The Progressive Democrats of Union County filed a complaint with the Election Law Enforcement Commission charging countywide Democrats backed by Union’s party organization and local candidates in Elizabeth violated campaign finance law by giving their respective joint committees the same name.
“This issue was first pointed out to us by a resident who noticed the same ‘paid for by’ name on several pieces of campaign materials in Elizabeth that were seemingly put out by different slates of candidates,” said Jason Krychiw, interim chair of the Progressive Democrats of Union County.
The two joint committees aren’t identically named.
The countywide candidates — Freeholders Christopher Hudak and Angela Garretson and freeholder candidate Lourdes Leon — are running with a joint committee dubbed Victory 2020/EFO Hudak, Garretson, and Leon.
The Elizabeth candidates — Carlos Trujillo for mayor and Maria Lorenz, Armando DaSilva and Joseph Padlo for the city’s at-large council seats — are running under the Victory 2020 joint committee.
The problem, Krychiw said, is in the slates’ campaign materials.
Mailers for the countywide candidates and law signs for the local candidates both say they were paid for by Victory 2020.
“In all cases, the public has no easy way of knowing who is paying for what and could think that this is all one large organization,” PDNJ Executive Director Jonathan Gibson said. “The misleading nature of these campaign committees is of grave concern. In the case of the incumbent leaders of the Union County UCDC/RDO these are the same people who created this game and they can’t even play by their own rules.”
State election law bars committees from holding identical names.
“Whether intentional or not, this failure to follow campaign financing regulations by these two campaigns can only serve to sow uncertainty with voters,” Krychiw said.