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South Plainfield Mayor, Councilman Fined for Campaign Finance Violations

Anesh, Bengivenga Fined $5,000; Owe Residents an Apology


South Plainfield -- Mayor Matt Anesh and Councilman Robert Bengivenga have been hit with a $5,000 fine from state election officials for breaking campaign finance laws.

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The charges stem from the pair’s 2009 race for South Plainfield Borough Council. The State Election Law Enforcement Commission, which released its final judgement, had formally charged them last year with nine counts of campaign law infractions covering more than a dozen instances, including overdue filings of required campaign finance reports and failure to disclose thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

“Quite simply, Matt Anesh and Robert Bengivenga owe South Plainfield an apology,” said Chrissy Buteas, candidate for mayor. “Their willingness to break state law to get elected says plenty about the type of politics they practice. They need to step forward and publicly accept responsibility for their illegal actions, in front of the taxpayers they claim to represent.”

Under the finding released by ELEC, Anesh and Bengivenga agreed to a reduced fine of $5,120. According to ELEC, they have already made an initial payment of $1,024, and will make four more quarterly payments in that amount over the coming year.

Buteas called on Anesh to pay off the entire amount immediately.

“How can Matt Anesh run for mayor while simultaneously paying off his fines for breaking the law?” Buteas said. “Why should his donors continue to pay for his foolishnes to do anything to get elected? South Plainfield deserves better, from the top down.”

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