Daily Archives: October 30, 2008

Monmouth Univ. In Jeopardy of Losing IRS Tax Exemption – Scharfenberger May Face Disciplinary Action


Monmouth University has been put in a precarious positions and is in jeopardy of losing its IRS tax exemption status thanks to Middletown’s extremely partisan Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.

On October 19th the good mayor, who moonlights as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University, used Monmouth’s email system to write a partisan letter of support for Pam Brightbill and Tony “the fibber” Fiore, the Republican Candidates for Middletown Township Committee. This letter also contained biased and untrue claims against their democratic opponents.

In his partisan zeal, he then emailed this letter which was titled “message from the mayor”, to a dozen of his fellow Middletown republicans and asked them to forward it to as many residents as possible.

(click here for larger view of email)

This partisan act by Mr. Scharfenberger was  in clear violation of Monmouth University’s Guidelines for Political Activity which states:
As an organization exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Monmouth University is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening (including the publishing or distributing of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria are prohibited. According to the IRS, whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances in each case.

POLICY
A. While the University encourages students and employees to exercise their civic duty by registering and voting, and further encourages political debate and discussion, the University prohibits the use of University resources to support partisan political efforts. In addition, University policy prohibits the following.

  1. Employees are not permitted to utilize University resources to support political candidates. This includes the use of University letterhead, postage, e-mail accounts, message boards, or other University resources.
  2. Employees should not post political statements (e.g., bumper stickers) on University-owned vehicles or uniforms.
  3. No one is permitted to release the names of University employees or students to an outside party, including but not limited to providing such lists for political purposes.
  4. Campaign contributions on behalf of the University are not permitted….

The penalties that may be incurred by Monmouth Univ. because of the mayor’s senseless use of the University’s email system for partisan politicking is as follows:

A. If the IRS finds that the University has engaged in prohibited campaign activity, the University could lose its tax-exempt status and could be subject to an excise tax on the amount of money spent on that activity.

B. In cases of flagrant violation of the law, the IRS has specific statutory authority to make an immediate determination and assessment of tax. The IRS can also ask a federal district court to enjoin the University from making further political expenditures.

C. In addition, contributions to organizations that lose their section 501(c)(3) status because of political activities are not deductible by the donors for federal income tax purposes.

In the coming weeks it will be interesting to find out just what the out come of this incident will be. Scharfenberger’s careless  one-upsmanship and biased partisan politicking using Monmouth University’s resources, is clearly a violation of Monmouth’s policies that govern such activities and puts the university in clear danger of losing it’s tax exempt IRS status.
This incident is just the latest example of how ethically challenged Scharfenberger is. 
Lets hope that Monmouth University decides to take the proper disciplinary actions against the mayor for putting the institution in such a potentially bad  situation.

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Filed under Guidlines for Political Activity, IRS Tax Exemption, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Monmouth University

Monmouth Univ. In Jeopardy of Losing IRS Tax Exemption – Scharfenberger May Face Disciplinary Action


Monmouth University has been put in a precarious positions and is in jeopardy of losing its IRS tax exemption status thanks to Middletown’s extremely partisan Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.

On October 19th the good mayor, who moonlights as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University, used Monmouth’s email system to write a partisan letter of support for Pam Brightbill and Tony “the fibber” Fiore, the Republican Candidates for Middletown Township Committee. This letter also contained biased and untrue claims against their democratic opponents.

In his partisan zeal, he then emailed this letter which was titled “message from the mayor”, to a dozen of his fellow Middletown republicans and asked them to forward it to as many residents as possible.

(click here for larger view of email)

This partisan act by Mr. Scharfenberger was  in clear violation of Monmouth University’s Guidelines for Political Activity which states:
As an organization exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Monmouth University is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening (including the publishing or distributing of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria are prohibited. According to the IRS, whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances in each case.

POLICY
A. While the University encourages students and employees to exercise their civic duty by registering and voting, and further encourages political debate and discussion, the University prohibits the use of University resources to support partisan political efforts. In addition, University policy prohibits the following.

  1. Employees are not permitted to utilize University resources to support political candidates. This includes the use of University letterhead, postage, e-mail accounts, message boards, or other University resources.
  2. Employees should not post political statements (e.g., bumper stickers) on University-owned vehicles or uniforms.
  3. No one is permitted to release the names of University employees or students to an outside party, including but not limited to providing such lists for political purposes.
  4. Campaign contributions on behalf of the University are not permitted….

The penalties that may be incurred by Monmouth Univ. because of the mayor’s senseless use of the University’s email system for partisan politicking is as follows:

A. If the IRS finds that the University has engaged in prohibited campaign activity, the University could lose its tax-exempt status and could be subject to an excise tax on the amount of money spent on that activity.

