham has the same problem. He thinks that just because he is the Director that he will be followed the same way Harry was, or followed the way he was when running his own company. Life doesn't work that way in America.

Fred is already toast, and Bill may not be far behind. Ted may end up as Director yet.

Elephants_not_donkeys said...

Jim, there are no partisan monologues, but for the ones you are levelling. Raise yourself, friend!

You became a Democrat when you released Cap'n Joe had become irrelevant. No big deal, he is your boss and I applaud your loyalty to him. In fact, your arms have to be tired from carrying his water for so many years.

I do agree with WHS's assessment about Fred's problems - and Bill's for that matter.

Finally, I would offer this: Anna will be a tremendous candidate. On that there is no dispute. I find it hilarious that Donkey Jim and his gang of Donkey pranksters continue to write glowing reviews of Terence Wall. Many of you would not know this, as the Courier's circulation is somewhere in the dozens. But they are setting you elephants up! They want Terence as the nominee because he is the one who can be beaten with the least amount of effort! He is a joke!

Release the tapes, Terence! You don't need Serena's authorization - read New Jersey case law!!!!!!

Honest Abe said...

Jackie Corley:
Yeah! The "New Jackie" kicks butt! Purcell should have given you a column. Don't ever apologize for being flip (Chairman Spray-on Tan). Many commentators owe their success to their flipness - Laura Ingraham comes to mind - if that's your style, then go with it!
"The municipal losses represent a slow cancer that will spread to the county level and legislative district level soon enough. I don't seen how the party sustains the divisions Fred has created."
This slow cancer (of neglecting the local organizations) was begun under Bill Dowd, and was one of the complaints against him back in 2004; the only local organization he showed any interest in was Middletown, and that was because he was Township Attorney. Fred's only interest in the locals was to use well-meaning local leaders for his wheeling (PACs) and development (Manalapan mega-mall, anyone?) ends. Now Fred can quote "Otter" from Animal House as he tries to console those local chairmen: "You (messed) up - you trusted us!"

Jim Purcell:
You should have given Jackie a column!
Dowd also lost back in '86: Fred Niemann (yeah, that Niemann) for Surrogate, and Dorothy Avallone & John Bradshaw for freeholders. Also a special 11th District assembly election (88?) where Tom Villane lost to John Villapiano.

Honest Abe said...

Dowd also lost the 1987 Azzolina for State Senate race, Popkin for State Senate the same year (Which brought Frank Pallone from an unknown Long Branch City councilman to the State Legislature, and hence constant headlines.), not to mention every race against Pallone.

Old Hickory said...

THIS NOVEMBER WE'RE BACK! BE THERE ALOHA!

The Big Professor said...

You and your «Republican friends» have chosen a path of self-destruction. The Monmouth voter is awakening. It will be a Democratic awakening, a progressive awakening.
Once awakened, this voter will clean house. Monmouth will then join the enlightened counties of our state!

JIM_PURCELL said...

you know, when people pigeon hole themsleves into labels they do themselves a disservice. the problems in monmouth are not "republican" or "democrat." an honest republican is better than a crooked democrat any day of the week, and vice versa.

it's a fool who puts stock in labels over the talents of people. should four good candidates emerge from the chaos for november then this county will be served well.

there's plenty to work with at the county. during the election of billy and lillian, i was a staunch supporter of theirs and remain so because they are good people who are part of good things that can come.

of course, there was nothing wrong with rebecca or barbara. if they had won it would have been good as well. but, as things turned out, all's well that ends well.

this time out, it is much the same. i do not believe that either lenny or barbara would make bad choices. to the contrary, they would make good choices. BUT, so would anna little. indeed, any of these three taking office would be good for this county.

now...the question isn't settled. who will run with anna? if it's some cast off or hack, is this race of ideas the best we can get in the county...or is it something less. anna does deserve better than lackluster because she has showed up with integrity.

i have always called it the way i saw it and have not played the ridiculous game that the gop's flatterers have for so long, and anyone who knows me knows that.

many of these people have been my friends for years, and where i come from that means something.

numbers_guy said...

