A.C. Mayor Langford fails to disclose 60k in in-kind donations

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, who announced last week he was toying with a run for state Senate, failed to report  more than $60,000 in contributions of services to his campaign account, according to state records.

Langford also has not reported fundraising activity since a week before his re-election in November 2009.

According to records filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, two South Jersey-based  political action committees, Voters United for New Jersey and Citizens First, paid nearly $62,000 to host Langford’s inaugural ball on Jan. 8, 2010.  Langford had won re-election the previous November.

None of the contributions, which include a $37,000 payment made to the Trump Taj Mahal for “catering,” were reported by Langford.  Another payment, $4,750 made to Walt Reeder on Dec. 22, 2010, lists only “entertainment for 1/8/10 event” as the purpose of the expenditure but gives no details on the event.

ELEC Deputy Director Joe Donohue would not comment on Langford specifically, but said in general, that any payment for services made by an outside entity on behalf of a candidate must be reported on the candidate’s next scheduled report.

The last campaign finance report filed by Langford was on Oct. 29, 2009, five days before the Nov. 3 election.  Since that time, Langford was required to file a 20-day post election report as well as quarterly reports thereafter.

Reached Wednesday for comment, Langford blamed Democratic state Sen. Jim Whelan, (D-2), a political enemy who Langford will face in November if he follows through on his bid for Senate, for spreading misinformation.

“Whelan is running scared,” Langford said.

The mayor added he is confident that all of his reports have been filed correctly, but said any money issues were handled by his treasurer.  He promised to have the treasurer call back, but she did not.

As for who donated the money eventually used for Langford’s inaugural bash, there’s no telling.  An attachment to the PAC’s April 2010 ELEC report that supposedly details the donor list is not part of the records, either because it wasn’t sent or because it wasn’t scanned by the state when it arrived.

PACs such as Voters United for New Jersey and Citizens First, which are both run by government affairs attorney Andrew Weber, have come under fire from state officials of late because of their ability to circumvent pay to play and campaign finance limits.

Tightening the registration standards for PACs through legislation is among ELEC’s top priorities and agency officials say they are concerned when a PAC is used simply as an “appendage” of a particular candidate.

It is a problem, they say, when public contractors, who are generally subject to a $300 limit on donations, contribute to a PAC, which in turns sends money to a candidate.

“The PACs should not be used to funnel larger contributions to candidates,” said ELEC Director Jeff Brindle. “This is an ongoing concern for the commission.”

A.C. Mayor Langford fails to disclose 60k in in-kind donations