B. In cases of flagrant violation of the law, the IRS has specific statutory authority to make an immediate determination and assessment of tax. The IRS can also ask a federal district court to enjoin the University from making further political expenditures.

C. In addition, contributions to organizations that lose their section 501(c)(3) status because of political activities are not deductible by the donors for federal income tax purposes.

In the coming weeks it will be interesting to find out just what the out come of this incident will be. Scharfenberger’s careless  one-upsmanship and biased partisan politicking using Monmouth University’s resources, is clearly a violation of Monmouth’s policies that govern such activities and puts the university in clear danger of losing it’s tax exempt IRS status.
This incident is just the latest example of how ethically challenged Scharfenberger is. 
Lets hope that Monmouth University decides to take the proper disciplinary actions against the mayor for putting the institution in such a potentially bad  situation.

2 Comments

Filed under Guidlines for Political Activity, IRS Tax Exemption, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Monmouth University

>McCain Gave "Radical" Professor Rashid Kahlidi $448,873 In Grants

>John McCain and his surrogates have attempted to paint Sen. Barack Obama as holding anti-Israel views because of his relationship with Palestinian-American Professor Rashid Kahlidi. They claim that Kahlidi holds a “very hostile view of Israel” and has “a connection to the PLO.”

The “public record” shows that Khalidi is a well-respected, mainstream scholar of Middle Eastern studies.

The inaccuracy of the McCain camps characterization of Khalidi as being “hostle to Israel” and a supporter of the PLO, is the fact that while McCain served as chairman of the board for the International Republican Institute he distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, totaling $448,873.

“This, of course, just goes to show how absurd it is to suggest that Khalidi is some sort of radical polemicist. The guy is such a credentialed and respected scholar that even right-leaning organizations have funded his work, simply because it’s good work. They may not agree with his personal conclusions, but Khalidi’s scholarship gets taken seriously.” Noted Ezra Klein of the American Prospect

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama, Center for Palestine Research and Studies, Ezra Klein, John McCain, Rashid Kahlidi, the American Prospect

McCain Gave "Radical" Professor Rashid Kahlidi $448,873 In Grants

John McCain and his surrogates have attempted to paint Sen. Barack Obama as holding anti-Israel views because of his relationship with Palestinian-American Professor Rashid Kahlidi. They claim that Kahlidi holds a “very hostile view of Israel” and has “a connection to the PLO.”

The “public record” shows that Khalidi is a well-respected, mainstream scholar of Middle Eastern studies.

The inaccuracy of the McCain camps characterization of Khalidi as being “hostle to Israel” and a supporter of the PLO, is the fact that while McCain served as chairman of the board for the International Republican Institute he distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, totaling $448,873.

“This, of course, just goes to show how absurd it is to suggest that Khalidi is some sort of radical polemicist. The guy is such a credentialed and respected scholar that even right-leaning organizations have funded his work, simply because it’s good work. They may not agree with his personal conclusions, but Khalidi’s scholarship gets taken seriously.” Noted Ezra Klein of the American Prospect

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama, Center for Palestine Research and Studies, Ezra Klein, John McCain, Rashid Kahlidi, the American Prospect

>Middletown Dems, Byrnes & Short Oppose Town Center and Object to Accusation to the Contrary

>Middletown Democratic Committeemen Partick Short and Sean Byrnes rleased the following in response to a letter written Greg Vasil, President of the Concerned Citizens of Middletown:

Township Committeeman Patrick Short and I have read with dismay Mr. Vasil’s recent letter to, The Two River Times. We have no issue with his position on the Town Center project. In fact, we agree with Mr. Vasil: We don’t want the project either. We have been very clear on this with both of us voting to petition the state Supreme Court to overturn the recent Appellate Court decision that ruled in the developer’s favor. Indeed, before his election, as he did with the athletic complex in Lincroft, Mr. Short led the campaign to block the project.

Where we take issue with Mr. Vasil is when he parrots the campaign mantra of our mayor. Since last year, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, when speaking in public and when writing to newspapers, has claimed that we support the Town Center and that we are in the pocket of the developer, Joseph Azzolina. These accusations, like so many made in this year’s campaign, have no basis in fact and are part of a desperate effort to hold on to power in Middletown.

We find it quite revealing that a party that has held power for 30 years campaigns on fabricated allegations, rather than on their record of governance. Given the history of controversy involving Republican elected officials in Middletown, our mayor and his party have calculated that this year’s Republican candidates will gain votes if he casts the Democrats as favoring the Town Center. So, although we have stated openly our opposition to the project and have voted accordingly, our mayor – and now Mr. Vasil – continue to suggest otherwise.

The comments attributed to Mr. Short in the mayor’s recent introduction of an ordinance to rezone the property in question are misleading. Each of us took issue with the mayor’s decision, taken without any discussion with other committee members, to re-introduce the identical ordinance that had been struck down only weeks earlier by the Appellate Court. We did so, in part, because we feared this action would cause the court to take matters into its own hands and judicially order the approval of the Town Center project.