Um, no offense, professor, but Monmouth ain't "progressive." We may be having a family squabble but we'll vote for our own come November.

Elephants_not_donkeys said...

Jim,

Are you still doing stand-up comedy? Any upcoming appearances?

I mention this because I saw the ad that you placed in the Courier several months ago.

Tom Apostle said...

Whether Fred stays or goes, one thing is for sure...comments like those from the BIG PROFESSOR will activate the tax payers of Monmouth and vote with the Republicans.

Republicans need to remember this is a party squabble...not a campaign issue...it's a November issue, the number one issue with Monmouth resident's is taxes, taxes, taxes...

Fred or another...after June we will unite...again.

Honest Abe said...

Well said, Tom.

Teddy Roosevelt said...

The genesis of Fred's problem is not fundraising or playing by the rules or not. Its a question of leadership. Bill Barham has the same problem

WELL SAID MR SEWARD

michael borg said...

jim purcell said...b. mike borq didn't tell the truth (ala "the county had nothing to do with my election" and "i didn't know...). chairmen are responsible for their shop on their watch... period and i really don't have time for the noises about excuses;

jim it is you who are the liar, did you bother to ask any of the members of the aberdeen committee, like ed fitzgerald, who ran our campaign. the political piece that was sent out, was written and designed by me, with one article being written by john gartley, and an article partially written by ed fitzgerald. before you call someone a liar you should get your facts straight.

now that you have slandered me, i see no reason to keep confidential any longer the meeting we had in joe azzolina's office when he was courting help for his primary challenge. i don't remember the exact date, but, i believe it was in january, there was one other chairman present. at this point i was going to support joe. but you told me if he lost it was going to be your job to destroy peter carton and amy handlin, as well as others. that turned me off completely. and please stop with the altruistic reasons why you became the dem boss of union beach, you told me that you were going to become the union beach boss if you didn't get one of the county jobs dealing with P.R.

you are the liar

next time try and get your facts right, but, then again you never cared about facts in your reporting.

by the way if your going to give me phone number to call you... you should make sure there is a way to leave a message, unless of course you reall didn't want to have the dialogue in the first place.

Kramer Hall said...

Hey Old Hickory...we should get into this scam!

CICERO said...

A person is not a party. Unity is our goal. Common ideals will unite. If we do not share common ideals then unity is not possible. The Republican Party should stand for certain ideals! It is not an ideal to say,"the dumbocrats do it so we have to also." I have seen no evidence in the County race last year of the alleged infiltration by PAC's which we are responding to. Assembly races, they are different. State interests on both sides give to Assembly races as those factions compete for seats in Trenton. The party looks awful and I find few who wish to adpot the tactics or ethics of the Dumbocrats. If we lose on these ideals of high ethical standards and fiscal integrity, then we lose. I think these are the winning issues. Supporting these ideals will unite the Party.

donkeys rule said...

We democrats are salivating at the prospect of Niemann resigning or choosing not to run again as is rumored. Democrats know and hope (as do I watching from the outside in) as a fairly prominent democrat, (who for some reason maybe because Niemann is so darn good looking with or without his spray on tan) that if Niemann goes, so goes the party's most tactically intuitive guy in years. Dowd, except when he was in his prime 20 years ago, wasn't even close to Niemann's ability. Monmouth was Mayberry under Dowd. You republicans should have lost in '05. I still can't believe you won. Duh... remember operation bigrig, club monmouth, the indictment of your freehold director? I repeat, you should have lost! My prediction, should Niemann leave for whatever reason, 20 to 1 odds, Monmouth is democrat within 2 years. Oh, I love your blog. Great dirt... I'm hooked!

Kramer Hall said...

Mr Donkey...you're right on the money. Let's try and trick them into keeping Fred in office!

