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Donald Trump Jr. to appear at Smithville fundraiser Tuesday night
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Donald Trump Jr. to appear at Smithville fundraiser Tuesday night

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GALLOWAY — Tuesday night’s fundraiser with Donald Trump Jr. will benefit a nonprofit group, and an organizer said money raised will be used to support social service efforts as well as candidates who espouse fiscal accountability, lower taxes and job creation.

Tickets range from $300-$1,500 for the event at Historic Smithville Inn, and it’s almost sold out, said organizer and former Galloway Mayor Don Purdy on Monday.

“We are limiting it to 80 people inside ($1,500 tickets) and we could get 300 to 350 people outside ($300 tickets) with social distancing,” Purdy said. “Right now we have over 200 already.”

He only found out Wednesday night that Trump Jr. agreed to come, he said. Since then has been a whirlwind of planning and meeting with the Secret Service.

Purdy said Tuesday night’s fundraiser for Citizens for Responsible Development started as a way to help Republican candidates who are having a tough time raising money during the COVID-19 epidemic.

“With COVID this year, a lot of people are not able to get out and introduce themselves,” Purdy said, because the usual beef-and-beer events and fairs are not happening. “One of the hardest things in politics is to raise money.”

He said his good friend Jim Schultz, who grew up in Galloway and has worked at the White House, helped him arrange the visit from Trump Jr. The president’s son is promoting his new book “Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and His Defense of the Indefensible.”

Purdy said Jeff Van Drew is likely to receive some of the funds raised.

“Jeff Van Drew means a lot to them. Democrat or Republican, (the Citizens’ group) always liked Jeff,” Purdy said.

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Purdy also said the Citizens’ group funds things other than politics, such as haircuts for kids, book bags, and social service groups. The group filed a postcard 990 tax form with the IRS, attesting it raised less than $50,000 in 2019. It did not detail its disbursements.

However, not all Republicans are happy with the choice of Citizens for Responsible Development to receive the funds because of the group’s history of donating $12,000 to a Super PAC called Our Atlantic City in 2018.

In 2018, Our Atlantic City paid about $12,000 to Craig Callaway Get Out the Vote, and more than 2,000 to David Callaway Get Out the Vote, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Callaways are Democratic power brokers whose work helped, among other candidates, Celeste Fernandez in her bid to unseat longtime Republican Freeholder Frank Formica in 2018. Formica won re-election narrowly after a large number of vote-by-mail ballots came in for Fernandez.

“While I’m very pleased to see Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle come into Atlantic County, I wish the funds raised weren’t going to a PAC that has supported Democrats in Atlantic City, and hurt our own Republican candidates,” said Keith Davis, chair of the Atlantic County Republicans. Davis does not plan to attend the event.

Democrats plan to protest Trump Jr.’s visit, they have said.

Purdy said the Citizens’ group is not a political action committee but is a 501c4 nonprofit. That class of nonprofit may engage in some lobbying and campaign activities, but it cannot be the primary purpose of the group. Donations to 501c4 groups are not tax deductible.

Davis said the county GOP has its own fundraiser planned for 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1, also at the Historic Smithville Inn.

Davis, State Senator Chris Brown, County Executive Dennis Levinson, and Freeholder Chair Maureen Kern will hold an outdoor breakfast session honoring GOP candidates for surrogate, sheriff and freeholder.

For more information contact Theresa Mondella 732-551-2187 or tmondella@gmail.com/.

To attend Tuesday night’s fundraiser with Trump Jr., contact Galloway Republican Club President Christopher Coleman at 609-276-4438 or ccoleman609@gmail.com/.

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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