Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small claims the state is “harassing” him with charges that he violated campaign finance disclosure laws.
The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission named more than 60 people — including Small — facing similar charges Wednesday.
Small said he submitted all the required paperwork ELEC says is missing from the June 2011 primary.
Twice, actually. The second filing happened after ELEC notified him they never got the documents, he said.
“Here goes the state harassing me again. I will file it a third time and hopefully it’s a charm,” said Small, who won his third term representing the city’s 2nd Ward that November. The term runs through 2014.
By harassment, Small referred to two previous voter-fraud cases against him, which didn’t stick. Those were criminal allegations prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office after investigations that involved multiple law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI.
The charges announced Wednesday, however, can be disputed through an administrative hearing if requested by the accused within 20 days. If sustained, they carry potential fines up to $6,800 for every unreported transaction, according to the law.
“I guess they really think I’m dumb,” Small said. “I filed to run weeks after a six-month trial involving election allegations. I barely ran a campaign. I couldn’t find a treasurer because, being frank, why would someone want to go through the nonsense? So I was my own treasurer, which is 100 percent legal. This is not the first time — and I’m sure it won’t be the last — that they can’t find paperwork. Ironically, this time, it’s mine.”
Others named in the ELEC complaints from South Jersey include Democrat Daniel Campbell , who ran unopposed in the 2011 primary and lost his bid that November for a seat on the Republican-controlled Egg Harbor Township Committee, and Republican Frank Craig, who also was unsuccessful in his attempt to win a spot on the three-person Weymouth Township Committee. ELEC also claims noncompliance by Ship Bottom Councilman Frank Malatino, a Republican, and Pleasantville 1st Ward City Councilman Ricky Cistrunk, a Democrat.
Small, Cistrunk, Malatino, Craig and Campbell failed to file campaign finance reports as required 29 days before, 11 days before and 20 days after the June 7, 2011, primary, Wednesday’s ELEC complaints state.
The documents are supposed to show fundraising totals and details for campaign expenditures and monetary and other contributions worth more than $300.
Craig and Malatino’s general election campaign disclosure forms, however, are posted on ELEC’s website. It shows nothing for Small, Cistrunk or Campbell.
When asked to provide the documents he said he filed, Small said he could not find copies Wednesday.
Campbell said he simply forgot to file and that he didn’t raise any money during his campaign.
Despite that, the underdog still took about 24 percent of votes comparedwith about 38 percent each for the two Republican candidates.
“I was the sacrificial lamb and I didn’t want to sacrifice any of my own money,” Campbell said. “I didn’t even ask people for money because I knew the shots were long.”
Cistrunk declined comment.
Craig and Malatino did not return calls.
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