JIM_PURCELL said...

michael:

nice drama. you didn't like the azzolina campaign for whatever reason. but, no one wins any races for themselves "destroying" anyone else. the whole "destroying people" thing is a ridiculous doctrine that your folks are all about, not mine. big joe wouldn't go that way, no matter who was squabbling. and, personal likes or dislikes don't venture into campaign time. if anything, it is a time of forced unity (well for sane people).

frankly, you've been one of fred's biggest supporters in the bayshore and your on board with him. great. his administration is about disinformation, exaggeration and cheap theatrics. i don't know, where do you think your latest "revelation" fits?

you don't want to take responsibility for a Republican PAC in your town. OK. That's your thing. Most people think chairmen and chairwomen take responsibility for the operation of their party in their town. You evidently disagree. In your case, that means you had nothing to do with it...not even knowledge. You vilifed Democratic funding during the election but had no idea of the PAC. And, the county didn't have anything to do with your race or your town then. They just had a PAC there, with no knowledge by anyone.

Of course, this is the unvarnished truth then? Involvement by the county and the last race: some? a lot? or none? Your answer was "none." Have anymore stories? People are accountable for what they do in office, by way of voting and deals and how they make their money off office. I know you're not a big fan of accountability by office holders and we should all "hear no evil and see no evil" because of what someone checks off on a voter registration card. but, if you want to try and get fiction published, there's a couple good sites on the web looking for stories. maybe you should put your nonsense there.

meeting...yes. grossman and foley were at that. wonder if they recall any "they will rue the day" speeches?

JIM_PURCELL said...

donkeys rule...can you possibly be more transparent. danny...did someone let you near the computer again?

they know not to do that. go back and tell your sitter what you did and get back to bed.

if you are actually a democrat, donkeys, please turn in your voter registration card as quickly as you can at the nearest board of elections. walk away from the ballot box... that's right...a little farther. good.

JIM_PURCELL said...

oh yeah, i read the not "altruistic" part of the bork post. well, the county thing and the job deal is pretty much a horse whipped dead at this point. no i didn't threaten anyone. and yes, the other paper's editorial was a bunch of bull. and oh yeah, i have witnesses. as for the county job thing. i have made it clear i would, at this point, never accept government employment and would not previously accept it because i refused to throw a dear friend under the bus for bull. oh yeah, witnesses there too.

as for me "hating the republicans," well that would be news for lillian, billy barham, anna little, terry wall, bob mckenna, ted narozanick, jim gianell, steve grossman...getting the idea here, mike? i don't like shady little earth worms who lie and cheat and use tax money and barter favors because they are such big shots. i've turned down "favors" to better my situation. i like my choices. i'll leave the intrigue and frilly little stuff to you.

Elephants_not_donkeys said...

Michael Borg,

You are not the first, nor will you be the last, in a long line of people who know the REAL Jim Purcell. Why, I remember a time when Alex DeSevo was running against Joe Azzolina for Assembly, and Purcell just TRASHED DeSevo in the "Carrier." (We call it that because he just "carries" Azzolina's water). Anyway, fast forward a few years, and when DeSevo was running for Middletown Twp. Committee, Purcell praised him to the high heavens, because, as you know, DeSevo was running against one of Peter Carton's people.

Donkey Jim is a joke (I won't use the other, rude name for Donkey) who has carried Azzolina's water and who writes for, in essence, a Food Circus Circular.

Once the Carrier is no longer circulating, Donkey Jim better hope his stand up comedy career takes off.

Teddy Roosevelt said...

Mr. Purcel I love your double standard.
Captain Joe tried to destroy a number of Middletown Republicans over an economic issue. Yet you say you are not into destroying people.
Come on be honest. You are really about tearing those who do not worship the same icons as you do.
Nobody is buying your schtik

JIM_PURCELL said...

elephants:

there are any number of people in the weekly news field who do not really like courier. last time i checked, being liked by unreasonable people isn't my goal in life. your rant sounds a little like someone i know and he focuses a lot on courier in his diatribes to his readers.

i know you like the "no one reads courier" schtick but it's what it is. oh, no one reads us. that is why blogs are preoccupied with my paper. it's why people from freehold and western monmouth take the trip to northern monmouth to buy us.

and it's why our little web site is doing so poorly. i bet if you try and wish the sky was green hard enough, you might make some more progress then by your current line of wishful thinking.

regardless of who you are, i think your argument about courier being so ill read would be more convincing if you stopped talking about it. have a great night.

