I have long been a casual observer of politics here in our fair city of Bayonne. I enjoy watching campaigns and elections unfold and I’ve not been disappointed by the candidates’ posturing as Election Day draws near. This year, one candidate is breaking the record by stretching the bonds of credibility early in the Mayors Race.
James Davis has put himself forth as the “Duty-Honor-Community” candidate who is touting “Transparency” and “Open” government. How do I know this? – I read it right on his brochure and website. Davis rightfully makes a big deal about how important it is for the public to be able to see and understand our elected officials’ motivation.
New Jersey has established an effective system to allow the public to access reports required to be filed by all candidates for public office and see for themselves who candidates are raising money from and where they are spending it. The system is overseen by the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission or ELEC. Their website, www.elec.state.nj.us is a treasure trove of information about candidates for public office. NJ State law requires that candidates file reports on a regular basis so the public can be informed about the candidates’ fundraising activity.
The system affords the public with the very “transparency” that Mr. Davis claims to desire. The problem is that you won’t find Mr. Davis’s reports on the ELEC site. Thus far, it appears that he has thumbed his nose at the transparency laws and failed to file the required reports. We know he raised money; he’s hosted a gazillion fundraisers. We know he’s spent money—on brochures, mailings, a headquarters, a website. But we are unable to find out who is backing Davis, who his top donors are because he has failed to comply with the simplest of transparency requirements, the filing of financial disclosure forms.
So Davis is either incompetent or hiding something. Either way, it’s a bad way to begin a quest for public office and it raises the question, can we trust what this guy is saying? Davis has a duty to file his ELEC reports. It’s dishonorable not to do so and it fails our community.
The Davis campaign has been ethically challenged from the start, what with his questionable campaign advisors and staff, his inability to articulate his vision for our future and now his inept call for transparency while refusing to be transparent himself. Where I come from we have a word for this sort of behavior; we call it hypocrisy. Good luck Mr. Davis, you’re going to need it.