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State Sen. Vin Gopal. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Gopal says Keady operative recorded him

Says ‘sneakiness’ is more of a Trump tactic

By David Wildstein, April 12 2018 12:12 pm

State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Branch) has accused a supporter of Democratic congressional candidate Jim Keady of secretly recording a meeting they had last night to discuss the Monmouth organization endorsement process.

Gopal said in an e-mail to party leaders today that he and Monmouth County Democratic Chairman David Brown met with representatives of the Keady campaign, who requested a sit-down to discuss the recent convention process.

“As Democrats, we want everyone to feel included in the process and our goal is to defeat Republicans in November so we of course welcomed the meeting,” Gopal said.

Jennifer Fluharty

According to Gopal, Jennifer Fluharty of Manalapan, “secretly recorded the entire meeting until we caught her at the end and called her out in the room.”

“This type of sneakiness and underhandedness is something I would expect to see from Trump supporters or the far-right, not someone who claims they are acting in good faith to build the Democratic Party,” said Gopal.

Gopal said the purpose of his e-mail was to let party leaders know about Fluharty’s tactics.

“I want to make you all aware of this in case you meet with her in the future, she may be recording you as she recorded David and I,” said Gopal.

Fluharty did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Keady, a former Asbury Park councilman, lost the Monmouth Democratic convention to former U.S. Navy officer Josh Welle.  Welle has all three organization lines in the Democratic primary for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th district, where 19-term Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is seeking re-election.

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8 thoughts on “Gopal says Keady operative recorded him

  1. I was at the meeting and I thought we had settled the issue right then and there. Vin did not ask to have the recording deleted, he only asked that it not be made public. I think we all agreed.

    We all greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss a variety of concerns and suggestions intended to make the party more inclusive and make the process more transparent.

  2. You gave her five minutes to respond before you ran the story. Hardly upstanding or ethical. An “operative?” Stop watching “All the President’s Men.” Poor journalism.

  3. Senator Gopal should know that in 2018 a conversation with politicians will likely be recorded. Moreover, recordings such as was described as having been done in this circumstance are fully legal in New Jersey. The Senator’s comment that making the recording was “sneaky” and something Trumpian makes no sense. Since it was legal it was not like Trump! Senator Gopal grossly overreacted to a very benign act. That is perhaps the most disappointing point related to the recording of his and Mr. Brown’s discussion with that group.

  4. The following response was posted on Jennifer Fluharty’s Facebook page at 2:18 PM and is printed it it’s entirety.

    Regarding David Wildstein’s charming article, which is being shared all around by Joshua Welle’s fans/employees and right-wingers alike:

    I appreciate Mr. Wildstein’s willingness to reach out to me for comment a whole 5 minutes before hitting that “publish” button. Had he exercised a BIT more discretion, or even let me know what on earth he was referring to when he reached out, he might have been armed with a few more facts. I’m happy to fill in some of the gaps here.

    FACT: Yes, several members of the Democratic party met with Chairman David G. Brown earlier this week. Without disclosing full details, the general topics of conversation were: clarifying the differences between “past practice” and just plain ol’ election law, plans for future reforms that will make the party larger, more inclusive, and welcoming to newcomers, as well as rule changes and implementation of ethics standards that would prevent people who financially benefit from our current practices to continue to do so without a great deal more transparency than the public has been afforded in recent years.

    FACT: We were not there as “Keady operatives.” Good grief. I was there a busy mom who yes, volunteers on Jim’s campaign and I arrived late because I was busy getting my kids set up for dinner with my mother-in-law before racing over to Tinton Falls. (Without breaking the speed limit, of course.) Again, while it *just so happens* that many of the people negatively impacted by our current practices tend to be supporters of Jim Keady’s, our concerns were not only about the CD-4 Primary in particular, but rather our party’s practices in general. We could not have been more clear about this in the meeting and repeated it several times. Jim wasn’t in the meeting. Jim wasn’t even in the state.

    FACT: On my way to the meeting, I received word that someone who very much wanted to attend the meeting could not, in fact, do so. This person was disappointed at the change in availability, and so I decided I would record the meeting to make it available to them later. This person is, as I am, a big fan of Senator Vin Gopal’s, and both of us contributed (in money and shoe leather) to help him win his historic race last year.

    FACT: Senator Gopal did ask, near the conclusion of the meeting, about the recording (he had noticed that the voice memos app on my phone was running, I guess) and asked that any recording made not be shared widely. It was not that he or Chairman Brown or anyone else in the room had said anything that they wouldn’t want to be made public, but that he would have appreciated knowing ahead of time that the meeting was being recorded. I apologized on the spot for not being more transparent, both to Senator Gopal and the other attendees, and assured that that the recording would not be shared widely. And I kept my word because….

    FACT: This morning, I sent an email with the recording to its intended recipient, and I copied Senator Gopal on that email. That email is timestamped in my sent items BEFORE Wildstein’s blog dropped. I also included in that email a follow up of screen shots of my having deleted the original recording. Again, all of this BEFORE Wildstein hit the ‘send’ button on his precious write-up. To my knowledge, no other recording of the meeting exists, and I trust both Senator Gopal and my fellow CD-4 constituent will only use it for their own purposes.

    I apologized in person at the meeting, in the email that I sent this morning, and I will do so again here: To Senator Vin Gopal, whom I respect very much, I apologize for not disclosing in advance. As you know, I arrived to the meeting a few minutes late, but that is no excuse for not being more forthcoming. To Chairman David G. Brown, I issue the same sincere apology. To anyone else in that meeting who was upset by that, the same.

    None of this should take away from the good work that is being done by the hardworking members of both primary campaigns, because frankly the meeting was about issues more far-reaching than this primary race.

    Nor should this kerfuffle distract at all from the good faith that both Senator Gopal and Chairman Brown have promised all members of the Monmouth County Democrats that they will work toward to help grow our party. As I said in my speech at the March 3 convention: How we grow is how we win.


    1. How very professional of you to hide her response as a comment on the “article” rather than editing the “article” itself.
      Do you actually refer to yourself as a journalist?

  5. I was at the meeting as well, and I’m just shocked and incredibly disappointed that anyone would share this false takeaway from a meeting that while spirited and passionate, was respectful and a great dialogue. I made time to be there as a busy mom because I am a hopeful Dem who thought that discussing reforms, transparency, and process concerns could bring real change that grows that party and includes more energized voices. Jen’s recording was addressed immediately and wasn’t a big deal! Senator Gopal and Chairman Brown seemed to accept her apology and move on. I suggest we all do…and away from publications like this that would post an article and use the tactics leading to publication thinking it counts as real journalism.

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