In the primary race for Easton's magisterial district of Williams Township, Glendon Borough and Easton's south side, things got ugly. Smear tactics, or guerrilla politics, victimized Brian Monahan, a Republican lawyer in a three-way battle with designer Cindy Greene, another Republican, and Easton councilman Dan Corpora, a Democrat. Both Corpora and Greene convincingly deny being involved in dirty politics, but someone was trying hard to trash Monahan. And it's someone who knows how campaigns work.
Anonymous mailers viciously distorted Monahan's career as a defense attorney. It is impossible to defend against them without violating attorney-client privilege. Monahan is falsely accused of preventing "the prosecution of a heinous double murder." "We deserve an ethical judge who will be tough on crime - NOT Brian Monahan!" Of course, the candidates suspected each other, but they were all innocent. Unfortunately, this anonymous smear also probably turned off a lot of voters. Why bother?
These unsigned mailers violate The Elections Code. A person who pays for a direct mailing designed to influence an election must "clearly and conspicuously" identify himself. That's the rule, bippy. The author can be anonymous but the person who pays for it must identify himself. And any person who spends more than $100 to advocate the defeat of a clearly identified candidate, is subject to the same reporting requirements as any candidate or committee. Violating these laws is a misdemeanor that can get you two years in Northampton County's overcrowded slammer.
Yesterday, a "John Doe" report was filed in the elections office, revealing that $861.91 was paid to Tom Severson's Precision Marketing on May 21 to oppose Monahan's election. So, as some of your probably guessed long ago, we now know that Tom Severson is the bastard behind the smear campaign against Monahan.
The expenditures occurred before, and not after, the primary. This bogus report was prepared and filed only because Severson knows I'm on to him. It's not going to help. Because more than $500 was spent to influence an election after the final preelection reports were due, Severson was obligated to disclose the expenditure within 24 hours of his visit to the post office. He didn't.
Severson is laughing at us all, and has made a mockery of our election finance laws. He thinks he can ignore election finance laws because of his friendship with District Attorney John Morganelli. He had better think again.
I'll have more on this next week.