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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Footage from Murphy campaign used in dark money ads

Consultant bought film archives from Murphy for Governor

By David Wildstein, May 28 2019 12:01 am


One of Gov. Phil Murphy’s staffers makes a cameo appearance in a TV ad paid for by a dark money non-profit that is narrated by Murphy.

The circumstances are complicated.

The aide to the governor appears in b-roll that was filmed before joining state government, while likely eliminates any issues on that front.

Murphy for Governor paid their political consulting firm, Message & Media, to film TV ads during the 2017 campaign.

Shortly after Murphy won the election, one of the principals at Message & Media, Steve DeMicco, formed New Direction New Jersey, a 501 (c)4 non-profit group to advocate on behalf of the governor’s political agenda.

The footage shot by DeMicco for the Murphy campaign was then sold to Message & Media.  DeMicco paid $1,800 for the “purchase of campaign assets,” according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission earlier this year.

Now DeMicco gets to use the old Murphy footage for new TV ads that the dark money group is paying him to produce – presumably, since New Direction New Jersey has declined to reveal their donors or expenditures.

Campaign finance experts told the New Jersey Globe that DeMicco buying the old Murphy film archives and then remonetizing it for himself is perfectly legal and not uncommon.

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