According to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC), two residents running as non-partisan school board candidates have received campaign contributions from the Roselle Park Democratic Committee (RPDC).
Kimberly Powers and Jeff Regan each received $500 for lawn signs from the RPDC for their campaign to win a seat on the Roselle Park Board Of Education (BOE). A review of previous BOE election reports shows that no school board candidate ever received campaign contributions from a political party in Roselle Park in the last 15 years.
The reports were filed with NJ ELEC on October 11th. Each was signed on October 7th with the contributions having been given in September.
Although not illegal since there are no statutes that specifically prohibits school board candidates from being endorsed or funded by a political party, it does raise the question as to why a political party is contributing to a non-partisan school board election. According to the New Jersey School Board Association (NJBSA), “the Commissioner of Education has traditionally frowned on political party endorsements of school board members as school elections should be non-partisan.”
Kimberly Powers and Jeff Regan are – currently – trustees on the Roselle Park Library Board as well as on the Casano Community Center Committee; both are appointed positions. Kimberly Powers is a member of the Roselle Park Democratic Club and Jeff Regan is a member of the Roselle Park Democratic Committee.
Records show that only two other BOE candidates have filed with NJ ELEC this year – Matthew Leingang and Joseph Signorello, Jr.
Out of the four candidates, Mr. Leingang is the only one who filed his D-1 Form in August. NJSBA refers to the requirement to file such a form:
The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act and its implementing regulations, N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 19:25-1.1 et seq., require all school board candidates who receive any contribution from any source, including their own funds or in-kind services, regardless of the amount, to file a Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository form (D-1 or D-2) with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). This form is a basic form that designates a treasurer and lists the bank in which the campaign bank account is located. ELEC has a [manual] (link) that describes all of the reporting requirements for candidates and contains all of the necessary forms that must be filed concerning financing of a board member’s campaign. (Note that all forms are located at the end of the Manual, starting on page 49.) Form D-1 is filed within 10 days of the first contribution or expenditure.
In reaching out for a comment on the amount of his contributions, Mr. Leingang explained, “I formed a Sole Proprietorship for my campaign and opened a bank account for it. The fees are $18 a month unless I maintain a $3,000 balance. That’s just there to keep the balance at a minimum.”
The three remaining candidates did not file their D-1 forms in accordance with New Jersey election laws. According to the NJ ELEC Compliance Manual For Candidates, a Form D-1 is be filed within 10 days of the first contribution or expenditure. In both Mrs. Powers’ and Mr. Regan’s cases, that date was October 1, 2016. With respect to Mr. Signorello, that date was September 22nd.
In speaking with Mr. Signorello, he said he will look into the matter, adding, “I wasn’t aware it needed to be filled out but I’ll be more than happy to file all the required forms.”
Phone messages left for Dan Petrosky, the chair of the RPDC, and Kimberly Powers were not returned.
Copies of all forms, so far, are available below for review: