NEW JERSEY – A former Morris County freeholder candidate Mary Dougherty was sentenced Thursday for filing a false report with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) in connection with an illegal $10,000 campaign contribution that she received, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
Dougherty, 60, of Morristown was sentenced today to one year of probation by Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Taylor in Morris County. She pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2020 to an accusation charging her with false swearing, a fourth-degree crime. She was required to forfeit the $10,000 that she received as an illegal campaign contribution, Grewal said.
Under New Jersey election law, it is illegal for a person to provide money to another person, known as a “straw donor,” to make a political contribution to a specific candidate. In pleading guilty, Dougherty admitted that during her unsuccessful campaign for Morris County freeholder in 2018, she received a $10,000 cash contribution from the cooperating witness, but returned it and asked him instead to provide her with four checks, each under the $2,600 individual limit for contributions per election per candidate. She admitted that when the cooperating witness gave her four checks, each for $2,500, made out in the names of different individuals and entities, she knew that the full $10,000 contribution was in fact from the cooperating witness, Grewal said.
Dougherty further admitted that when she filed her campaign’s required Form R-1 report of contributions and expenditures with ELEC, she reported that the four individuals and entities named on the checks made contributions of $2,500 each, knowing that the information was false, Grewal said.