Honest Abe said...

Okay. Nothing more about Purcell, The Courier or related topics. It's getting irrelevant.

Honest Abe said...

And old.

ginger Hoffmeier said...

I wonder what the seven towns with these PACs have in common?

ginger Hoffmeier said...

ginger hoffmeier asks...

What do the seven PAC towns have in common?

Sue Veitengruber said...

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articleAID=/20060328/NEWS01/603280361/1004/NEWS01

GOP leader draws ire for terrorist remark
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 03/28/06
BY BOB CULLINANE
AND ANDREA ALEXANDER
STAFF WRITERS

While continuing to deflect criticism over the recently disclosed formation of seven new GOP campaign committees, Monmouth County GOP chairman Fredrick P. Niemann has drawn new fire for a remark he made Friday equating some in his party with terrorists.

"I think it's unfortunate that (Niemann) would stoop that low and throw terms around that offend most Americans," said Gerri Popkin, who resigned her post as deputy chairwoman of the county GOP on Friday.

Popkin and others in the party were rankled by Niemann's comment Friday at a GOP fund-raising event in which he called those who oppose him "part of al-Qaida in our organization."

Freeholder Lillian G. Burry characterized Niemann's remark as a "stupid comment" and Hazlet Republican chairman Steve Grossman labeled it "disgusting."

"Just because someone is against you, to compare them to a terrorist group is not right," Grossman said.

Niemann said he chose the analogy to illustrate what he called the "underground and covert" nature of a faction in the county party that he claims is small, yet subversive.

"These individuals never disclose themselves. They communicate by way of blogs, gossip and rumor," Niemann said. "I know who they are. But I believe in the (Ronald) Reagan commandment: Do not publicly criticize anyone in your party."

The party chairman said he intends to confront this internal turmoil "after our convention April 8," at which candidates for freeholder and surrogate will be chosen.

This latest flap comes on the heels of a controversy that surfaced Friday, after the Asbury Park Press reported that the county GOP party had created seven municipal committees that critics said were designed to exploit a loophole in the state's new pay-to-play law.

That law took effect Jan. 5, and seeks to limit the campaign contributions made by businesses and individuals with government contracts.

The seven new GOP committees, which were formed in October and share the same treasurer and mailing address, all have received contributions from business with Monmouth County contracts.

Their creation elicited harsh criticism from Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin, R-Monmouth, who is a former county freeholder and the sponsor of several bills seeking campaign finance reform.

Handlin said the formation of the seven committees is proof that a serious loophole exists in the pay-to-play regulation laws.

"It appears to me that (the county GOP organization) is doing exactly what was intended by the drafters of this terribly flawed and deceptive law," Handlin said. "None of the so-called campaign financing laws have any meaning at all. They were created with a wink and a nod."

Handlin said her bills would block all corporate and union contributions to candidates and political parties.

"But I can't even get my bills posted," she said. "That speaks volumes about the lack of will in the current legislative majority to enact any real reforms."

In a written statement, state Sen. Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth, said the seven GOP committees represent "another textbook case of abusing the public trust."

She wrote that the county GOP organization "has apparently been working the system to wash and wheel campaign cash throughout the county" and urged legislators to support campaign reform measures she has authored.

The county's Democratic Party organization also has joined the growing debate over the seven committees, asking the state Attorney General's Office to begin an investigation into their formation.

Meanwhile, Monmouth County Freeholder Anna Little, who had returned a $2,600 check that she received from one of the seven committees, said Monday that she misspoke last week when she said Niemann called her to try and convince her to reconsider.

Little said Monday that it was Josh Elkes, the party's finance chairman, and not Niemann, who placed that call. Elkes could not be reached for comment.

