First, the state Senate campaign of Republican Frank Balles showcased the Whelanopoly.com website targeting Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. Now, an independent group has come out with a new site targeting Balles.
The BadNewsBalles.com website is paid for by the independent expenditure committee Fund for Jobs, Growth and Security, based in Washington, D.C. The group has been helping Democratic candidates in this year's legislative races. According to the fund's 20-day post-primary-election report, filed June 24 with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, it had raised $1.75 million in contributions and spent $508,536.
A spokeswoman for the group declined to comment on spending for the BadNewsBalles site.
The site makes several claims about Balles' businesses, Beach Bum Dreams Inc. and Seashore Subs LLC, including links to documents such as a New Jersey Business Gateway Business Entity Information and Records Service report stating that the latter business had its license "revoked for not filing an annual report for 2 consecutive years."
In an email, Balles responded that of the two businesses, one in New Jersey and one in Florida, "Both businesses were licensed in the State of N.J. for the entire time they were operating. Florida's license was revoked after it was closed for years due to lack of a forwarding address and therefore, missed paperwork. All of the taxes we owed are paid in full and there is a record of that. ... This is about taking responsibility. I have taken responsibility for my businesses even though I may not have been the one handling the day-to-day decisions and paperwork. I am on the registration, therefore, I am responsible."
Whelan said that his campaign was not involved with the site.
"Independent expenditures are just that," Whelan said. "I really don't know anything about it and don't want to, frankly. The way election laws are written, they are independent, and as a candidate you're not supposed to have any contact with them. I don't know who they are or what they're doing."
The Balles campaign, meanwhile, held an event on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to promote the Whelanopoly site, a parody of a Monopoly board and Whelan's time as senator and Atlantic City mayor. The site is registered by the Republican consulting firm Strategy Group for Media, based in Ohio.
Contact Steven Lemongello: 609-272-7275
@SteveLemongello on Twitter