Roque campaign in WNY says he’ll return illegal campaign donation

WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND — West New York Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega sent out a press release this morning calling on his challenger in the May election, Dr. Felix Roque, to return illegal campaign funds or face legal issues. But according to Roque’s campaign manager, Joe DeMarco, acceptance of the money was an honest mistake and a check has already been sent back to the contributor.
Finance reports show that Roque accepted a $10,000 campaign contribution from nursing care company Mi Casa Es Su Casa in Saddle Brook, according to Vega’s press release. State election law limits the amount of a contribution from an individual or corporation to $2,600.
DeMarco confirmed that Roque did receive a contribution from Mi Casa Es Su Casa Corporation, but that it was in the form of a company check, which led them to believe that there were several contributors involved, not just one person.
“Usually what happens is when you get a personal check, it’s easy to trace back, but with a company check, you’re under the impression that it was divided between the owners and other members [of the corporation],” DeMarco said.
The New Jersey Contributions Limit Chart, however, clearly limits a corporation to donating $2,600.
According to Vega, “The law is very clear and anyone running for public office knows it very well. Just because my opponent has more money than anyone else does not mean he can make up his own rules.”
Though the press release said that Vega would call for a state investigation if Roque refuses to return the money, such action is unnecessary, according to DeMarco, who said they have already sent back a check for $7,500 of the amount to Mi Casa Es Su Casa Corporation.
“This is not as big a deal as they make it out,” said DeMarco. “This does occur, and there are forms for …the refund of excess contributions.”
For our prior coverage of the May 10 municipal election, see links below.

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