But the flap Monday swirled around Niemann's "al-Qaida" remark, made at a GOP fund-raising event in Spring Lake Heights.

"It was a poor choice of words to say the least," said Mel Hood, a member of the Neptune Planning Board who has announced plans to challenge Niemann for the party leadership in June. "There's nothing terroristic about questioning what (Niemann) does."

"I am not part of a terrorist organization," said Atlantic Highlands GOP Chairwoman Jane Frotton, who had called for Niemann to step down. "I am a Republican. This is the time to stand up and protect your town, your candidates and your county committee."

Barbara Muzetska, former board of elections chairwoman, called for Niemann's immediate resignation.

She called his remarks "offensive and not conducive to good Republican leadership."

"Fred Niemann has the Republican organization in a state of chaos," Muzetska said. "He should step aside now and spare the Republican Party any further embarrassment."

Copyright © 2006 Asbury Park Press. All rights reserved.

Sue Veitengruber said...

Listen up, Fred! As someone who opposed YOUR last two choices for Freeholder, I am personally offended by your characterization that "anyone who opposes you as part of the al-Qaida in our organization!"

Your comments denigrate those who lost their lives in 9-11, and the brave men and women who are fighting in Iraq and Afganistan.Your comments seek to inflame hatred against anyone with a different opinion than yours.

There is nothing underground or covert about my loyalties or my lack of support for policies that do not make good sense for Howell or Monmouth County. I post with my name. I disclose who I am.

Incredibly you stood by silently when your last choice for Freeholder and his supporters viciously attacked Sharon Migliaccio, myself, other freeholder candidates, and many others who DARED to disagree with their policies. Now I know why!

I did not give up my right of free speech when I registered as a Republican. Wheeling is NOT an acceptable practice. It brings into question a candidate's integrity, and you are not fooling anyone. Since you have been the GOP County Chair, Howell GOP has opened TWO PACS to support their local candidates rather than fund the campaign through a candidate's campaign committee. "Good government?" I think not. You owe the county, and Monmouth Republicans in particular, an apology for your al-Qaida characterization.

I am sure my coments will buy me opposition in the county committee election, but some things need to be said. And some things, like the future of the Monmouth GOP, are worth fighting for!

Fred Laden said...

"These indiviuals never disclose themselves. They communicate by way of blogs, gossip and rumor. I know who they are but I believe the the Reagan commandment: Do not publicaly criticize anyone in your party."

Now be quiet Sue

Honest Abe said...

Huh?

Fred Laden said...

Honest Abe said...
"Huh?"


I've heard enough of your camel dung too,Honest Ibrahim bin-Tuma al-Linqun !

John Paul Jones said...

Fred Niemann calling Republicans who disagree with him an "Al-Qaeda Contingent" is outrageous! How could he compare members of the Republican Party to the scum of the earth? He needs to apologize or he should resign. I am very insulted by this remark.

He was damn lucky that the Green Party candidate siphoned votes from the Dems in the last election. We need Freeholders that aren't suits, a million years old or someone's lap dog. If not we will lose in the future.

Sue Veitengruber said...

Fred Laden said...
"I believe the the Reagan commandment: Do not publicaly criticize anyone in your party."

Too bad Fred didn't practice that himself, or speak up when his freeholder choice and his supporters were viciously attacking Sharon Migliaccio, myself, other freeholder candidates, and many others who DARED to disagree with their policies.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

Not to mention no censure or apology from/for Brian Nelson for threatening me with legal action.

I should thank them. So many others have approached me since the vindictiveness on this board with words of support. I truly appreciate those thoughts during a difficult period.

All will come out in the wash...hopefully sooner than later.

john doe said...

JOE DIBELLA ENDORSEMENTS ANNOUNCED:

FRED NIEMANN AND JOHN BENNETT

GO JOE GO!
GO FRED GO!
GO JOHN GO!

NIEMANN, DIBELLA AND BENNETT

NOW THAT'S GOOD EATIN'

Edward Bates said...

