The Record’s Charles Stile wrote and op-ed entitled “How Murphy’s ‘dark money’ allies allow governor to play good cop/bad cop with Trump,” which rightly focused on the cozy relationship between the dark money Super PAC New Direction New Jersey (NDNJ) and Governor Murphy. Stile deserves credit for previously scrutinizing NDNJ and recognizing that 70% of its funding comes from the NJEA. New Jersey citizens need to know about the financial ties and political influence exerted by the entrenched special interests that dominate the state’s political system, led by the NJEA.
But Stile could have gone farther. Stile mentions that Murphy insisted that NDNJ is “an independent nonprofit and that he doesn’t sign off on its public releases” but leaves it at that. But this claim by Murphy is contrary to the facts. Murphy acts as if he has nothing to do with NDNJ, while in fact he has appeared in their TV ad campaigns as a veritable front-man for the group. Even more troublesome, as reported by the Record, Murphy raised funds for NDNJ. No, NDNJ is not some group that works independently of Governor Murphy: it works hand-in-hand with him. Murphy should have been called out on this.
This fact inexorably leads to Governor Murphy’s blatant conflict of interest and the inexplicable unwillingness of the press to come to grips with it. When Murphy appeared in NDNJ ads calling for a millionaire’s tax, he was pushing the NJEA’s agenda. This is an open conflict of interest and begs the question: who is Murphy serving, the NJEA or the people of New Jersey? Given the NJEA’s generous support of Murphy and its funding of 70% of NDNJ’s budget, New Jersey citizens would be right to question the propriety of this relationship.
Why won’t the press?