'Wheeling' decried in '04 Ocean campaign
Hudson donation matched same day
Published in the Asbury Park Press 04/3/05
By LILO H. STAINTON
GANNETT STATE BUREAU
TRENTON — Given the Republicans' lock on Ocean County politics, Democrats knew they faced an uphill battle during last year's freeholder race.
But with more than $100,000 in contributions pouring in from powerful Democrats around the state, the party had a chance to build a countywide message and energize voters for local races in more than a dozen Ocean County municipalities.
Campaign finance records show that three weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Ocean County Democrats also received $14,400 from Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, who was busy fighting a tough battle to get Jerramiah Healy elected as Jersey City mayor. DeGise had earlier given Healy, as well as his City Council allies, the maximum contributions.
But the same day DeGise's contributions were logged in Ocean County — as two $7,200 checks to separate accounts — Ocean County Democratic leaders also gave $14,400, in two checks, to Healy's mayoral campaign.
"It's either illegal or it's wheeling, which should be illegal," said Assemblyman Bill Baroni Jr., R-Mercer, an election law spec1alist who has sponsored legislation to eliminate such county-to-county transfers. "If someone makes a contribution and is a conduit, that's illegal. Wheeling should also be. You can see why it's corrupting."
. . .