Saturday, October 28, 2006


This was originally part of the previous post. We separated it because we believe this issue to be important enough for its own post. HA

We found other things while surfing ELEC. One is that the Aberdeen, Hazlet and Middletown Democrats' reports all seem to be in the same handwriting, although they each have different treasurers. Weird I know. Also, of the ten Bayshore towns, six have not filed ELEC reports for their Democratic County Committee in years. They are Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport and Matawan. So a whole "cottage industry" of fundraising and spending could be going on, below ELEC's radar. In fact it is; sometimes it appears:

  • Hazlet: On Oct. 24, 2005 we have a $2,600.00 contribution from a "Democratic Club of Hazlet" to the local Dem campaign. No ELEC reports filed by this club, so we don't know how much money it has, or where it came from.
  • Keyport: On Oct. 14, 2005 the "Keyport Democratic Club" gave $5,000.00 to the local Democratic campaign. No ELEC report for that club, either.
  • Matawan: This one was a little involved to find, but we found it while looking for payments to Courier. The 2005 Democratic campaign closed out its accounts by contributing to a future 2008 local campaign. OK, it's legal, and there are ELEC reports for the '08 account. There aren't ELEC reports to be found for "Matawan Democrats", which received $500.00 from the 2008 campaign fund.
  • Middletown: There appears to be a "Middletown Democratic Social Club", with an address in Long Branch, which shows up on the Middletown Democratic Executive Committee's fourth quarter 2005 ELEC report with a $1,200.00 contribution on October 5. There are no ELEC reports for the Middletown Democratic Social Club.

Compliance with ELEC is very important. It appears however that the Monmouth County Democrats honor this mainly in the breach and otherwise take a very cavalier attitude. This was a survey of ten towns; certainly this behavior will show up elsewhere in the county; we'll be looking, too.

As part of his Ethical Roadmap, Monmouth County Republican Chairman Adam Puharic has established a Compliance Commission for the purpose of providing reference to local GOP organizations for compliance with Campaign Finance Laws. The Democrats ridicule this; they do so at their peril as they are frequently out of compliance.

This is not going away, Vic.


Sarge said...

Here's one for you and your crack staff Abe:

In the 2005 campaign, Democrats For a Better Matawan show $9,617 transferred from a prior campaign.

Yet their 2004 campaign account, Malley and Granick for Council, was zeroed out at the end.

Hmmmmmm. Wonder where that money really came from? Could it have been from Aber....noooo, they wouldnt do that.

DUD said...

Maybe theres no reports on file because those accounts are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!

John Paul Jones said...

Interesting how Matawan Democrats have the SAME signs (size & color scheme) as Aberdeen. I wounder who paid for them. If you drive around there are many large framed signs; ones that cost big money.....

Sue Veitengruber said...

Well, Abe, since you are talking about ELEC reports and I know you to be fair and honest, It is only proper to quote the Republican candidate, Rosemarie Peters, who said, "If (a candidate) can't handle their campaign funds, how can they handle the taxpayers' funds?"

I agree. It seems that the Howell GOP has had a few, no make that a lot, of ethical lapses in their reporting which have now generate an ELEC investigation.

The Malave Tobasco DiBella campaign, in its final closing report dated April 12, 2004 listed transfers on Schedule 3(D) Disbursements which were made on April 8, 2004 to other entities which are required to report by law, the receipt of contributions.

They included:

$6686.45 to DiBella Schomaker campaign

$6686.45 to Howell Township Republican County Committee and

$6686.45 to Howell Citizens for Good Government.

These reports were signed by candidates Juan Malave, Peter Tobasco and Joe DiBella, as well as campaign treasurer James Stanberry. To this date, 10/30/06 the above contributions have never reported been as received by the respective committees.

The Howell Citizens for Good Government did not register with ELEC until April 1, 2005, almost a full year later AFTER it received the $6686.45. Peter Tobasco is the elected treasurer of the Howell Republican County Committee. Tobasco signed his campaign reports and as treasurer would have received the campaign contribution. Where did the money go?

The Howell Republican County Committee has not filed an ELEC report since May 20, 2004.

DiBella signed the reports from the Malave Tobasco DiBella campaign that included the disbursements to the other groups, but never reported the contribution on his DiBella Schomaker reports.

The Howell Citizens for Good Government never reported the contribution from Tobasco's campaign. The "Citizens" PAC did make a donation to the Southern Monmouth Citizens for Good Government, which ELEC has NO RECORD of ever registering! Now guess what address the Southern Monmouth Citizens for Good Government is allegedly located at?

You are absolutely clairvoyant! It is the same as the old Town COMMITTEE for Good Government PACS set up under the prior chairman. But still no reports! And BTW, the Howell COMMITTEE for Good Government with Norine Kelly as the cahirperson is STILL inn operation according to ELEC reports. It seems that the good commissioner of elections has also made a loan to the current Tobasco campaign because his ELEC reports for the current election show a repayment to Kelly for a loan. Problem is that the report does not list the receipt of the loan. Fuzzy math, I guess.

