Candidates look to familiar sources for raising money

Candidates look to familiar sources for raising money
Monday, April 24, 2006

Both candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 13th District Congressional race are tapping into local sources for their campaign cash, according to federal elections reports.

Perth Amboy Mayor and Assemblyman Joseph Vas raised $170,200 between Jan. 1 and March 31 and almost $70,000 of it came from the developers who are involved in the city's redevelopment.

West New York Mayor and Assemblyman Albio Sires raised $437,000 in the same period, more than $60,000 of it coming from two groups: employees of West New York's Town Hall and the Board of Education.

Vas said that while nearly $70,000 of his campaign contributions came from developers, more than $100,000 "came from everyday people."

Vas said the developers have not received anything in return for their campaign contributions because "there are no tax abatements given out in Perth Amboy."

The donations include $6,000 from employees of Kushner Companies, which is building the $600 million Landings at HarborSide along the city's waterfront, and more than $36,000 from Rutherford-based developer Joseph Morris and members of his firm, who are developing a large warehouse and office project on former Chevron property.

Julie Roginsky, a spokeswoman for Sires, had another take on it.

"I see pay-to-play is alive and well in Perth Amboy and with Mayor Joseph Vas," Roginsky said, referring to the practice of people and businesses making campaign contributions in anticipation of or in return for obtaining public contracts.

Vas's spokesman, Barry Brendel, attacked Sires' contributions from the members of the board of education and city employees.

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