Burlington County Clerk Phil Haines, state senate candidate in District 8, admitted today that he made a mistake when he said he received no income from the private law firm, Wells, Singer and Musulin, P.A., in 2006.
“I was going from memory,” said Haines, who today corrected the record and said he received $1,233.90 from the law firm in 2006, not in 2005, as he stated yesterday in a telephone interview.
Referring to the dollar amount he listed on his financial disclosure form, Haines said, “It was based on money given to the law firm which I had generated in 2004.”
The financial disclosure form for the state Division of Local Government Finances requires candidates to list any income over $2,000; while the state Elections Law Enforcement Commission requires candidates to list income over $1,000.
“I just followed the rules,” Haines said.
His Democratic opponent, Assemblyman Francis Bodine, yesterday at a press conference went into damage control mode over his own professional record by criticizing Haines for “moonlighting” as an attorney while serving as the Burlington County clerk.
In response, Haines told reporters that during his first term as clerk he gradually phased out 100s of clients he had served over the course of an 18-year legal career. He continued drawing some income from practicing law – which is legal – he notes, as he served as clerk, up until 2006 – when he received $1,233.90.
The Democrats pounced on the error.
“He suddenly remembers facts,” said Bodine campaign spokesman Peter Clerkin, reiterating Bodine’s point from Wednesday that Haines shouldn’t be drawing a six-figure salary as clerk while earning money from a private law practice and representing clients before planning and zoning boards in Burlington County.
“Does he want to release his client list to back this up?” said Clerkin. “Is he going to provide a list of the names of private developers he has represented? Why doesn’t he provide lists?”