Home>Governor>In e-mail, Murphy advisor implies political retaliation in hospital budget cuts

Democratic political consultant Steve DeMicco

In e-mail, Murphy advisor implies political retaliation in hospital budget cuts

“No pain, no gain,” says DeMicco in response to press release criticizing Cooper funding freeze

By David Wildstein, July 10 2019 2:50 pm

A four-word e-mail from Gov. Phil Murphy’s political consultant to George Norcross’ spokesman gives legitimacy to claims that a $5 million budget cut to Cooper Health Care was an act of political retribution.

“No pain, no gain,” wrote Steve DeMicco, who also runs the Murphy-tied New Direction New Jersey dark money group, in an e-mail to Daniel Fee, who works for Norcross.

DeMicco’s comments could be interpreted as a move by Murphy to punish Norcross and other South Jersey Democrats as the governor fights a bitter intra-party war.

Fee had sent out a press release on July 3 responding to Murphy’s line item veto of money for Cooper and his announcement that he had frozen $27.4 million in funds earmarked for the hospital system.

DeMicco’s response a little more than 2 ½ hours after the release was sent by Fee, whose e-mail address him as affiliated with Connor Strong,  the insurance company Norcross runs.

On Monday, Senate President Steve Sweeney said that he viewed Murphy’s decision to cut or freeze some budget items as politically motivated.

“It is obvious that services and programs associated with those who have legitimate disagreements with you were targeted,” Sweeney said.  “The facts and financial figures tell the truth. The fact that you instituted a freeze was overtly political to begin with.”

The Cooper release criticized Murphy for freezing $15.4 million in funding for cancer patients – funding that the governor had proposed that funding in his own budget.

“What changed,” Cooper asked, noting that Murphy did not freeze $30 million in funding for North Jersey cancer programs.

The press release also alleged that Murphy targeted $12 million that was supposed to go to Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.  According to Cooper, Murphy said “there’s not (a) better medical school I the state that Cooper.”

DeMicco did not immediately respond to a 1:45 PM call seeking comment.

The governor’s office said that DeMicco was not involved in the state budget process.

“Steve DeMicco is an outside political consultant to the Governor and to many other clients. He played no role in the drafting or implementation of Executive Order 73,” Dan Bryan, a senior advisor to the governor, told the New Jersey Globe.  “The Governor’s budget actions were driven by his fiduciary responsibility to the people of New Jersey, not politics.”

This story was updated at 3:39 PM with comment from Murphy’s office.

DeMicco Cooper
Spread the news:
RELATED ARTICLES
Filter by
Post Page
Feature Governor Legislature Highlight
Sort by

Legislature may hold special session to fix vote-by-mail mess

Efforts to find administrative fix has failed, sources say
August 21, 2019 1:41 pm

18

Murphy won’t say if he agrees with mail-in ballot ruling

Governor says he’s open to changes in VBM law down the road
August 19, 2019 3:12 pm

18

Voters who asked for mail-in ballots in last two elections must reapply, state says

Murphy administration ruling could dampen prospects of Democratic Assembly candidates in
August 15, 2019 4:02 pm

18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *