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Comedy Central pokes fun at Morris GOP fundraising woes

By David Wildstein, May 04 2018 2:25 pm

Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper features a New Jersey Globe story about recent fundraising problems for the Morris County Republican Committee.

The fundraising issue has become the focal point of a race for GOP county chairman between Ron DeFilippis and Rob Zwigard.  DeFilippis has been serving as the party’s finance chairman and has been criticized for running high-overhead, low-profit events that leave the Republicans without enough money to fund local campaigns.

DeFilippis says he’s raised over $113,000 since taking over the fundraising last year.  That may be true, but so much of it was spent on fundraising costs that there wasn’t a lot left over.  Several Republican candidates who ran in 2017 contacted the Globe to complain about the lack of funds.

In February, DeFilippis paid Greg Gutfeld $30,000 for his appearance at an expensive dinner at the Trump National Golf Club.  They even spent $500 on a photographer to take photos of the GOP bigwigs with Gutfeld.

DeFilippis, a former commissioner of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, has pushed back on claims that his organization is hurting for money.  He brought in Craig Heard to conduct an “independent audit.”  But Heard, who won 13% of the vote when he challenged Rep. Leonard Lance in the 2016 Republican primary, is hardly independent: he’s a supporter of DeFilippis and serves on the finance committee.

“So we should just keep all the cash in the bank instead of helping candidates?” Heard asked in an e-mail. “Makes no sense. ELEC reports are accurate.”

But according to those reports, Republicans had just $9,011 in the bank at the end of last year, and $13,956 at the end of March.  They did not report spending any money on GOP candidates during that time.

“These people wouldn’t know the truth if it was standing in front of them,” said John Sette, who spent sixteen years as the Morris County Republican Chairman.  “Where’s the money?”

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3 thoughts on “Comedy Central pokes fun at Morris GOP fundraising woes

  1. Republicans in Morris County started losing seats under Sette. Whoever becomes chair, be it Ron or Rob, needs to focus on raising money and exciting the grassroots. Sette got in the middle of county-level primaries and didnt appear to care about the grassroots. Sette now wants to give away a Morris County Congressional seat to a RINO from Totowa.

  2. When you look at this situation, you can’t help but wonder what the hell Ron (and his nearly dozen member finance committee) was thinking as they were planning the February “fundraiser.” One can assume that the only goal of the event was to have a fun night out, and that making money for MCRC was a second thought. It was so obvious that the overhead on this event would be astronomical. Now, with many times in politics, the aftermath and coverup are worse than the mishap. Since that ELEC report came out two weeks ago and NJGlobe pounced on this story, multiple communications from MCRC has praised Ron’s fundraising and attempted to explain math to us simpletons. The April report said it all. In the quarter when MCRC had this huge, much hyped fundraiser, MCRC bank accounts increased by less than $2000, yet intake was close to $60,000. $0 during that quarter was spent on candidates. Today, an email was sent by Chairwoman Page thanking Ron for everything that he’s done. This is yet another feeble attempt to defend poor planning and financial management. What’s worse in my mind is that between February and the ELEC report in April, when it must have been known to MCRC that they made no money from their huge fundraiser and everybody would soon find out, why MCRC didn’t try to do another quick fundraiser to deflect from the ELEC report? It’s too late now to do one with just a month from the election of a new chairperson. Now, instead of Ron being able to tout his qualifications as a leader for MCRC. he has to defend that his fundraising abilities failed to boost county coffers. I think that Ron is too damaged at this point to seek the chair, but it’s obvious that he and his associates are too proud to reach that conclusion and run someone else. The County Committee will have their say in June, and I can’t see them going for a continuation of amateur hour.

  3. One only needs to look at the New Jersey Election Law Commission Quarterly reports for the Fifteen years that I was chairman to see that I have spent more money supporting municipal elections than the previous five chairmen COMBINED! As for the Congressional race……It is not a Morris County seat….It is a district seat. Where was the outrage when Kamin and Greggs Assembly seats went from MORRIS to Sussex! Last year as Chairman of the Morris County Republican Victory PAC ( started in 2004) I raised and helped distribute $103,000.00 for Municipalities! I think that qualifies as helping the grassroots! Funny how “J” doesn’t use his name…

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