Incumbent Morris County freeholders on Sunday asked the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to investigate a $42,000 payment primary challenger Donald Dinsmore made to a Wyoming-based consulting firm.
Freeholders Doug Cabana, Tom Mastrangelo and Kathy DeFillippo asked ELEC to investigate a payment to Checkmate Strategies LLC in Wyoming on grounds that no such company appears to exist.
“ELEC reporting is intended to allow the public to see the sources of candidate funding and the places candidates are spending those funds,” Cabana said. “ELEC should immediately investigate Dinsmore’s payment to a shadow company from Wyoming.”
Checkmate Strategies is a well-known consulting firm in New Jersey, where it is registered.
The firm’s co-founder Chris Russell told InsiderNJ, which first reported the expenditure, that his group was not involved in Dinsmore’s campaign.
Dinsmore did not respond to a call seeking comment made at 3:06 p.m. This article will be updated with comment once it is received.
It is possible Checkmate Strategies was listed on Dinsmore’s filing in error.
A firm with a similar name, Checkmate Action Group LLC, is registered to the Wyoming mail forwarding center listed in Dinsmore’s filing.
The firm was on January 28, less than a week before Dinsmore made the $42,000 payment on Feb. 4.
The purpose of Dinsmore’s payment to the firm is not entirely clear. The filing lists the payment’s purpose as “consulting-political.” The incumbents claim the vague description of the payment’s purpose violates ELEC filing guidelines.
The payment made up the vast majority of Dinsmore’s expenditures in his first-quarter filing.
Over the period, Dinsmore reported spending $44,424.69, with $42,000 going to the Wyoming consulting firm.
Dinsmore loaned his campaign $42,000 on Feb. 4, the same day the payment to the consulting firm was made.
Primary day is June 4.