Cops, Courts and Fire Elections

Lambertville Campaign Manager Indicted By Grand Jury

The seal of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. File photo.

A political campaign manager from Lambertville has been indicted by a state grand jury.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability announced that Hunterdon County politico James J. Devine, 62, was indicted after allegedly attempting to fraudulently place a candidate on the Democratic primary ballot in the 2021 race for New Jersey governor.

The grand jury in Trenton voted on March 12 to return an indictment charging Devine with offenses concerning nomination certificates or petitions (third degree), tampering with public records or information (third degree), and falsifying or tampering with records (fourth degree).

If convicted, Devine could face three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine for each third-degree crime, and up to 18 months in state prison and a $10,000 fine for the fourth-degree offense.

The charges stem from Devine’s alleged attempt in April 2021 to secure a spot for a candidate on the Democratic nomination ballot for the June 8, 2021, primary election by sending approximately 1,948 fraudulent voter certifications via email to the New Jersey Secretary of State’s Division of Elections, according to authorities.

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee challenged Devine’s effort on April 9, 2021, pointing out issues with the authenticity of the voter certifications he provided, authorities said.

Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey N. Rabin sided with the committee after a hearing and removed the candidate from the ballot on April 13, 2021, authorities said.

Evidence from the investigation showed that Devine submitted petitions with false voter information, without those voters’ authorization, in an effort to manipulate the electoral process, authorities said.

“Our democracy is reliant on fair elections in which voters can have full confidence,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The public should have faith in the legitimacy of the electoral process. When fraud is committed and when election records are tampered with, law enforcement takes such crimes seriously, investigates them thoroughly, and ensures that perpetrators face justice.”

“We will not tolerate any situation in which a candidate or a would-be candidate secures an unfair advantage in a political race through misconduct, deceit, and corruption,” said Thomas J. Eicher, executive director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.

Devine is a familiar name in New Jersey politics.

The Bergan County Daily Voice reported a political action committee he ran was fined in 2018 for not disclosing the names of contributors or some expenses. The publication also reported he was previously charged with diverting $2,244 in campaign funds from a past race.

Editor’s Note: All individuals arrested or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The story was compiled using information from police and public court documents.

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