Former 4th Ward Councilman Modesto ‘Mo’ Miranda and current 4th Ward Councilman Mohamed ‘Gino’ Elmarassy have each had a complaint filed against them by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) on three (3) counts of failing to file required campaign contribution reports for the 2013 Primary Election.
Both men were the primary candidates for the 4th ward in 2013. Mr. Miranda withdrew in September and Mr. Elmarassy ran that general election unopposed. Still, during the primary election, each was required to file, at least, an A-1 form. This form was to be filed no later than 29 days before the date of the Primary Election, May 6th of 2013. Even though both candidates most likely spent nothing on their primary campaigns since they were the only candidates, NJ ELEC requires that a form still be filed. According to page 42 of the Compliance Manual for Candidates, the section titled ‘Reporting by a Candidate Who Spends Nothing in an Election’ reads:
“If a candidate receives no contributions, makes no expenditures, and, therefore, does not establish a candidate committee, the candidate must file Form A-1 no later than 29 days before the date of the election. Form A-1 is filed once per election. The primary and general elections are considered separate elections; therefore, a report must be filed for each. Note: school board and write-in candidates do not have the obligation to file Form A-1.”
The second and third counts stem from failing to file the A-1, since both the 11-day pre- and 29-day post-election filings are dependent on not having information that would have been attested to in Form A-1. The purpose of the contribution forms is to notify the public that either nothing was spent nor contributed for any particular campaign or – if there were funds used – where contributions came from and how were those monies spent.
Both candidates had 20 days to file for a hearing to have the matter heard but according to a source at NJ ELEC, neither of the cases have gone over to the Administrative Law Court, meaning that no appeal is in process for either of the complaints.
Mr. Miranda, when reached for a comment, stated that he had spent nothing on the primary campaign nor did he receive any contributions. He added, “I thought this was straightened out. I responded quickly to the letter and sent everything out.”
A review of NJ ELEC’s website shows that Mr. Miranda had his 2013 A-1 Form received on June 4th of this year.
Councilman Elmarassy had his A-1 Form received twice by NJ ELEC, once on June 15, 2015 and then again on July 8, 2015.
When contacted, Councilman Elmarassy stated he had no comment for this article.
When a final decision is rendered by the commission, NJ ELEC may impose a monetary penalty to each candidate personally. Historically, such penalties have been in the $200-$250 range.
ANyone interested in viewing the contributions, if any to any candidate, can view them online at the NJ ELEC Public Information web page (link).
Below are the complaints and relevant submittals: