Kudos to Ashley Balcerzak and northjersey.com for continuing their excellent work on Gov. Murphy’s dark-money Super PAC, Stronger Fairer Forward, widely believed to be aimed at a potential White House run. Not only have they scoured federal records, they apparently have someone who has access to the NJEA’s contribution records and is willing to leak them. This is important because the NJEA’s $1.5 million contribution is by far and away the largest contributor to Stronger Fairer Forward.
Here’s a list of the contributors:
- New Jersey Education Association – $1.5 million
- Carpenters Action Fund – $250,000
- International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 – $150,000
- International Longshoremen’s Union – $100,000
- Teachers AFL-CIO – $100,000
- SEIU Local 32 – $25,000
- Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association – $25,000
- Angelo Genova (of law firm Genova Burns) – $20,000
- Cooper Levenson (law firm) – $7,500
All told, the contributions amount to $2,177,500, and the NJEA accounts for 69%. The $1.5 million adds to the $16 million the NJEA already spent aiding Murphy, making the total $17.5 million.
Murphy and the NJEA: the Masters of Dark Money. Sunlight would also note that most of this $17.5 million was contributed to dark-money Super PACs, which means that absent voluntary actions or leaks to reporters, the public would never know about the contributions – or the potential influence over the governor’s policies. Senate President Nicholas Scutari got it right:
“Where does the money go in politics? It goes to these dark money groups that don’t have any requirements to tell you where it came from.”
This is exactly as powerful special interests — like the NJEA — and the pols they influence — like Murphy — want it: dark, not transparent. Accordingly, dark money has become the preferred method of political support for both Murphy and the NJEA. Indeed, the lawyer for Jeff Brindle, the head of New Jersey’s election watchdog, believes that Murphy wants to remove Brindle due to his “public criticisms of dark money.”
All paid for by teachers’ highest-in-the-nation dues. The total of $17.5 million makes the NJEA the largest supporter of Murphy’s political ambitions — by far. $17.5 million is a lot of money and ALL of the money came from teachers’ highest-in-the-nation dues — regardless of whether a teacher is a Republican, or doesn’t want to contribute to politicians, or might prefer lower dues.
This is why New Jersey politics have such a bad reputation: Dark money, powerful special interests, hidden political influence, backroom deals. Teachers are forced to pay for it and ordinary citizens are forced to be governed by it.
New Jersey under Murphy: run by and for the special interests.