LETTER: Hoboken needs to the level the playing field when it comes to campaign finance rules


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken residenst Eric Cohen and Rafael Cordova voice their opinions on why the city needs to level the playing field when it comes to campaign finance rules.

Photo via Google Maps.

Dear Editor,

With the Hoboken City Council considering changes to our campaign finance ordinance as it pertains to unions, we should ask the question, what makes it necessary for the city council to do this?

Hoboken should be counting on its elected officials to abide by our municipal laws, but nothing has been further from the case, especially in Hoboken’s 1st Ward. It’s important that the public know the truth about this matter.

Let’s look at some of the facts:

The limit for unions, as per ordinance, is that each individual candidate can receive $500. Yet, First Ward Council Member, Michael DeFusco, in his run for re-election to the Hoboken City Council in 2019, took contributions from dozens of union PACs, thousands of dollars above the municipal limit of $500, which went to fund his campaign.

He did so knowing that he was violating Hoboken law.

DeFusco’s actions were unfair, as his opponent, Migdalia Pagan Milano, and other candidates running for city council, chose to abide by the rules.

This gave him a major, major funding advantage. Why did Michael DeFusco think the ordinance didn’t apply to him? How is that fair or ethical? The answer? It isn’t.

Had Michael DeFusco not taken this money, we would not be discussing this issue.

It is DeFusco’s violation of the ordinance, done so blatantly and without regard for consequences while others followed it, that makes these changes in the ordinance necessary in order to maintain fairness and balance in our campaign process.

If council member Tiffanie Fisher is looking for someone to blame these changes on, she should look no further than Hoboken First Ward City Council member Michael DeFusco.

DeFusco should refund his union donors for all monies he took above the limit.

As a sitting council member, his complete disregard for a Hoboken city ordinance is an unforgivable offense, and even if the regulations are changed, he should do what is ethical and right and return the money.

If not, he should definitely be held accountable at the ballot box.


Eric Cohen
Rafael Córdova
Concerned Hoboken 1st Ward Citizens

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  1. Prize for the most ridiculous Bhalla Team operative op ed ever. Don’t even know why Heines bothered to publish this. Do Messrs Cordova and Cohen even understand that they are just being played and are just a couple flakes for the pettiest collection of elected clods that rode into office with 70K in pac money from a union and their juvenile insider crew?

    • Were you thinking of addressing the content of their letter, the specific complaint about the behavior of the 1st ward councilman, or just making a bunch of ad hominem attacks and hoping the issue goes away? Pretty much the way Defusco views ordinance enforcement.

      • The content of the letter doesn’t rise to the level of being worth discussion. Basically they are saying that they don’t like Michael Defusco and/or Tiffanie Fisher which is not a reason to propose, support or pass legislation; and any legislation being proposed by any electeds that happily took 70K in PAC money from a union pushing a massive development in Hoboken don’t deserve any support from the electorate.

        Massive pac money campaign funding is the antithesis of leveling any playing field which, based on the oped header, is what Messrs Cordova and Cohen appear to arguing. The massive pac money infusion is an important detail that is omitted, (glaringly so) I suspect Mssers Cordova and Cohen don’t even know about that and are being played as fools

        • If the content of the letter is not worth discussing, then why are you discussing it? LOL It obviously hit a nerve!

          First of all, this so called “legislation,” as it stands, is a joke and not enforceable. The actual “truth of the matter” is that New Jersey has set campaign limits for unions and those are the ones Hoboken needs to adhere to. This is what the City Council is proposing to do and nothing more. State law trumps municipal ordinances and you and Ms. Fisher should know that, and if you don’t, then please do your homework 1234567. This is the reason Mr. DeFusco felt he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it. He knew that, at the end of the day, he was not doing something illegal.

          The hypocrisy or ignorance Ms. Fisher demonstrated in her email blast forms a huge part of the problem we’re having. There is simply NO WAY for Hoboken to enact campaign laws that go against what the State of New Jersey allows. This $500 limit sounds good on paper, but again, it is not enforceable or real at the local level.

          There is so much to be accomplished in Hoboken and you and Ms. Fisher keep playing to people’s fear and ignorance. Pretending to be staunch democrats while taking a page from your fellow republicans in Washington. Just because you want something to be so, doesn’t mean it is. You LOST the election! Realize that and move on. Stop bullying people like Messrs Cordova and Cohen who had the guts so say what they mean without hiding under a bogus set of numbers to protect their identities.

        • Whether they like Defusco or not isn’t mentioned or relevant. They are addressing Defusco’s conduct. In two breathless and pretentious replies you’re unable to do the same. Don’t worry. Everyone knows why. You don’t need to make a third unresponsive response.

    • Ravi’s crew has been doing this for a while. Which person wrote the campaign Quintero letter? It was created by his family not a Hoboken Council member. How would these people feel about their letter being used to Ravi’s buddies who are behind the Ravi Terror Flier? Would they feel like utter fools? They should.

  2. Will these two puppets end up with jobs at the HPU like John Allens other attack dogs have?
    Team Bhalla really hates DeFusco a bit too much… Typical straight bro abuse I guess.
    DeFusco hasnt even comment and you Bhalla’s bullies are bringing him up?

    Cant wait to read Philthy Phil’s next newsletter

  3. So Mike did something legally, you shims are asked to sign a letter objecting, but totally ignore Bhalla is changing the reform laws to allow the same thing?