The scandal over whether New Jersey Gov.-elect Christine Todd Whitman's campaign paid black ministers money to not organize get-out-the-vote efforts just keeps growing.
The United States Justice Department and the New Jersey attorney general's office have begun criminal investigations into the affair. And the state Democratic Party has filed suit to invalidate the election results, which had Republican Whitman beating Democrat James Florio by fewer than 27,000 votes.
In an attempt to bolster Ms. Whitman's claim that her campaign never handed out ``sitting around'' money, her campaign released finance documents on Saturday.
These documents show that the GOP spent about $69,000 on election ``street money.'' The term traditionally describes money paid to people who get out the vote on Election Day. The documents detail what local Republican organizations received money, but they do now say how those organizations spent it.
Whitman's campaign manager, Ed Rollins, said at a Monitor breakfast last week that the campaign handed out $500,000 to suppress get-out-the-vote efforts by black ministers and Democratic operatives. He has since retracted that statement.
But Whitman's own brother and former campaign manager, Webster (Dan) Todd Jr., added to the controversy by stating at a Princeton University forum that ``keeping the vote light'' in some areas was part of the campaign's strategy.
Whitman said she welcomed further investigation into the affair.
``That's the only way to send a message completely and thoroughly that this did not occur,'' she said. New York Has Own Flap
The New Jersey governor's race isn't the only one that's receiving Justice Department scrutiny. Law-enforcement officials are also looking into fraud allegations swirling around the New York mayor's race in which Republican Rudolph Giuliani beat Democrat David Dinkins.
Both campaigns complained about problems during the vote. The Dinkins campaign said signs were posted in Hispanic areas warning that immigration officials would appear at election sites to ``arrest and deport undocumented illegal voters.'' Mr. Dinkins called the posters an ``outrageous effort'' to intimidate people who had recently become citizens.
Giuliani campaign official Richard Bryers said his candidate's voters were harassed and Giuliani levers on some voting machines were broken.
Mr. Breyers also said that there were reports that some voting machines had registered votes for Dinkins even before the polls opened, and that in one Dinkins stronghold mentally retarded people were led to the polling places and given help pulling voting levers.