Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Backs off on Plan to Raise Cash by Buying Gold and Silver

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Backs off on Plan to Raise Cash by Buying Gold and Silver

Article excerpt

The Bergen County Republican Organization planned a "gold rush" that didn't pan out.

Looking for creative ways to raise campaign cash, the Republicans scheduled -- and then quickly scratched -- a cash-for-gold exchange.

It was supposed to work this way: BCRO committee members were urged, via an email, to bring old jewelry, gold, wristwatches, even plate ware, to the organization's Hackensack headquarters and exchange them for cash.

A licensed exchange firm, Mobile Gold, would handle the transaction. The exchange had been scheduled for Saturday and Monday afternoon.

The company would then give the BCRO an unspecified but "generous" portion of its overall take. So, the reasoning went, BCRO rank and file would not only be helping themselves but the party's campaign coffers, too.

"Now is the best time to turn your old pile of gold or silver into a big pile of extra CASH while benefiting BCRO!" read the email promoting the 2012 BCRO Gold Rush.

But Bob Yudin, the BCRO chairman, quickly scuttled the idea early last week, after speaking to a few people.

"I just didn't feel it was appropriate," said Yudin, who also noted that charities and religious organizations have used gold exchanges to raise money.

But he declined to discuss who came up with the idea or explain why he pulled the plug on it.

One possibility is that it might have raised concerns with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, which oversees political fundraising.

"That's a new one," said Jeffrey Brindle, ELEC's executive director, when told of the plan. "This is really out of the blue."

Brindle said the plan could complicate disclosure requirements.

The donation by Mobile Gold, for example, would probably have to be reported as a campaign contribution, he said. But he said BCRO members who sold their wares might also "incur a reporting obligation as well," since the sales, in some small part, could have indirectly contributed to BCRO fundraising, Brindle said.

The short-lived idea reflects the struggles the BCRO has faced in raising cash the past two years. The recession has tightened donor's belts across the state -- county committee fundraising is down 30 percent since 2008, according to an ELEC report in July. …

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