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Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Ciattarelli bashes Murphy for dark money contributions for non-profit

Possible GOP gubernatorial candidate says NJEA contribution is a conflict

By David Wildstein, May 20 2019 11:03 pm

Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough), considered a likely candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2021, tonight slammed Gov. Phil Murphy for his ties to a non-profit advocacy group that took $2.5 million from the state’s largest public employee union and then refused to release their donors.

“Is our Governor that shameless, politically incompetent or both?” Ciattarelli asked in a statement that could be the opening shot by a Republican to blunt Murphy’s bid for a second term in two years.

Ciattarelli said that Murphy promised a “new standard of transparency” when he ran two years ago.

After Murphy was elected, a group of his advisors opened New Direction New Jersey, a political group that backs the governor’s political agenda.

“Until now, donors to this ‘dark money’ political organization were unknown. No longer. The New Jersey Education Association, the union representing middle class teachers, donated no less than $2.5 million,” said Ciattarelli, who sought the GOP nomination for governor in 2017.  “Since the Governor is supposed to negotiate with public sector unions on behalf of New Jersey taxpayers, his relationship with NJEA is an egregious conflict of interest that seriously compromises him as the leader of our state. He has taken phoniness and hypocrisy to whole other level.”

Ciattarelli says that Murphy “needs to stop embarrassing New Jersey.”

“He can start by demanding that the advisors running the ‘dark money’ political organization immediately return the NJEA money and disclose all other donors, as they previously promised,” the former Somerset County assemblyman said.

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