Press Release: Jim Johnson Calls on Phil Murphy To “Come Clean” to Voters About His Opposition to Campaign Transparency and Spending Limits
Jim Johnson Calls on Phil Murphy To “Come Clean” to Voters About His Opposition to Campaign Transparency and Spending Limits
Murphy Repeatedly Tells Voters He Supports Campaign Finance Reform, But His Failure to Agree to a Spending Cap and Disclose His New Start New Jersey’s Hidden Expenditures Exposes the Real Truth
Today, Democratic gubernatorial Jim Johnson called on Phil Murphy to come clean to voters about his opposition to campaign transparency and spending limits. Johnson has been a leading voice on campaign finance and ethics reform in the Democratic race for New Jersey Governor.
Last night at the “Social Justice Forum” hosted by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the NAACP, former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy claimed that he “fully endorse[s] a full opening up of our democracy…opening up democracy in every way we possibly can, and bringing as much transparency to our democracy as possible.”
Similarly, last week, at a forum hosted by the SOMA Democrats, and recorded by WNYC, Murphy asserted, “I am all in for campaign finance reform, that includes transparencies [and] limits. I’m a big believer in that. Let there be no doubt.”
Phil Murphy has repeatedly told voters he supports campaign finance reform and transparency, but his actions expose the real truth. If voters are to take Murphy at his word, he should agree to the following immediate ways to open up democracy and transparency in New Jersey’s race for Governor:
(1) Agree to a spending cap. In February, Jim Johnson called for a spending cap of $15 million in the primary. In asking his opponents to agree to voluntarily limit their campaign spending to $15 million in the primary, Johnson said that he and his fellow candidates would set an example for the rest of the country and take a concrete step to address the corrosive impact of money in politics.
(2) Disclose the more than $734,000 in expenditures by New Start New Jersey. In April, Jim Johnson called on Phil Murphy to disclose the more than $734,000 in expenditures by his dark money organization New Start New Jersey. The request follows the Johnson campaign’s complaint, filed through ELEC, which contends that Murphy formed a dark-money non-profit organization and a 527 political organization that 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 $730,000 in expenditures that were for the sole purpose of supporting his candidacy.
(3) Join the Johnson campaign in sending a letter to ELEC calling for a swift and effective investigation into New Start New Jersey.The Johnson campaign has requested that ELEC respond swiftly and effectively to their investigation into Phil Murphy’s campaign for Governor. If the Murphy campaign truly believes that our claims are baseless, it should be willing to cosign our request.
“After eight years of failed leadership and political games in Trenton, New Jersey is in dire need of leadership that values transparency, honesty, and democracy. If Phil Murphy really is the progressive leader that he claims to be, he needs to prove to the voters of New Jersey that he is willing to take a principled stand on important issues like transparency and campaign finance reform. If he has already made a verbal commitment to these ideals, why not put his money where his mouth is and follow through?” said Johnson.
As the former Chair of the Brennan Center for Social Justice, Johnson has spent years fighting the negative impact of money in politics. 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.
“As I travel the state, I hear time and again that New Jerseyans are tired of bought-and-paid for politicians who take advantage of a system that stacks the deck in favor of a few wealthy people. Throughout this campaign, I have called for bringing real change and ethics reform to Trenton — and I believe that starts with the race for Governor and holding myself and my opponents accountable,” said Johnson.