Freeholder Crabb: Late again with ethics filing

The state's campaign finance laws are the primary means of transparency by which citizens can see who our elected officials are taking money from.  That doesn't matter to some elected officials in Sussex County who openly scoff at the law.  Freeholder Phil Crabb is Sussex County's poster boy when it comes to ignoring ethics rules.  He operated his campaign account for four years without filing timely reports in accordance with state campaign finance laws. 

Then in 2011, his GOP running mates put their foot down and wouldn't let him on the ballot with them until he straightened his act out and both filed his past due reports and started filing future reports on time.  Crabb got better, but still missed a lot of deadlines.  It looked like he had cleaned up his act for his re-election but now with the election behind him he missed his first filing deadline after the November election. 

In some counties, a wanton screw-up like Crabb would have been quietly asked to step aside.  Examples abound in other parts of the state.  Not in Sussex County.  Wantonly, purposefully, breaking the ethics rules doesn't matter.  Crabb's reward for breaking the law year in and year out was a fundraiser held in his honor at the wine cellar of the powerful Mulvihill corporate clan.

Speaking of fundraisers at the wine cellar, it looks like the secret is out.  A few weeks ago, the New Jersey Herald ran a story about the latest county incumbents to be feted at the wine cellar.  From the article, it looks like the vendors who made up the dormant Skylands Victory PAC now influence county officials by putting on fundraising events for them.  The way they do it is worth a look see, as the donations collected appear to fall under the reporting threshold.  Whether purposeful or not, the effect is the same, with voters left in the dark about who is underwriting the political campaigns of their elected county officials.  Too bad, because the voters should get to see who their elected officials are indebted to. 

Who said, "There are no Democrats or Republicans, only haves and have nots"?  While two dozen of the county's political and corporate elite were drinking fine wine and eating lobster and steak, the U.S. Census figures showed that New Jersey was one of just three states where both the number of people living in poverty and the poverty rate increased.  Who is advising these people? 

Have some common sense.  Economic hard times demand a show of humility.  Instead of rubbing voters faces in it by having a meal with a price tag most of them can't afford, why not hold a hot dog supper at a price everyone could afford?  In a democracy middle-class voters and fat cats all get just one vote each.  More is better.