Former Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, who was arrested for accepting bribes 22 days after he took office in 2009, and four of his associates will have to pay thousands of dollars in fines after the state Election Law Enforcement Commission found their joint candidate committee failed to properly report more than $1,000,000 in contributions
Cammarano, who is not related to Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief of staff Pete Cammarano, was sworn in as Hoboken mayor on July 1, 2009, and resigned 30 days later.
The commission has fined the former Hoboken Mayor and members of his joint committee between $78,329.66 and $105,054.66 for illegal or excessive contributions, late reporting and failure to file 48-hour notices.
According to the commission, Cammarano never provided 15% of required campaign finance information.
Joint committee members Vincent Addeo, Angel Alicea and Raul Morales were separately fined $5,100 each for the same violations. Cammarrano Campaign treasurer Lucy Truglio was fined $1,700 for late reporting and improper reporting of cash contributions of $300 or less.
The former Hoboken mayor’s attorneys argued that the fines for filing several reports late should have been dropped because he delayed their filing until after he negotiated a plea deal with authorities for his bribery charges, as they could have jeopardized those negotiations.
“Clearly, the admissions made in the subsequently-filed ELEC reports with respect to the Dwek contributions would have had a material impact on the federal criminal case and could have jeopardized — or maybe even doomed — the plea bargain that was eventually struck,” Cammarano’s attorney said in court filings.
Cammarano accepted bribes from Solomon Dwek, who was a witness cooperating with the FBI.
ELEC didn’t buy Cammarano’s argument on the matter.
“[Cammarano] admits that he knew the law required him to file accurate reports timely, yet he did not. That he made that conscious choice with the advice of counsel while under the threat of (and indeed to avoid) criminal conviction does not excuse the violation or mitigate the penalty,” ELEC officials wrote in a court filing.
“To hold otherwise would be to create, in effect, a crime exception to the late-filing requirements, something that the Legislature scarcely could have intended in enacting these requirements.”