John_curleyCurley: why hasn’t Mallet repaid a nickel of her 2003 campaign debt?

Freeholder candidate John Curley, getting a jump on the fall election battle, is taking Democratic opponent Amy Mallet to task for what he calls “illegal” machine-politics campaign funding.

Curley claims in a press release issued yesterday that Mallet, of Fair Haven, has failed to repay any of a $118,000 debt to political consultants from her failed 2003 primary run at a seat in the state Assembly. In effect, that’s given her a “backdoor contribution” from Camden County Democratic kingmakers George Norcross and Sen. Joe Roberts, Curley contends.

Curley’s attack comes on the heels of one by a well-followed Republican blogger who goes by the name of Barry Goldwater. He excoriated Mallet for her campaign profligacy on July 30.

It also follows an Asbury Park Press story earlier this week that reported Mallet has $118,000 in unpaid debt to two political consulting firms from the 2003 primary race. More than $87,000 of the debt is to Kennedy Communications, “a Washington, D.C.-based firm connected to the New Jersey State Democratic Committee,” the Press says.

From the Press article:

Michael Mangan, spokesman for the county Democratic Party, said Mallet and her 2003 running mate, Gordon Gemma, are “working with the vendors from the 2003 to resolve the debt. The fact that Kennedy Communications did work last year for a campaign that Amy was involved is a sign of that resolution being worked on.”

In that article, Curley took a less aggressive stance than he’s currently adopted:

Curley said Tuesday that he is aware Mallet’s past campaign “owes a lot of money.

“I hope she gets that squared away,” Curley said.

Here’s the Curley press release:


Monmouth County Republican Freeholder Candidate John Curley issued the following statement today regarding revelations of Amy Mallet’s 5 year old campaig “debt” from a 2003 Assembly Democrat primary:

“After reviewing Mrs Mallet’s ELEC reports from 2003 and beyond, it is clear that the idea that the $118,000 she owes from her 2003 primary is a “debt”, is a falsehood. Plain and simple, it is a backdoor contribution made by Camden County Democrats through firms they have used in many campaigns. If Ms. Mallet were actually “working to resolve the debt”, as her party chairman claimed, why hasn’t she paid one nickel of the money back in five years?

“Her campaign for the Assembly last year, also funded primarily by Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, George Norcross and the Camden County machine, raised and spent over $1 million dollars. If she was so committed to resolving the issue, why didn’t she pay it back then?

“The answer is simple-because, as ELEC Commissioner Peter Tober put it, there is often a “wink, wink, nod, nod” agreement between the vendor and the people paying the bills. The agreement is usually “you bill this to campaign X , we’ll pay you from campaign Y.” And people who have reached the maximum contribution limit to campaign X can contribute to campaign Y. It’s a way to get around campaign contribution requirements, it’s a way to avoid having the fingerprints of the Camden County machine on your ELEC reports, and it’s illegal.

“The only debt Amy Mallet truly owes is to Joe Roberts, George Norcross and the Camden County political machine for financing her campaigns. Considering the shape that Camden and the state are in under the leadership of these same people, that is something that should frighten every Monmouth County resident.”

Curley resigned from the Red Bank borough council last month amid plans to move to Middletown and to focus on his freeholder race. He’s running with incumbent Freeholder Director Lillian Burry; they’re facing Mallet and Hazlet Board of Education President Glen Mason.

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