Former Goldman Sachs Executive Phil Murphy Continues to Mislead Voters on Campaign Finance Reform

Former Goldman Sachs Executive Phil Murphy Continues to Mislead Voters on Campaign Finance Reform

Says He’s a “Proponent of Transparency” But Opposes a Campaign Spending Cap and Continues to Hide Hundreds of Thousands in Illegal Campaign Expenditures

NEWARK, NJ — This past Tuesday, the Johnson campaign called on former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy to finally agree to a spending cap and disclose the $734,000 in expenditures his dark money organization New Start New Jersey illegally refuses to disclose to the public. Yesterday at a press conference, a reporter asked Phil Murphy about the Johnson campaign’s repeated requests. His answer was telling. In his response, Murphy repeated his false claim to be a proponent of campaign finance reform and transparency, admits he opposes a campaign spending cap, and even forgets the name of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which has allowed dark money to ruin our political system.

Murphy opposes the spending cap despite the fact that his Goldman Sachs career has allowed him to spend $15 million dollars of his own money – more than any Democratic Primary candidate in New Jersey history – on his campaign so far. Despite his record-breaking personal spending, more than half of New Jersey Democratic Primary voters are undecided in this election and the race remains wide open between Johnson and Murphy.

“It’s not surprising that former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy won’t agree to real ethics and campaign finance reform. It goes hand-in-hand with his attitude towards campaign finance and election law and Wall Street’s policy on disclosure of dark money. You can’t claim to be a supporter of campaign finance reform if you’ve spent over $15 million dollars on a race. You can’t claim to be a proponent of transparency if you’ve broken New Jersey election law. And you can’t claim to oppose dark money if you’ve benefited from dark money organizations. It’s clear — you can’t take Phil Murphy at his word,” said Johnson.  “Phil Murphy needs to come clean to the people of New Jersey about his willingness to use his Goldman Sachs money to try to buy this election.”

FACT CHECK: Phil Murphy Called Himself a “Supporter of a Complete Review of Campaign Finance Laws”

Murphy is not as much a supporter of campaign finance laws as he is a breaker of them. In March 2017, Jim Johnson filed an ELEC complaint against Phil Murphy for breaking New Jersey election law by using his nonprofits as exploratory committees for his run for Governor. In New Jersey election law, exploratory committees are strictly prohibited for candidates. New Jersey law clearly states “any individual who spends or raises funds solely for the purpose of determining whether or not they should become a candidate is considered a “candidate” under ELEC regulations.”Based on Phil Murphy’s actions and statements, it is clear that his nonprofits were formulated to help Murphy weigh his run for Governor, which is expressly against state law.

FACT CHECK:  Phil Murphy Called Himself a “Proponent of Transparency”

Murphy showed his disregard for transparency when he used dark-money organizations, New Start New Jersey and New Way for New Jersey, to kickoff his campaign for Governor. By using these dark-money entities, Murphy was able to avoid registering, disclosing or being held accountable by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission or any other commission during the initial phase of his campaign. But Goldman Sachs says they too will use dark money organizations to further their Wall Street Agenda. Murphy was also able to avoid disclosing some contributors and expenditures that clearly supported his political ambitions. With dark-money, Murphy was able to run TV ads, conduct polling, and develop policy without making the required disclosures under New Jersey election law, and potentially accept contributions far in excess of the $4,300 per election campaign donation limit.

FACT CHECK:  Phil Murphy Called Himself an “Opponent” of Dark Money

While Murphy claims he opposes dark money, he refuses to disclose the dark money expenditures by his exploratory committee New Start New Jersey. Murphy’s dark-money non-profit organization spent more than $5.1 million for the purpose of supporting his gubernatorial campaign — a violation of New Jersey election law. By using dark-money organizations in the early part of his campaign, Murphy was able to avoid disclosing over $734,000 in expenditures that were for the sole purpose of supporting his candidacy.

Johnson has spent years fighting the negative impact of money in politics. When Johnson was the Chair of the Brennan Center for Justice, the Center filed a supplemental amicus curiae brief in Citizens United v. FEC. The brief urged the Supreme Court to preserve landmark precedents that support limits on corporate spending in elections.

In the race for Governor, Johnson has already shown his commitment to campaign reform by agreeing to participate in New Jersey’s public financing system, which limits his campaign spending to no more than $6.2 million in the primary.  Johnson was the first candidate in the race to qualify for matching public funds. Johnson remains the only candidate in the race to propose a  plan for ethics reform in Trenton.

For more information on the campaign, please visit:
Follow on Twitter: @JimJohnsonNJ.

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