Blinded by the light or the loot?
On Thursday, June 9th, NJ Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and former Hoboken Councilman Elizabeth Mason will co-host a fundraiser for NJ Senate President and gubernatorial candidate Steve Sweeney's SuperPAC, New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow.
The SuperPAC fundraiser will be held at the "also known as" address of hostess Mason's tax-exempt 501(c)3, The Mason Civic League, Inc.
|left: Mason Civic League e-Postcard IRS return for 2014 right: Sweeney SuperPAC Hoboken Fundraiser invitation|
|GuideStar USA, Inc., a 501(c)3, has a database of 1.9 million U.S. nonprofit companies.|
From a taxpayer's perspective it seems a highly unusual choice of venue for Sweeney's SuperPAC fundraiser.
GA supposes this venue and its hostess, Elizabeth Mason, were thoroughly vetted by Sweeney's people and Senate Majority Leader Weinberg.
Weinberg may not know that since 2011 Mason's tax-exempt "Civic League" has filed IRS 'e-Postcard' returns, which are for charities with "gross receipts not less then $50,000."
Another highly unusual choice because since 2011, the Mason Civic League has held a "community space" in a double-wide storefront at 1200 Washington Street which, local realtors tell GA, has a fair market rental value of at least $50,000 annually. The Civic League's own web site boasts, "The Mason Civic allows use of its community space by local artists to display their work... From paintings and drawings to performing arts this is the longest running program by the Mason Civic League."
The e-Postcard returns do not itemize contributions and expenditures (on fundraising, for example), so it's impossible to say how much money the Civic League has raised and spent. But every now and then, the truth slips out in a photo-op.
For example, on April 25, 2013, Beth Mason and her Civic League Treasurer, James Barracato, posed with $25,000 in over-sized checks the 501(c)3 raised after Hurricane Sandy. That same year, 2013, the Civic League also filed an IRS e-Postcard return. Which begs the question: why?
Why did the tax-exempt Mason Civic League claim "gross receipts less than $50,000" when donors gave (at least) $25,000 plus an "in-kind contribution" of the "community space" at 1200 Washington Street?
|April 25, 2013- Mason Civic League awards $25,000 in donor contributions post Hurricane Sandy|
Our taxes subsidize the good works of charitable organizations. In my opinion, it is unseemly at best for New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow to fundraise at a tax-exempt venue.
GA understands that Steve Sweeney has 40,000 reasons to ignore the stink around uber-donor Beth Mason.
On December 30, 2015, Mason dropped $40K on New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow.
|January 15, 2016 ELEC report for New Jersey for a Better Tomorrow|
What about Senator Weinberg?
GA thinks Weinberg has sponsored some good bills: S347, S527, S741 and S797, to name a few. So what gives, Senator?
Blinded by the light or the loot?
Surely Weinberg has read this:
That news broke months before Mason stuffed Sweeney's PAC like a Christmas turkey.
In New Jersey politics does a donor's integrity matter?
Beth Mason scored the 15th largest fine in NJ ELEC history for campaign reporting violations and sprays cash like a feral cat.
Sweeney and Weinberg appear not to mind. GA thinks New Jersey voters want leaders they can trust, in whose word they can believe.
Mason's tenuous relationship with truth-telling extends beyond politics.
There's her resume, in particular the entry highlighted below.
|click to read Beth Mason resume|
There's only one problem: Newton Lao Leonard and Locke, LLC was not a registered business entity in the State of New Jersey until April 2010- see below.
In 2012, the state revoked its LLC.- see below.
Further, in 2011 GA obtained a Dunn & Bradstreet report for Newton Lao Leonard & Locke- one year before its license was revoked.
The D&B returned on May 5, 2011 shows Newton Lao Leonard & Locke had zero credit history, made zero payments of any kind.
In spite of a revoked license, a zero credit and payment history (current to 2011), publicly available records of individual donor contributions show Mason lists Newton Lao Leonard and Locke as her "occupation" as late as 2014- such this $2,600 contribution to Donald Norcross.
|source: Open Secrets.org|
So, will any of the quaint stuff like campaign reporting violations and resume magic tricks matter to Stephen Sweeney and Loretta Weinberg, or...
Are they blinded by the loot? What do you think?
See who shows up on June 9th.