HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The final week of the election campaign for Township Committee has seen the campaign of Democratic challenger Jeffrey Wright file an Election Law complaint against the campaign of incumbent GOP Mayor Frank Delcore, with Carl Suraci, Republican campaign manager, also filing a complaint with the NJ Election Law and Enforcement Commission against the Wright campaign.
Wright, who narrowly lost his bid for election to the Township Committee last year, is running against DelCore for a seat on the five-member Township Committee. DelCore, who has served 12 years and been elected mayor 5 times by his colleagues, is seeking a fifth, 3-year term.
An Oct. 30th press release from Ronald Yoder, chairman of the Hillsborough Democrats reads:
"Per the Frank DelCore’s 2019 29-day Pre-Election report received by ELEC on October 11th, the campaign has failed to disclose legally required information regarding the occupations and employers of several high-dollar donors.
“The reason candidates have to disclose the occupations and employer names of their donors is simple, and incredibly important,” said local attorney Roger Koch, who spearheaded recent ethics and abuse of position inquiries into other government officials. “It’s to make sure we are able to see if candidates are beholden to special interests.
"This type of donation process, known as “bundling,” allows individual entities to combine donors who can collectively donate above the $2,700 limit. A single special interest that bundles thousands of dollars together is likely to have its own agenda it would like to see enacted. That’s why proper disclosure transparency is so important," Koch added.
"The investigation poses a stark contrast to the DelCore campaign’s touting of government transparency as one of its key accomplishments. His campaign went so far as to devote an entire section of its annual township-wide propaganda mail piece “Hillsborough Highlights” to the issue of transparency," Yoder said.
“The DelCore campaign spent thousands of dollars on a fake newspaper meant to deceive residents into thinking they’ve received a real local paper,” Yoder added. “Thanks to their failures to properly disclose their donations, we have no idea who actually paid for it. That tells me everything I need to know about Mayor DelCore’s “transparency.”
In a statement Nov. 2, Carl Suraci, Republican campaign chairman responded:
The Republican complaint filed by The Committee to Elect DelCore with the ELEC against the Wright campaign on Nov. 1 alleges the Wright for Township Committee 2019 campaign failed to comply with NJAC 19:25-13.2 (“Political Identification Requirements”).
The complaint reads:
"A targeted group of Hillsborough residents received a letter (i.e. political communication) with false statements surrounding a zoning change (which never occurred) and calling to vote against the incumbent. However, the letter does not state the name and address of the individual/committee who paid for the communication. Per Jeffrey Wright’s 2019 11-day Pre-Election report received by ELEC on October 23rd, there is an expenditure listed for “Direct Mail – Printing & Postage."
“This common sense law is vital for the integrity of our elections”, Suraci said. “Providing the source of campaign literature allows voters to make informed decisions; and, to hold candidates accountable for its content.”
"This is not the first time that the Hillsborough Democratic Organization has tried to deceive voters just prior to an election," Suraci added. "In 2017, Roger Koch filed an ethics complaint against one of the Republican incumbents and against two township employees only to have the bipartisan Hillsborough Township Ethics Board unanimously find the complaints lacking merit with no evidence to substantiate the allegations. Not satisfied, Mr. Koch filed an appeal to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Local Finance Board who likewise found no credible evidence to substantiate the complaints."
Suraci continued, “Mayor Frank DelCore’s campaign has been focused on a positive discussion of the issues and of his established record of accomplishment for Hillsborough residents.”
“The Wright for Hillsborough Township Committee Campaign is not responsible for the letter referenced by Mr. Suraci. All paid Wright for Township Committee communications to voters have featured 'paid for' language required under state law.” said Wright's campaign manager, Adam Beder.
Further information on the candidates and their campaigns is available online at borodems.com and HillsboroughGOP.com.