Say what you may about Nelson, but I can tell you first hand he was probably one of the first people to take issue with Niemann. You may be suprised who your friends and your enemies are. It's not as clear as it may appear.

ginger Hoffmeier said...

ginger hoffmeier said...

How did DiBella even get on the short list for Freeholder? Besides being a newcomer to Monmouth County he has managed to alienate almost everyone in Howell including those who previously supported him. No easy task!

Don't mistake me for a Sue-rooter. We have had some very bitter battles. For that matter, Sharon and I often disagree. But when it comes to DiBella there are a lot in Howell who have come to doubt his intentions and also his capablities.

Some of his recent decisions and statements regarding massive zone changes to allow any sort of transient use hotel ala Lakewood all along Route 9 have amazed everyone with it short-sightedness and lack of common-sense.

His willingness to take on the burden of cleaning up an unknown amount of polution on the Frequency Engineering Property shows a lack of logic and misplaced optimism that we don't need to see on the county level.

Have some faith in the residents of Howell. As much as we would like to see a Freeholder from here, this is the absolute worse choice (well, almost) we would rather the seat go to someone who understands the value of Monmouth County.

Kramer Hall said...

Fred stole my picture!

Kramer Hall said...

ginger hoffmeier said...

"How did DiBella even get on the short list for Freeholder?"

He wasn't qualified for the tall list.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

Nice post, Ginger. You summed up the issue succinctly.

Howell is in litigation 12 ways to Sunday(these are NEW lawsuits), paying professionals to do studies and write ordinances that have not been even half thought out, and when the public shows up outraged, DiBella says, whoa, we didn't REALLY mean to pass that ordinance, we just wanted feedback.

That's why there is a section named, "Discussion Items" on the Council agenda....so they can have a public discussion on the issue BEFORE they pay a professional to write an ordinance.

It is embarrassing to note that Howell has just entered another chapter of a "long and arduous history" with COAH over an agreement voted on by this council.

As for you, Ed...referring to Nelson as my enemy gives him a lot more importance in my world than he warrants. He is misguided and will learn some hard lessons along the way. I really could not care less whether he likes Fred or not. And as long as he doesn't email any more threats to me and doesn't threaten me at a public function again, he and I will get along fine. It's a BIG county, there should be room for both of us.

Honest Abe said...

Kramer Hall addressed...
"Fred stole my picture!"


Looks like he gave it back!

William H Seward said...

Honest Abe said...
"Kramer Hall addressed...
"Fred stole my picture!"


Looks like he gave it back! "

No, I had to get another one. I hope Barney Fife can find the old one!

CICERO said...

The ill-advised scratchings of the "Chairman" in today's APP are akin to saying "I need to throw grease balls in baseball because the hitters are too good." What does he mean. Will he and his minions comply with new tougher campaign finance reforms if passed. I guess!The legality of these PAC's will be determined by others in the State government. The true political problem is that they fail the smell test, and for that the voters may punish innocent candidates this year. In 2005 the 4.5 million spent was almost entirely spent in the three legislative races. These monies are raised by the huge Trenton fundraising machine to continue to hold their Dumbocrat majorities. These monies do not represent efforts of Monmouth County Dumbocrats. About $1.5 million in the 11th and 12th. Money didn't matter we won 3 out of 4, and Declan O' Scanlon would have won the fourth if we had executed the time tested absentee ballot project abandoned by the "Chairman". So much for the "Chairman's" theory: $$$$=victory. If you add in the more meager resources spent in the 13th we won 5 out of 6. It is the quality of our candidates and their message that won. Complying explicitly and implicitly with existing campaign finance laws our message somehow got out. The Dumbocrats executed their annual dollar drop in October funded by interests from Washington organized by Congressmen who unfortunately represent most of our County. A cash drop which is unarguably legal. Do not get me wrong they Dumbocrats have had their fundraising scandals. Spalliero in Howell and a $10,000 fine for ELEC violations for their now convicted former treasurer to name a few.

ginger Hoffmeier said...

ginger hoffmeier wonders...

