NJ Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Spar Over Financial Transparency

By Alyana Alfaro • 01/18/17

PolitickerNJ

Murphy said Wisniewski is a Trenton insider.

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday accusing one of his competitors in the upcoming June Democratic gubernatorial primary, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, of being a “21-year Trenton insider” who uses his work as an attorney “to exploit his public office and political clout for personal gain.” According to the statment, Wisniewski must disclose all contracts “representing clients before public entities to the public.”

“If John Wisniewski has nothing to hide, he should level with the voters about how much money he has made peddling influence before public entities on behalf of big business,” said Murphy for Governor spokesman Derek Roseman in the statement. “He has made millions of dollars over the last decade trading on his role as a Trenton insider. It’s time he come clean on every cent he has earned selling out his position as an Assemblyman, a party boss, and a committee chairman to fleece the taxpayers of New Jersey.”

When contacted for comment on Murphy’s statement, Wisniewski campaign manager Robert Becker blasted back at Murphy, criticizing the former Goldman Sachs executive for his “attack on John Wisniewski’s small business.” According to Becker, the Murphy campaign’s statements are baseless given that Wisniewski’s legal municipal legal work with Wisniewski and Associates is filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to comply with Pay-to-Play laws. Becker called Murphy’s campaign’s move “reckless and desperate.”

“Calls for transparency can’t just be fodder for a publicity stunt. The people of New Jersey are smarter than that. Phil Murphy served as the managing director for the publicly traded Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs,” Becker said. “These kinds of attacks from a Wall Street tycoon should give every small business owner in New Jersey cause for alarm. As governor, John Wisniewski will stand up to Wall Street, protect New Jersey’s small businesses, and end the transactional politics that plague New Jersey.”

Earlier this month, Wisniewski released 14 years worth of income tax returns from 2002 to 2015. In December 2016, Murphy released his 2015 tax returns. In May 2016, Murphy released his returns from 2010 to 2014. Wisniewski’s 2015 returns show his income at just over $400 thousand while Murphy’s income for the same year was $7.3 million. According to Becker, Murphy must release as many years as Wisniewski in order to truly achieve transparency with New Jersey’s voters.

Because of Murphy’s history with Goldman Sachs, Becker said that Murphy should also disclose details of the company’s business dealings with New Jersey on issues like pensions, municipal bonds and corporate welfare.

Both Wisniewski and Murphy are angling to win over New Jersey’s progressive voters in June.

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