Vote Smart, a non-partisan research organization, said the Republican State Committee knowingly lied in a mailer attacking Democratic candidates in the 39th district.
“The Choice for Change account of the New Jersey Republican State Committee has attacked John Birkner and Gerald Falotico, Democratic candidates for New Jersey State Assembly District 39, with information they know to be false, and has used Vote Smart’s name to give these accusations credibility,” the organization said in a statement.
A mailer sent out by the said Birkner would support income tax increases on any tax bracket and said Falotico would not address the state’s looming pension crisis, citing the candidates’ answers to a Vote Smart candidate survey.
Birkner said yes on the tax increase question. His Vote Smart Survey backs that up.
But, the survey did not ask whether candidates would address the state’s pensions. It asked whether candidates would support reducing state employee pay or pensions.
Both Democrats answered no.
It also claimed both Democrats supported “tax-payer funded benefits to illegal immigrants.”
The survey asked only two immigration-related questions: Whether they supported local law enforcement enforcing federal immigration laws and whether they thought immigrants in the country illegally paying in-state tuition at state schools.
Both Democrats answered no to the former question and yes to the latter.
“This kind of negative campaign activity deliberately deceives voters and is precisely the sort of tactic that Vote Smart attempts to counter with its factual database,” the organization said. “By using Vote Smart’s name to give credibility to these attacks, the Choice for Change account of the New Jersey Republican State Committee is cheating the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate information.”
Vote Smart rarely issues public statements. It’s policy is to stay out of the politics of races.
The organization prohibits the use of its name and programs in partisan political advertising. It said all candidates are repeatedly notified of this policy, which is prominently displayed on the organization’s website.
“This kind of behavior occurs in less than 0.05 percent of all races nationally,” it said. “It is our policy to condemn this misuse of Vote Smart’s name and reputation and to alert the public to any misuse of our name or programs for negative political activities.”