A group of six Republicans from New Jersey’s 7th district are calling on the National Republican Congressional Committee to pull a controversial television ad saying that Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) lobbied on behalf of sex offenders.
The ad alleges that Malinowski opposed a section of the 2006 crime bill creating a national sex offender registry while heading the Washington office of Human Rights Watch. Malinowski has vehemently denied any role and one of his colleagues corroborated that.
Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum, East Amwell Mayor Richard Wolfe and Readington Councilwoman Betty Anne Fort all signed on to the call that the NRCC take down the ad, which began running this week.
Former Peapack-Gladstone Mayor William Muller, former Alexandria Mayor Michelle Garay and former Clinton Township Mayor Nick Corcodilos also signed the statement.
“As current and former Republican elected officials, we urge the National Republican Congressional Committee to withdraw its ad suggesting that Congressman Malinowski somehow supports sex offenders,” the six Republicans said. “The accusation is false. What’s more, the ad plays into and amplifies a dangerous current of fear in our politics, which is turning Americans against one another and distracting us from the real challenges our country faces.”
The NRCC has put $250,000 behind the ad, which is running on cable television stations.
“Whichever candidate one supports in the 7th District Congressional race, there should be agreement that the debate should be based on facts and focus on issues. We want to hear where the candidates stand and how they differ on important issues like the economy, health care, the environment, public safety, and national security,” the Republican officials said. “We call on the candidates and all outside groups to campaign in that spirit.”
Garay endorsed Malinowski in 2018 against five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township).
In testimony prepared for Congress, Human Rights Watch suggesting that while sex offender registration was warranted, there was “no legitimate community safety justification for the provisions in this legislation that require offenders to register for the rest of their lives, regardless of whether they have lived offense free for decades.”
The ad uses nighttime footage of cities and suburban neighborhoods, with a narrator using an ominous voice and a grainy photo of Malinowski.
Script: “In every city, in every neighborhood, around every corner, sex offenders are living among us. But Tom Malinowski tried to make it easier for predators to hide in the shadows. Malinowski worked as the top lobbyist for a radical group that strongly opposed the national sex offender registry. Law enforcement praised the national sex offender registry that Tom Malinowski led an effort to stop. After two decades in Washington, Tom Malinowski has become dangerously radical.”
In a New Jersey Globe debate with his Republican opponent, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. on Sunday, Malinowski insisted that he had nothing to do with the crime bill when it came up fourteen years ago.
“I did not play any such role,” Malinowski said.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jennifer Daskal, who worked at Human Right Watch in 2006, told the New Jersey Globe in August that she handled the crime bill and Malinowski did not attended any meetings on the legislation.