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Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
April 17, 2018, Submitted; April 27, 2018, Decided
DOCKET NO. A-1767-16T3
[**926] [*616] The opinion of the court was delivered by
This case arises from the qui tam1 complaint filed by plaintiff William Brennan on behalf of the State, alleging defendant Steven Lonegan violated the New Jersey False Claims Act (FCA), N.J.S.A. 2A:32C-1 to -18, by submitting a false statement in a request for public campaign [**927] funds. Plaintiff appeals from a November 18, 2016 order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant. Defendant cross-appeals from an earlier order denying summary judgment based on standing and jurisdiction grounds. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, but on different grounds than the trial court.2 Specifically, we affirm the grant of summary judgment because we hold plaintiff lacks standing to bring the FCA [***2] complaint.
Defendant was a candidate for governor in the 2009 New Jersey Republican primary election. Defendant applied for public campaign funds pursuant to the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act (the Reporting Act), N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 to -47. As part of that application, defendant filed a certification with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (the Commission)3 verifying that "during the four years prior to the date upon which I became a candidate for nomination for election to the Office of Governor, I have not [*617] formed, assisted in the formation of, or am not now involved in any way in the management of an issue advocacy organization . . . ." The Commission approved defendant for public campaign funds and he began receiving funds in January 2009.
In February 2009, as the result of a newspaper article, the Commission authorized an investigation to determine if defendant "formed, participated in the formation of, or was in any way involved in the management of the Americans for Prosperity, an issue advocacy group." At that time, the Commission also temporarily suspended payment of public campaign funds to defendant. In March 2009, after completing its investigation, [***3] the Commission advised defendant that "no further action would be taken on the issue," and resumed defendant's receipt of public campaign funds.
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454 N.J. Super. 613 *; 186 A.3d 925 **; 2018 N.J. Super. LEXIS 65 ***; 2018 WL 1974993
WILLIAM J. BRENNAN, on behalf of the State of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Respondent, v. STEVEN LONEGAN, Defendant-Respondent/Cross-Appellant.
Subsequent History: [***1] Approved for Publication April 27, 2018.
Certification denied by Brennan v. Lonegan, 2018 N.J. LEXIS 1508 (N.J., Nov. 13, 2018)
Prior History: On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. L-2169-11.
summary judgment, Reporting, original source, campaign fund, trial court, allegations, publicly, lack standing