Jim Devine, the controversial campaign manager and life partner of shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick, admitted to investigators that he submitted fraudulent petitions in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.
“Devine admitted multiple times to detectives that he uploaded erroneous voter information onto petition forms that were submitted to the (Division of Elections) on behalf of McCormick’s campaigns,” stated Sonya Sullivan, a detective with the attorney general’s office in a criminal complaint.
McCormick had sought to challenge Gov. Phil Murphy in the primary.
Devine has been charged with three counts of election fraud and faces a court hearing this week.
On social media, Devine appears to acknowledge that he broke state election laws but blamed the establishment for his legal woes.
“My political adversaries pounced on a mistake because they want to intimidate anyone with the temerity to challenge this incredibly corrupt system, and I have been a pain in the ass to powerful people,” Devine said. “I hope this does not stop people from participating in American democracy.”
Raj Parikh, the counsel to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, alleged that McCormick’s petition was the result of a mail merge of an outdated voter database. Several witnesses testified that they never signed the petitions even though their names appeared as signatories.
Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Rabin found that the “entire petition was fraudulently created without any input from actual voters” and removed McCormick from the ballot. The incident was quickly referred the allegations of ballot fraud to the attorney general’s office by Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
The investigation took more than a year.
“Detectives from the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability subsequently conducted interviews with multiple individuals whose names appeared on the petitions submitted by Devine, but who stated that they did not submit a petition or authorize one in support of McCormick’s nomination for the Democratic primary election,” Sullivan said in the complaint.
Devine is accused of one count of falsely filing nominating petitions, tampering with public records, both 3rd-degree offenses, and falsifying or tampering with records, a 4th-degree offense. He faces more than eleven years in state prison.