New Jersey governor Phil Murphy used his public, taxpayer-funded expense account to spend nearly $12,000 at occasions at MetLife Stadium in northern New Jersey, together with a Taylor Swift live performance, in line with records reviewed by POLITICO this week. The bills began accumulating when Murphy took workplace in 2018, however haven’t grown since 2019.
POLITICO obtained the receipts and invoices from Murphy’s workplace utilizing New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, which permits public entry to authorities information. The 910 pages of information confirmed Murphy spent $11,847 on numerous stadium occasions, together with: $936 at a 2018 Taylor Swift live performance, $2,095 at a 2018 USA v. Brazil soccer sport, $2,068 at a 2018 NFL sport, $1,413 at a 2019 live performance occasion, $2,856 at 2019 USA v. Mexico soccer sport and $2,479 at a 2019 NFL sport.
New Jersey’s governor has entry to a $95,000 annual expense account, however the account cannot be used for private functions. Jennifer Sciortino, a spokesperson for Murphy’s workplace, mentioned they anticipated the state Democratic Celebration to cowl these bills over time, however that “As soon as it was clear that there have been excellent payments that had not been paid, the state stepped as much as meet this duty.” A consultant from the New Jersey Democratic Celebration, Phil Swibinski, mentioned they weren’t conscious of the invoices and plans for reimbursement, as there may be new social gathering management. “We’re wanting into the matter so as to decide whether or not any extra motion is critical at the moment,” Swibinski added.
New Jersey has a reputation for corrupt politics. Derek Arnold, a senior teacher at Villanova College who researches political scandals, mentioned that voters see corruption fees as a part of the job and powerbrokers don’t draw back from accusations. “We nearly put on [scandal] as a badge of honor,” Arnold mentioned. Murphy’s Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, got here below scrutiny for related causes throughout his time period, having spent greater than $80,000 at sports activities stadiums, along with a bridge closure scandal dubbed “Bridgegate” that obtained nationwide consideration.
POLITICO’s report on Murphy’s spending comes quickly after one in all New Jersey’s Senators, Bob Menendez, was indicted for bribery and acting as an illegal agent of Egypt. Menendez denies these fees and has pled not guilty. Menendez was beforehand charged with numerous corruption offenses in 2015 for allegedly accepting over $600,000 in bribes from a buddy, ophthalmologist Salomon Milligan. Nonetheless, a jury deadlocked on the fees in November 2017, leading to a mistral. A federal choose then acquitted Menendez on 7 out of 18 fees going through him in January 2018, and the US Division of Justice (DOJ) dropped the remaining fees days later.
Quite a lot of Senators have referred to as for Menendez to resign following the newest fees, including New Jersey’s different Democratic Senator, Cory Booker. He has already obtained one major challenger for subsequent yr’s election, and Tammy Murphy, Governor Murphy’s spouse, has began making preparations for her personal problem.