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Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. (Photo: University of Chicago Institute of Politics.)

Ex-U.S. Labor Secretary says he didn’t back McCormick social security plan

Robert Reich says he never sent email or made endorsement released in 2019 by McCormick

By David Wildstein, April 10 2021 6:44 pm

When Lisa McCormick ran for Union County Surrogate in 2019, she brandished an endorsement of her Social Security rescue plan from former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

But Reich says he never did it.

“I have no record of sending this email or making this endorsement,” Reich told the New Jersey Globe.

The fake email from McCormick is surfacing after lawyers for the Democratic State Committee alleged that she falsified signatures on her nominating petitions as a candidate for governor in the primary against Gov. Phil Murphy.

McCormick had widely circulated the email from Reich, who served in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet.

“As a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, I know that the American standard of living depends on the strength of our social safety nets. This is why I’m impressed by Lisa McCormick’s proposal to save Social Security and insure (sic) long term solvency of the nation’s pension system.”

The NJ Globe contacted Reich to confirm the authenticity of the 2019 email after some wondered why the former labor secretary would wade into a primary for a local surrogate court judgeship, or why the former Harvard professor would write “insure” rather than “ensure.”

Later, McCormick, a shadowy perennial candidate, emailed reporters asking why the story wasn’t picked up.

“Is your opinion that this not newsworthy or did we somehow fail to reach you?” she wrote.

TAPinto, a local news franchise, printed the fake endorsement under the byline of Jim Devine, McCormick’s controversial life partner.  The Westfield Patch also printed the Reich endorsement, under the by byline of Ed Watchdog.

Devine denied that the endorsement was fake.

“Lisa spoke to Dr. Reich,” Devine said in a short telephone interview with the NJ Globe on Saturday.

But why would Reich deny the email if it were legitimate?

“I can’t account for that,” said Devine.

Later, Devine forwarded a copy of an email with the Reich communication that was sent during her challenge to Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) in the 2020 Democratic primary.

“I need to dig deeper to locate the original message.”

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