Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco is calling out Freeholder Anthony Romano and Council President Jen Giattino for not filing any paperwork with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission pertaining to the upcoming mayoral race.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Hoboken voters deserve to know who is funding each of the campaigns for mayor, which is why I am proud to have released our full list of donors showing a broad coalition of residents, business leaders, labor unions and more,” DeFusco said in a statement.
“It is disheartening to see some candidates refusing to comply with the spirit of transparency by hiding their donors and expenses from the voters, and even more troubling to see candidates raising and spending money without even filing their official Certificate of Organization with the state, a violation of election law.”
As Hudson County View first reported, DeFusco led the way in Hoboken second quarter fundraising by raking in over $115,000.
Romano and Giattino, both widely regarded as top-tier candidates for mayor, did not submit a quarterly ELEC filing, citing compliance rules that say they would not have to file until 29 days before the election – which is November 7th.
Despite this fact, DeFusco is adamant that both candidates are still in violation, since both failed to file a D-1 form, essentially a written declaration stating that a candidate is seeking a particular office.
Neither Giattino or Romano had a D-1 filing available on ELEC’s website as of today.
As he has already done during this election cycle, DeFusco targeted Romano since he has not yet decided what he will do about potentially being on the ballot twice this fall – for both freeholder and mayor.
While he can be on the ballot twice, he cannot hold both offices.
“Romano’s apparent failure to file the D-1 form is particularly troubling given that he is considering running for both Freeholder and Mayor at the same time, raising questions about whether funds donated to his Freeholder campaign are being used for his mayoral campaign, which would constitute an ELEC violation,” added DeFusco.
“Hoboken has seen candidates for office skirting transparency and pay-to-play laws in the past and now is not the time to return to this kind of irresponsible practice.”
Pablo Fonseca, Romano’s campaign spokesman, countered by sending Hudson County View a pix message of a D-1 form dated June 26th. He was not sure why the filing was not made available by ELEC, but remained dismissive of DeFusco’s claims.
“That is all that is required of by ELEC, our next required filing is a 29-[day] per-election [report]. We will continue to focus on issues and policies that will improve the lives of all Hoboken residents,” said Fonseca.
Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, business owner Karen Nason and local activist Ron Bautista also filed second quarter ELEC reports.
Representatives from the Giattino campaign did not return requests for comment.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a comment from Romano’s campaign on Wednesday morning.