I wonder what the towns blessed with the seven new PACs have in common. Perhaps "good government" means building more, building higher, or just fast forwarding the approval process for developers?

Read through this post and you will see why I would love some explanations about the true purpose of these new PACs.

Two of the seven "Committees for Good Government" interest me in particular, Howell Committee for Good Government, and Neptune Committee for Good Government, because I live in one and have old family ties in the other.

Months ago I got a call from someone in Howell's United Republican Club. It was someone I consider a friend and beleive we share a mutual respect for each other in spite of some differences. The reason for calling me was to pick my brain about a possilble development in Ocean Grove (a section of Neptune) they were considering investing in.

I gave my two cents honestly and said that any investment in Ocean Grove was a good one. No specific plans or properties were discussed.

They then asked me if I knew the 'new president' of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, (the owners of most of Ocean Grove's land) and asked my opinion of him. They inferred that the investment hinged on the cooperation of the president of the OGCMA. Could they trust him?

I said yes, I knew the president and thought highly of him -- thinking they meant John Shaw, someone I knew for many years and who seemed to be doing a good job as OGCMA's president for several years. At least, there were no more complaints about him than the usual ones about every president bandied about.

Months AFTER this phone call I learned that there had been a highly unusual and rather hostile (from all reports) takeover of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Someone had apparently been lobbying hard behind the scenes against John Shaw and at what was supposed to be only be a budget meeting overthrew him and replaced him with a man named Rasmussen, who I never heard mention of before. Well, I don't pretend to know everyone!

Apparently the "new president" my URC friends were talking about was really new!

According to reports the Rasmussen supporters did serious behind the scenes lobbying and new aged, non-active trustees in from around the country to vote at a blind-siding move to de-seat John Shaw. This was out of the blue and in over a hundred years had never happened before. Why now?

I wondered why Rasmusson (or anyone not completely involved in the religious history and tradition of Ocean Grove) wanted this position that bad? It's a lot of work, and no glory. At best, you can only make some of the people happy some of the time and even the happy ones will complain a few times about the Sunday speakers or the Saturday night entertainment.

The quest for power one associates with political office doesn't apply to this position either.

But here's where it gets interesting -- or confusing...

Very shortly after the new president was seated it was announced that a new hotel, condos, and shops got the approval of the new OGCMA president and his board of trustees for the north end of the beach.

Although something was being talked about for that prime site since the original building there burned down in the 70s the plan was fast-forwarded and a development group was selected and awarded the project.

Now flash back to my phone call from my friends in the United Republican Club. How did THEY know a new OGCMA president was going to be elected before the regular elections, and before anyone else -- including the regular OGCMA insiders -- knew about it? How did THEY know he would be in favor of fast-forwarding this project?

WHY was the developer seeking investors even before they got the project? Was Committee for Good Goverment PAC money used to lobby a religious organization who happens to own the land in Ocean Grove?

Another project for almost 100 condos is also being "fast forwarded" on another Ocean Grove site on land that I beleive is owned by the OGCMA. Wow. Talk about fast forwarding!

Besides the coincidence of an URC member not involved with the OGCMA knowing about it's 'new president' before anyone else had a clue, and being asked to invest in a project that wasn't even proposed yet, another coincidence comes to mind.

Howell's United Republican Club put an 18 year old kid on the Howell Planning Board in spite of many applications from more qualified residents. His name, coincidentally is Rasmussen.

Gannon, Republican fundraiser, builder, and power in Ocean Grove is also the brother of Howell's Tom Gannon.

Two Gannons and two Rasmussens and two towns who have been blessed with a "committee for good government." Both towns are being swamped with major development projects requiring zoning changes and/or major variances.

I don't know if this is all just coincidence. Gannon's restorations in Ocean Grove are the best and have kept the historical feeling of the town, and I have no idea how well Rasmussen will do as the president of the OGCMA, but like all mysteries it would be nice to know "who done it" and how does it end.