Sunday, June 05, 2011
A Pay to Play Money Tree Grows In Bloomfield
Despite the recent adoption of stricter Pay to Pay laws, the Line A Democratic Primary campaign to elect Carlos Bernard and Paul Halligan has been largely funded for by well-connected out of town special interests who are counting on their candidates to approve lucrative contracts paid for by taxpayer dollars.
A quick glance thru the reports filed by the Bernard and Halligan campaigns with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reveals thousands of dollars in special interest money both candidates have accepted from out of town vendors. Only amounts in excess of $300 are required to be identified. As late as May 31, nearly all of Halligan's largest donations are from out of town interests.
The sample above (Click on picture to enlarge) shows a $2,500 donation from Richard A. Alaimo Engineering Associates in Mount Holly. This happens to be the same company that contributed $5,000 to the Bloomfield Democratic Committee during our Mayor's re-election campaign last October. While this is all currently legal, It's not hard to guess why a South Jersey Business would have such a longstanding interest in Bloomfield politics.
The irony in this is that Nick Joanow has been leading the fight to get the Council to pass a stronger ethics ordinance that would put teeth in the NJ State Law as it apples to local politicians and employees. The Mayor has been dragging his feet on a vote on NIck's April proposal. This may have been another factor in the local party's attempt to prevent his re-election.
Update: The 2006 :pay to play" ordinance was rescinded in 2009 on the advice of the Bloomfield Town Attorney who suggested that was redundant and unnecessary in view of the newer NJ state law. Again, these donations are still legal, but it's hard to find much that made illegal in the NJ State legislation,