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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The $300 question

The Democratic candidates for Belmar mayor and Borough Council have managed to put their Republican opponents on the defensive regarding campaign contribution disclosure even though the GOP pairing is playing by the rules. The key donation figure is $300. None of the Republicans' contributions has exceeded that threshold, so they don't have to report them to the state. Some of these donors stay under the $300 limit to avoid disclosure for fear of reprisals by Mayor Kenneth Pringle, GOP mayoral challenger William Young said.

The Democrats are trying to make hay out of that decision by releasing the names of all their contributors, including the 11 who gave more than $300. The people have a right to know who is backing the candidates, Pringle said, so residents can decide whether any decision down the road came as a payback for the contribution. Ethics in government advocates would surely agree. That it can be applied for political purposes in the heat of the campaign shouldn't surprise anyone.

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