OPINION: For second time in two years, Alaimo pays Hainesport Republican candidates thousands through PAC, concealing influence

Letter to the Editor, by: Edie Darnold & Anna Evans, Democratic Candidates for Hainesport Township Committee

Editor’s notes:

  • The Hainesport Democrats sponsor Citizens’ Media TV’s coverage of the monthly Hainesport Township Committee meetings.
  • Aside from the claim that the Darnold and Evans campaign received no donation from Alaimo in the 2017 general election, Citizens’ Media TV can confirm that all the campaign finance claims made in this editorial are backed up by the relevant NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) disclosure documents.

It is an open secret that “pay-to-play” runs rampant through Burlington County and its municipalities, and Hainesport Township is no exception.

The 29 day pre-election filing by our Republican opponents, Costa & Schneider, details a donation on 8/26/2017 of $5000 (more than the Democrats’ entire campaign budget) from a PAC called Charter America Inc. That PAC’s third quarter filing actually shows TWO donations to Costa & Schneider: the one of $5000, and a further donation of $2000 on 10/9/17, nicely timed to avoid it appearing in the 29 day pre-election filing. The origin of both donations is a contribution of $7200 from Alaimo Associates on 8/1/2017. No other money went in or out of Charter America in this time period. While it is difficult to prove Pay-to-Play before the supported candidates are actually elected, a look at the 2016 filings reveals a pattern.

Charter America Inc. also gave Hainesport’s 2016 Republican candidates, Gilmore & Masciocchi, $6250 across two dates, 8/27/16 and 9/1/16. The immediate source of those funds was a donation by Alaimo Associates to Charter America Inc. of $7200 on 8/22/16. (Alaimo also openly donated $300 to the Democratic candidates in 2016; this year, we got nothing.) On 01/03/17, Alaimo Associates was confirmed as Hainesport’s 2017 Township Engineer, with both Gilmore & Masciocchi voting yes on the day they were sworn in.

The pattern indicates that Alaimo Associates have intent to Pay to Play in Hainesport, with the candidates they support being expected to vote to appoint them once elected. The lack of any cost-savings, which would be produced by a genuinely competitive bidding process, hurts Hainesport’s residents.

Furthermore, Alaimo Associates are not only the Hainesport Township Engineer and Joint Use Planning Board Engineer, but also the Engineers for Mount Holly Township and the MHMUA. Therefore, Alaimo’s support of Costa & Schneider also indicates a conflict of interest for those candidates, if elected, in pursuing the needs of Hainesport’s residents against the MHMUA.

Costa & Schneider have copied much of the platform that Hainesport Democrats have been running on for years. However, they have NOT copied our plan to introduce an Ordinance prohibiting this kind of blatant pay-to-play interaction between companies and candidates.

Burlington County residents need to stop rewarding pay-to-play when they elect the candidates that spend the most money, and instead choose to elect the ones who will eliminate the pay-to-play. Of course, it would be naïve to think that this has not been going on for decades, and it occurs in both parties (whichever is in power). But, if you would like to help stop it, voting Darnold & Evans on November 7th would be a good start.

Edie Darnold & Anna Evans
Democratic Candidates for Hainesport Township Committee

Citizens’ Media TV encourages all viewpoints. Please submit your letters to the editor to citizensmediatv@gmail.com

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