The Appellate Court’s recent decision severely criticizes Middletown and comes very close to ordering that the project move forward. We made a motion to table the ordinance for two weeks to allow discussion and to correct numerous errors in the ordinance that the mayor overlooked in his haste to make it a campaign issue. Even as we voted on our request for this brief period of time to discuss the ordinance, the mayor immediately alleged a connection to Mr. Azzolina. Regrettably, with nothing else to campaign on, there is little we can do to silence these baseless allegations until this election is over.

In truth, Mr. Azzolina, the developer of the Town Center project, is a long-time Republican, and the Town Center idea came from the Republican Party. He split with the current leaders of his party, who initially encouraged him to purchase the property to build Town Center. We find it somewhat amusing that our mayor, and now Mr. Vasil, would attempt to use this Republican Party spat to criticize Democrats as supporting the Town Center. We work for Middletown residents, not Mr. Azzolina. If he has expressed support for us, he has a right to do so, but any effort to characterize that support as a quid pro quo for our support of Town Center is mistaken.

Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short
Middletown Township Committee

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Filed under Greg Vasil, Joseph Azzloina, Middletown, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Town Center, Two River Times

Middletown Dems, Byrnes & Short Oppose Town Center and Object to Accusation to the Contrary

Middletown Democratic Committeemen Partick Short and Sean Byrnes rleased the following in response to a letter written Greg Vasil, President of the Concerned Citizens of Middletown:

Township Committeeman Patrick Short and I have read with dismay Mr. Vasil’s recent letter to, The Two River Times. We have no issue with his position on the Town Center project. In fact, we agree with Mr. Vasil: We don’t want the project either. We have been very clear on this with both of us voting to petition the state Supreme Court to overturn the recent Appellate Court decision that ruled in the developer’s favor. Indeed, before his election, as he did with the athletic complex in Lincroft, Mr. Short led the campaign to block the project.

Where we take issue with Mr. Vasil is when he parrots the campaign mantra of our mayor. Since last year, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, when speaking in public and when writing to newspapers, has claimed that we support the Town Center and that we are in the pocket of the developer, Joseph Azzolina. These accusations, like so many made in this year’s campaign, have no basis in fact and are part of a desperate effort to hold on to power in Middletown.

We find it quite revealing that a party that has held power for 30 years campaigns on fabricated allegations, rather than on their record of governance. Given the history of controversy involving Republican elected officials in Middletown, our mayor and his party have calculated that this year’s Republican candidates will gain votes if he casts the Democrats as favoring the Town Center. So, although we have stated openly our opposition to the project and have voted accordingly, our mayor – and now Mr. Vasil – continue to suggest otherwise.

The comments attributed to Mr. Short in the mayor’s recent introduction of an ordinance to rezone the property in question are misleading. Each of us took issue with the mayor’s decision, taken without any discussion with other committee members, to re-introduce the identical ordinance that had been struck down only weeks earlier by the Appellate Court. We did so, in part, because we feared this action would cause the court to take matters into its own hands and judicially order the approval of the Town Center project.

The Appellate Court’s recent decision severely criticizes Middletown and comes very close to ordering that the project move forward. We made a motion to table the ordinance for two weeks to allow discussion and to correct numerous errors in the ordinance that the mayor overlooked in his haste to make it a campaign issue. Even as we voted on our request for this brief period of time to discuss the ordinance, the mayor immediately alleged a connection to Mr. Azzolina. Regrettably, with nothing else to campaign on, there is little we can do to silence these baseless allegations until this election is over.

In truth, Mr. Azzolina, the developer of the Town Center project, is a long-time Republican, and the Town Center idea came from the Republican Party. He split with the current leaders of his party, who initially encouraged him to purchase the property to build Town Center. We find it somewhat amusing that our mayor, and now Mr. Vasil, would attempt to use this Republican Party spat to criticize Democrats as supporting the Town Center. We work for Middletown residents, not Mr. Azzolina. If he has expressed support for us, he has a right to do so, but any effort to characterize that support as a quid pro quo for our support of Town Center is mistaken.

Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short
Middletown Township Committee

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Filed under Greg Vasil, Joseph Azzloina, Middletown, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Town Center, Two River Times

Joe The Unlicensed Plumber Making A Fool Of Himself

Is he a plummer, a country singer, a writer or does he want to run for Congress? Apparently he wants it all and he hired his own publicist to help him get it.

Joe “the Plummer” Wurzelbacher has become the latest american to achieve their 15 minutes of fame. I can only hope that it ends as soon as the election does. Keith Olbermann, I think agrees.

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Filed under campaign comment, Countdown with Keith Olberman, Joe "the Plummer"