Somerset County GOP Candidates Follow Trump/Christie Strategy of Lies and Fake Attacks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2017
FROM: Somerset County Democratic Committee
(Somerville, NJ) The Somerset County Republicans have been caught following the Trump and Christie campaign strategy of lies, misleading accusations and divisive innuendo to hide the fact that they preside over the 7th highest property taxes in the United States.
Over the past week the campaign for Levine and Gallagher for Freeholder and Brett Radi for County Clerk have sent out at least three separate mail pieces that falsely claimed Franklin Councilwoman Shanel Robinson “has repeatedly violated New Jersey ethics law by failing to disclose personal financial information required by the state for all elected officials.”
However, Air Force veteran Robinson has filed every required Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS) within the guidelines set by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the very source cited by the GOP hit pieces. Levine and Gallagher, who had the same legal obligation as Mayors of Franklin and Somerville, respectively, have not.
“Now we know why the Republican candidates turned down the League of Women Voters’ debates,” said Robinson. “They are relying on lies to run their campaign, and would be unable to defend them in front of voters.”
The DCA requires that FDS forms be submitted by April 30, a date that fell on a Saturday in 2016. Because the government office was closed on April 30th, the deadline is automatically extended to the next business day, Monday May 2. Robinson filed her 2016 FDS on May 1, a Sunday and within the deadlines.
Gallagher, according to the DCA FDS search tool,* filed his 2016 FDS (attached) on Thursday May 5, 2016, three days late and as such, in his own words, “violated New Jersey ethics law by failing to disclose personal financial information required by the state for all elected officials.”
“It’s astonishingly hypocritical of the Christie Republicans to falsely attack Shanel for something they themselves are guilty of,” said Peg Schaffer, the Somerset County Democratic Chair. “They are taking
their lead from Trump and Christie’s strategy of attack, attack, attack and don’t worry about the facts.”
In 2017, Christie’s DCA was late in opening the online FDS filing system and as such delayed the reporting deadline to May 30, 2017. ** Even the GOP hit pieces note that Robinson filed on May 30, 2017, within the Christie administration’s guidelines. Gallagher filed his FDS on May 2, 2017, which would have been late had the extension not been granted.
Both Levine and Gallagher also filed more than a month late in 2014, which in fact violated New Jersey ethics law by failing to timely disclose personal financial information required by the state for all elected officials. According to the Christie DCA, Gallagher and Levine coincidentally filed their FDS forms on the same day, June 12, 2014, 42 days after the legal requirement to file.
“The fact is, the only Freeholder candidates who didn’t follow the law are Gallagher and Levine,” said Schaffer. “We expect them to publicly retract their false claims, and to publicly admit their own violations of the law. Of course, since they are using the Trump/Christie playbook don’t expect a retraction any time soon.”
COMMUNITY LEADERS SUPPORT SHANEL ROBINSON:
“Outrageous attacks that have recently been directed at Ms. Shanel Robinson’s character are not only false, but are simply more of the Republican’s baseless character assassination attempts that are tearing our country apart,” said Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Saunders, Sr., pastor of North Stelton AME Church, Piscataway, New Jersey. “I’ve known Shanel since she served in the United States Air Force in the 1990s, and she has always demonstrated unwavering integrity and commitment to the community. She is reliable, responsible and willing and able to serve!”
Alvin P. Levine, partner in the CPA firm, Rosenberg, Rich, Baker, Berman & Company, added, “I have known Councilwoman Robinson for eight years. We worked closely together on a number of Community Projects with much success. I have always found her to be a person of the highest moral character and happily vouch for her in that regard.”
Copies of all Financial Disclosure referenced in this release are attached, can be found on the DCA web search tool, or on our website at http://www.somersetcountydemocrats.org/gop_playbook.