So to paraphase the county Republican candidate:

If Peter Tobasco can't handle his own campaign funds, how can he handle Howell Township's taxpayers' dollars?

Stay tune, Abe --- there is more to come.

Sue Veitengruber said...

"The practice of outside county party organizations and interest groups sending large sums of diverted contributions to impact a local race, known as "wheeling," is one of the most controversial issues in New Jersey politics today. Monmouth Democrats continue to reject GOP calls for campaign finance reforms."

I and many other Howell residents agree -- so perhaps it is time for the County GOp to gently remind the Howell GOP of the above stance.

Howell Citizen for Good Government, a local GOP PAC, received over $49,000 in contributions from professionals, many employed by Howell Township and other organizations, and in turn used that money in support of Howell candidates. Sure it's legal, but it is till wheeling to avoid campaign contribution limits to candidates. If wheeling is wrong for Dems, it is wrong for Republicans too!

Honest Abe said...

Sue, unlike the Dems, we Republicans have a great resource at our disposal - The Compliance Commission established by Chairman Adam Puharic. Norine Kelly would do well to reach out to the commission or Adam himself. I'll leave it at that.

Sue Veitengruber said...


I hope I don't detect a bit of testiness in your response. This is about glass houses.You can't blast the Dems for what they allegedly did in Middletown (I haven't looked at their reports) if the Rs in Howell are worse. I know this is a Republican blog, and the old Reagan commandment , but the law is the law.

The most recent ELEC filings of Tobasco, Raccuglia and Skibicki show a repayment of a loan to Norine Kelly, a Monmouth County Commissioner of Elections. Problem is the report never claimed reseipt of the loan.

Tobasco is a candidate NOW , as well as the treasurer of the Howell Republican County Committee. He, at least, needs to explain why he never reported the $6686.45 received by HRCC from his own campaign funds to ELEC, and why no reports have been filed by HRCC since 2004.


Honest Abe said...

No testiness, Sue. I have addressed the issue of Republican ELEC violations in the past. The PACs set up by Fred Niemann were addressed in depth. Although Howell Citizens for Good Government is a local entity and was not one of Fred's PACs, it certainly falls into the same genre.
The difference between the Dems in Middletown and the Howell Republicans is not a "glass house" situation. In the case of the Democrats, there is a countywide cavalier mentality within the party, apparently from top to bottom, where wheeling is not wheeling and reporting to ELEC is a bother. While that may have been said about the GOP under Niemann, that view was not supported by the rank & file. This is why Fred is no longer county chairman. Under Adam Puharic, most of Niemann's PACs have been shut down; this also would have happened had Jim Giannell been elected. Interestingly, the Niemann-based PAC in Howell, the Howell Committee for Good Government, remains active, making Howell somewhat of an anomaly within the larger party apparatus. So, as I stated yesterday, Norine Kelly would do well to reach out to the commission or Adam himself. If not Norine, Peter should do so.
As to her serving on the County Board of Elections, I wrote about that back in May. My research says that yes, it's legal; she can be both on the County Board and Municipal Chair. Whether she should be may be another story. As someone said, "It's not about what's legal, it's about what's right." There was some controversy about Niemann's removal of Robin Lemesevski from the Board; suffice it to say, Niemann is out now and Norine's two-year appointment expires during Adam's term as chairman. As her brand of politics appears to conflict with Adam's vision for the party, it is possible that Norine may join Fred Niemann on the outs, but that's Adam's call.

Sue Veitengruber said...

There was also a lot of controversy surrounding Fred's removal of Barbara Mutzeka, then Chairwoman of the Board of Elections. That action paved the way for Norine to become an officer of the the Board of Elections and receive a big pay hike.

While there is controversy surrounding Norine's position as both municipal chair and commissioner, the real controversy of the moment has to do with the fact that she made a loan to the Tobasco, Skibicki, Raccuglia campaign, and many feel that is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest since she is a commissioner of elections.

One of the candidates, Ed Skibicki, insisted they did not have to report the original loan becuae they "had closed it out before the reporting period." Problem is one of the expenditures that the did report was the repayment of the loan. Interestingly, Skibicki also loaned the campaign money during the summer and that loan as well as the reimbursements were reported.

Any idea who the Southern Monmouth Citizens for Good Government might be? ELEC says no such group has ever registered. Yet Howell Citizenss for GOod GOvernment sent them $7,200. And, BTW, SMCFGG shares the same address as the Howell Committee for Good Government, the old Neimann PAC.

And as far as wheeling goes, the Howell GOP raised to an art form. Money went from professionals in Toms River to the 19th District PAC back to Howell Citizens for Good Government and finally to the Lucey campaign. But don't believe me, check out their ELEC reports for yourself.