Saturday, December 27, 2014

Burlco Democrats settle campaign-finance complaint

The Burlington County Democratic Committee has paid nearly $3,000 to settle a campaign-finance reporting complaint that alleged a variety of violations in 2009, when its former leaders were linked to a North Jersey official targeted in a corruption sting.

In a quarterly campaign-finance filing released this week, the Democratic committee reported it paid a $2,980 penalty to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in May.

Joseph Andl, the party chair, said the fine settles all of the complaints. "We are happy to put these old issues behind us and keep moving our party forward," he said in an e-mail. The reporting problems had occurred under a former administration, he said.

Last October, the commission filed a civil complaint saying the party had failed to report three $500 political contributions; filed some reports late; and did not report the addresses of more than 800 canvassers and vendors who were paid a total of about $70,000 in 2009. The payments ranged from $8 to $2,700.

Joe Donohue, ELEC's deputy director, said that when the complaint was announced, there was a potential for "thousands of dollars in fines" due to the omissions and the failure to file "complete reports." On Tuesday, he said he couldn't comment because the commission has not yet taken a vote on the settlement.

In September 2009, Rick Perr had resigned as the county Democratic chair when the party's distribution of campaign funds came under fire. At that time, published reports said he and the party's former treasurer, Jeff Meyer, had used a political-action committee to further the political career of a Hoboken mayor caught in a federal sting.

The PAC, called the New Frontier Committee, contributed more than $15,000 to Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, who later was convicted of taking $25,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

The commission also filed a complaint against Cammarano over alleged irregularities in his campaign reports.

Andl said that he took over after Perr resigned and that he had to start from the beginning because no documents were left behind. - Jan Hefler

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