State Sen. Diane Allen fired off an angry letter to the Burlington County Republican municipal chairs on Sunday, criticizing former GOP Chairman Glen Paulsen for meddling with her campaign in what appears to be a rift in the county organization.
In the letter, which Allen did not publicize, she wrote that Paulsen had, unbeknownst to her and her running mates, gone behind her back to her treasurer and essentially taken control of her campaign funds.
“This was done without the consent or knowledge of myself, Nancy (Griffin), Brian (Propp), or the former County Chairman,” wrote Allen.
Upon learning about it, Allen said she asked for a full audit of the accounts, which her then–treasurer, Charles Lambiase, refused to do without Paulsen’s permission. Allen said that she then tried to change treasurers and move her campaign funds to a new bank account, only to meet with resistance from Paulsen. She hired a lawyer and, after a month of legal wrangling, won control of her campaign’s $150,000.
Allen was particularly upset that Paulsen had given the impression at a meeting of municipal chairs that the party had transferred $150,000 to her campaign, making some potential donors think that the money they gave to the party had made its way to her.
“Nancy, Brian and I are engage in a tough campaign, and can’t have prospective donors thinking they have already contributed to us when we never received their money,” wrote Allen, who closed with a sentence sharply critical of Paulsen.
“Glenn Paulsen is not working in the best interests of the organization,” wrote Allen. “His actions have divided the county and alienated many, including contributors, who once used to be actively involved in the BCRC.”
Allen’s campaign would not offer any comment on the letter.
Paulsen, who holds no official title with the organization but has taken an active role in it, said that Allen’s letter is not indicative of a split in the party.
“I don’t see that as a party split. What I see is that she doesn’t understand the workings of the party,” said Paulsen, who argued that the county organization helped Allen raise money.
Paulsen said that he has known Allen since high school, and recruited her for her 1993 Assembly campaign. He said that Allen was angry over not getting financial support that he said was promised to her by Mike Warner, the former Chairman. Paulsen said that the party’s first priorities were its freeholder and sheriff races, and that any other money would go to the more competitive contest in district eight – not hers, where internal polling indicates a 58 percent lead over her Democratic opponent, Rich Dennison.
And rather than take control of her accounts, he said, he merely suggested that her treasurer freeze them while the party prioritized what to do with its money.
“It seemed to me appropriate to freeze the accounts so none was moved from her account or anybody else’s account. The request was to hold everything in advance of resolution of those issues,” said Paulsen.
Rich Dennison said that the Republican infighting boded well for his campaign.
“I don’t know about their internal polling and that doesn’t matter to me,” said Dennison. “Her base won’t turn out for her in the same numbers mine will, especially if you look at this infighting. Because naturally there are going to be people loyal to Paulsen who won’t turn out and others loyal to her.”