Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt is calling for the Legislature to conduct an independent, bi-partisan investigation of allegations that Albert Alvarez, the former Schools Development Authority chief of staff, was accused of sexual misconduct.
POLITICO New Jersey reported yesterday that Alvarez, a longtime Democratic insider, had been hired for the post Gov. Phil Murphy’s new administration, faced a criminal allegation after being accused of sexual misconduct by a woman during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign. According to the report, Murphy’s transition team was aware of the allegations before Alvarez was offered the $140,000-a-year job.
“While it might be Governor Murphy’s “new norm” to overlook illegal actors and bribe takers, it cannot be New Jersey’s norm,” said Steinhardt. “The stakes are too great and the country is watching.”
Steinhardt, who is a possible candidate for the 2021 Republican gubernatorial nomination, noted that Murphy promised to fight sexual harassment when he sought office last year.
“New Jersey needs to know if Governor Murphy would go as far as to shelter someone like Al Alvarez. We call on the State legislature to conduct an independent investigation into the treatment of sexual misconduct within the Murphy Administration,” Steinhardt said.” “Transparency in this matter is tantamount. America’s zero tolerance for this kind of behavior is well documented and well justified.”
Steinhardt’s demand for a probe comes less than a month before the mid-term election, where Republicans are trying to protect four House seats in competitive elections, as well as elect their first U.S. Senator in 46 years.
“What exactly were the criminal charges? What did the administration know and when? Finally, what happened to the allegations and, more important, the accuser? New Jersey deserves answers to these and the scores of other questions raised by this article and these revelations,” said Steinhardt. “We call on the State’s legislative leaders, Sweeney, Kean, Coughlin and Bramnick, to come together and conduct a thorough investigation.”
Steinhardt is the first to publicly call for an investigation by the Legislature, where Murphy has little support in two houses controlled by Democrats.
“If this is the “new norm” then we are failing,” the top Republican said.