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Vice President Mike Pence, left, with Michael G. Adams. Adam is counsel to Pence's Leadership PAC and was counsel to the Republican Governor's Association while Chris Christie was chairman. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Big Integrity NJ donor tied to Pence

American Economic Freedom Alliance gave $500k to anti-Menendez super PAC

By David Wildstein, October 26 2018 8:17 pm

The American Economic Freedom Alliance (AEFA), a secretive non-profit group with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence, has contributed $500,000 to Integrity NJ, a super PAC that has spent $4.1 million to defeat U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

The group’s director is Michael G. Adams, who also serves as counsel to the Great America Committee, Pence’s leadership PAC.  Adams also spent eleven years as counsel to the Republican Governor’s Association, including the time former Gov. Chris Christie served as chairman.

Integrity NJ has closely tied to Christie.

While little is known about AEFA, earlier this year Matt St. Clair tweeted that he had “just signed on as research director for American Economic Freedom Alliance to do opposition research for Indiana’s Senate race.”

“I’ll be working closely with and reporting directly to the senior political advisor to Mike Pence,” St. Clair wrote.

Twitter has since suspended St. Clair’s account.

AEFA donated $600,000 to Hoosiers for Conservative Values, a super PAC that boosted Indiana Rep. Luke Messer’s unsuccessful bid for the GOP US. Senate nomination in 2018.

Adams serves as treasurer of more than a dozen political action committees, including RGA Right Direction PAC, which received $11.3 million from the RGA in 2014, while Christie headed the group.

From 2006 to 2007, Adams served as counsel to Deputy US. Attorney General Paul McNulty.  McNulty resigned in 2007 following his involvement in a controversy over the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys.  Christie was U.S. Attorney while Adams was there.

Adams did not immediately respond to a 6:41 PM e-mail seeking comment.  Integrity NJ did not immediately respond to an 8:15 e-mail seeking comment.  Their comment will be added to this story should either respond.

Integrity NJ’s biggest donor is Nicholas Brady, who represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate for eight months in 1972.  He contributed $825,00 in October, bringing is total contribution to the anti-Menendez PAC to $925,000.  Brady, 88, was an investment banker and Republican State Committeeman from Somerset County who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The Christie-tied group also received donations from a pair of billionaires: $150,000 from Louis Moore Bacon, a hedge fund manager from Boston who has been a major donor for mostly Republican candidates; and $75,000 from Charles B. Johnson, a Montclair native who contributed heavily to Tea Party-backed candidates and President Donald Trump.

Arminio Fraga Neto, a former president of the Central Bank of Brazil who serves with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin on the Princeton University Board of Trustees, contributed $10,00, while Carl Ferenbach, a Boston financier who formerly served as a Princeton trustee, gave $24,000.

Integrity NJ is headed by Phil Cox and Peter Sheridan, both of whom have close ties to Christie.

Cox, the group’s chairman and senior advisor, was executive director of the Republican Governors Association when Christie was chairman of the group. He also headed America Leads, a super PAC founded to back Christie’s 2016 presidential run.

Sheridan, formerly the executive director of the New Jersey GOP, worked on both of Christie’s gubernatorial campaigns and served on Christie’s transition out of the governorship. Sheridan is the PAC’s executive director.

The Menendez campaigned declined to comment.

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