This morning, Patch.com reported that Councilwoman Beth Mason issued copies of 6 of the 48 checks which her 2009 mayoral campaign's ELEC filing noted as made out to "cash", each with a "see attached" note.
The " see attached" refers to Attachment 2- a list of names, addresses and cash amounts paid to those individuals with the corresponding check number. Curiously, many of these checks noted paid to "cash" were split among multiple recipients.
As posted here previously , the ELEC and Attachment 2 filings indicate that "street money" was disbursed by the Mason campaign, a fourth-degree felony punishable by 18 months in prison. NJ statute 19:44A-11.7 prohibits candidates from distributing actual currency, or hard cash, to individual workers. Campaigns are prohibited from issuing bank checks made out to cash, which the law considers the functional equivalent of cash.
Councilwoman Mason has vehemently denied these allegations, calling the questionable entries on her certified filings a"clerical error" . Her statement in part, as posted on Patch:
"No one was paid in cash. Not one penny," Mason said in the statement. "Every campaign worker was paid through a check issued by the campaign. Every check was reported on our team's ELEC reports. No checks were written made payable to 'cash'."
So copies of 6 of the checks in question were submitted by Mason to Patch for public 'review', each payable to a person (not to "cash"), to support her contention that "clerical errors" were made on the ELEC report .
Well here they are, reproduced for your review: each Mason campaign check with its corresponding ELEC ledger and Attachment 2 entries. Certified entries. By the candidate and other campaign officials.
What do you think? Clerical errors or something else?
Under the best-case scenario for Mason, which is that "clerical errors" are at fault here, this is some sloppy, sloppy accounting. Horrible. Unacceptable.
And the candidate certified it.
Update: May 6, 2010 5:20pm
MSV is reporting in a well-documented piece that ELEC officials have said that Mason's campaign was still in violation of ELEC rules since each election worker was not given a separate check... and there's more.