As a Sussex County Freeholder, George Graham is required to file a personal financial disclosure statement with the State of New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services. The statement must be filed each year in order to comply with the Local Government Ethics Law. There are penalties for not filing or for filing a statement that contains a "willful misstatement of fact or omission of material fact."
As Freeholder Director, Graham is the boss of the Sussex County Freeholder Board. In the past, the Board's director position has rotated each year between the five members of the Freeholder Board. This was done to prevent any one member from becoming a county machine boss, as happens in some Democrat-controlled urban counties, such as Hudson County.
It is understood that Graham has brow-beat a majority of the other Board members into allowing him to remain Freeholder Director next year, and even the year after. It appears that Graham has obtained their acquiescence to allow him to remain the boss of the Board indefinitely. This is an unprecedented usurpation of power for a rural community like Sussex County.
But Sussex County has never had a Freeholder Director like George Graham. He is a political consultant and politics is his business.
According to Graham's financial disclosure statements filed in 2015 (Freeholder and County Planning Board) George Graham's sole source of income came from his political consulting firm: York Strategies. According to Graham's financial disclosure statements filed in 2016 (Freeholder and County Planning Board) he added the salary he receives as a Freeholder as a second source of income along with York Strategies.
York Strategies is associated with the campaigns of a number of Democrat candidates in Hudson County. Remember Assembly Speaker Joe Doria? The Hudson County Democrat was Governor Jim Florio's legislative point man in the passage of the most restrictive weapons ban in our nation's history.
George Graham and his political consulting business, York Strategies, worked for Joe Doria in Hudson County. Graham was a registered Democrat when he worked for Doria.
George Graham was a lifelong Democrat until switching to Republican to vote against conservatives Alison McHose and Gary Chiusano. In the General Election that year, Graham donated to their liberal Democrat opponents and switched back from Republican to Democrat in order to vote in the 2008 Democrat presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Afraid of losing his seat on Stanhope council, a desperate Graham switched again to Republican, his current party today. In a matter of a few years time, George Graham flipped from Democrat to Republican, back to Democrat, and then to Republican again. Graham has been a Democrat for most of his adult life and affiliated with liberals for much of that time.
Graham's political consulting business, York Strategies, which included partner James Barracato, came up with slogans like "Joe Doria is full time Bayonne" and "I'm with Joe," according to the Hudson Reporter newspaper. Although no longer a member of the Legislature, Joe Doria is still on the campaign trail with Jim Florio, only now they campaign for gun control and against the NRA (National Rifle Association).
At a recent gathering the two called for new constraints on the Second Amendment, with Joe Doria calling the NRA "dirty". Not to be outdone, Florio added that the manufacturers and sellers of guns were, in his words, "Merchants of Death."
The presence of a growing number of ex-Hudson County Democrats in the Sussex County GOP should be cause for concern as they establish an urban machine-like presence in Sussex County.
For earlier copies of Freeholder Graham's personal financial disclosure please contact this website.