The head of New Jersey’s elections watchdog, ELEC’s Jeff Brindle, said it best: “Never before have two legislative races topped $6 million in one election” – referring to the 2nd and 8th districts. Why is New Jersey spending more and more every election? The taxpayer-funded NJEA.
News reports get the facts wrong. They identify the George Norcross-affiliated American Democratic Majority as the top spender, citing to an ELEC report. But while the ELEC report does show that American Democratic Majority has spent $5.5 in independent expenditures, it also shows that it got half its money from the Carpenters’ and Plumbers’ unions. In fact, almost all the ultimate funders of American Democratic Majority are from a diverse collection of unions, associations and individuals.
Not so the NJEA. The NJEA’s Super PAC, Garden State Forward, is listed as the second-highest spender, with $3.8 million spent, BUT ALL OF THIS MONEY COMES FROM THE NJEA. So when it comes to the true source of the funds, the ELEC list of the top spenders should look like this:
|Garden State Forward||$3,766,647|
|Working for Working Americans (Carpenters)||$1,500,000|
|Carpenters’ Action Fund||$1,050,000|
|New Jersey Coalition of Real Estate||$809,784|
Recall that Garden State Forward has also spent $15.5 million supporting Governor Murphy’s re-election via three Super PACs, so that is $19.3 million spent on this election cycle (almost all to elect Democrats). So make no mistake about it: once again, the NJEA is BY FAR the largest special interest political spender in the state. No other special interest comes close.
So there’s a reason New Jersey is spending more and more on politics: the taxpayer-funded NJEA keeps upping the ante because it can. Because it siphons off $140 million in property tax dollars every year and can – and does – spend whatever it wants on politics. Most other special interests are not funded with tax dollars.
And remember that Garden State Forward is funded by regular teachers’ dues that are automatically withheld from their paychecks, so this $19.3 million amounts to $154 for each NJEA teacher.
This is the legalized corruption of New Jersey politics by a taxpayer-funded special interest.