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GOP Joins Democrats in Funding Campaign Via Professionals' Donations

Both sides have taken in thousands from attorneys, engineering firms and other professionals.

The West Deptford Republicans have taken a page from the Democrats’ playbook—one they disdained last year—raising the bulk of their campaign fund ahead of the June primary from large donations from several of the township’s new professionals, state Election Law Enforcement Commission reports reveal.

The Republicans are sitting on $11,150.75 at the moment, the 29-day pre-election report shows, and more than two-thirds of that has come from professionals’ donations.

The largest contributions have come from the law firm of Capehart and Scatchard, insurance broker Anderson Jackson Metts and engineers Richard Alaimo Associates, all of which donated $2,000 each so far to the fund backing Republican challenger Jeff Hansen.

In addition, township auditor Holman and Frenia kicked in $1,000, and planning board engineers Pennoni Associates and special counsel for redevelopment Mark Cimino donated $500 each. Gary Stuhltrager, the former Republican Assemblyman who shares space with Cimino, also contributed $500.

After lambasting the Democrats for doing the same in the 2011 township committee race—committeeman Sam Cianfarini called large donations from professionals “”—the Republicans backed off that hard-line stance this year.

The issue lies in the imbalance, Mayor Ray Chintall said, contrasting his party’s taking several thousand dollars versus the Democrats raking in tens of thousands—sometimes in a single shot, as with one dinner that brought the Democrats $32,000 last year—to fund their efforts.

“There is a difference,” Chintall said. “Campaign donations are a part of the process.”

But West Deptford Democratic Party chair Gerald White called it clear evidence of a double standard, no matter what the Republicans said this time around.

“Their pay-to-play principles only applied to Democrats,” White said.

It didn’t surprise White the Republicans have made a shift in their previous stance regarding donations from professionals, either.

“Campaigns are an expensive proposition,” White said.

To that point, the Democrats have already raised just over $19,000 for Denice DiCarlo’s campaign, with many of the same names that drove DiCarlo’s run with Hunter Kintzing last year making a reappearance, from former solicitor Michael Angelini’s law firm to former township engineers T&M Associates, among many other professional firms.

Her opponent went so far as to say he had no general issue with either side raising money from professional firms.

“As long as everything’s above-board and legal,” Hansen said. “Whatever the rules are set in front of you, you play by them.”

Those rules are spelled out in the state’s pay-to-play law, which governs contracts in excess of $17,500 where there isn’t a fair and open process for bidding. That law doesn’t cover donations by any of the township’s professionals, or any other professional firms who could potentially jockey for a seat at the table, because they’re all open-bid positions.

The Democrats’ connections to law firms representing both Sunoco and the township, given the ongoing property tax dispute at , go over the edge of what’s ethically acceptable, Hansen said.

“There’s a definite conflict there,” he said.

Ernest Kraus May 24, 2012 at 04:29 PM
It seems that by not listing the facts and exactly how much money was contributed to both sides, that there is a high degree of journalistic disengenuosity. Brian, why do others have to state how much was raised for the last campaign rather then you, the reporter? While there is the constant carping because long term vendors were eliminated by new bidders, the fact of the matter is that the new suppliers were the lowest bid as well as the ones that supplied all the requested information. I wonder why is that a problem to not only the reporter (who does sign his name), but to all those that hide their identity. Look at the facts for the facts are looking at you.
Bryan Littel May 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
This story concerns this year's donations, Ernest, and both sides are clearly spelled out in the story - $11K for the Republicans so far, $19K for the Democrats. As for last year, that's referenced in the mayor's comparison, and the full article I wrote on that issue is linked. I'm not sure where you think I have a problem with professionals changing (and while they're a lower bid than previous, I don't know that they're the lowest) or the donations. Fact is, the Republicans called this sort of thing bad practice last year, and their actions speak differently now.
Proud D May 24, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Ernest, this is the very practice that C&C promised the people of West Deptford they would get rid of and they have not. Just one of many things in their "20 Point Platform" that they have not delivered and have seemingly made no attempt to deliver. That platform is a joke and your defense of this practice is comical.
ThomasJefferson May 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Mr. Kraus, It would seem that You are the one with blind loyalty. Obviously,many people voted against party lines last year in favor of change. NO CHANGE HAS HAPPENED except the names on the doors and I am still waiting for a valid tax impact statement for the Sunoco settlement that isn't a Cianfarini power point filled with wishful thinking. The statement by WDNeedsHelp is ludicrous. Dems are Bad, Reps are good. Really..Our new solicitor cost us quite a bit of money court when it was determined that the Sunoco Deal was illegal as it stood and OPRA was violated. That is just dandy. .. Further, Ms. DiCarlo and Ms Szymborski are far more willing to work with the new mayor than he is to work with them. Shame on him. He is the one asking why we can't all get along and be nice. PS: Kudos to Ms Dicarlo, the Field of Dreams park looks amazing..
wd harry 69 May 24, 2012 at 10:43 PM
wait to you see what kind of condition the park will be in next year.guaranteed no money will come in to keep with the conditioning of the park.NICE CLEAN PARK FOR THE DRUGGIES. as long as the rep are in controll we won't have to worry about illegal tendering of our tax dollar people on here always bitch but what I don't understand if you don't like the way the township is being governed hoe come you idiots don't move where you won't have to moan and bitch and whine and cry. AND BY THE WAY THERE WAS A CHANGE. GOT RID OF THE DEMOCRATIC POWER IN THIS TOWN.Ray & Sam keep up the good work you're putting WEST DEPTFORD back to where it should be.you'd be surprised how many democratic businesses are donating to the jeff hansen campaighn

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