Reporter who wrote story about Cory Booker not living in Newark worked for anti-Booker PAC, report says

By Brent Johnson/The Star-Ledger
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on December 18, 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks at Garden State Equality's 4th Annual "Equality Walk" event in June 2013 at Erie Park in Montclair in support of winning marriage equality. (William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)


TRENTON — A reporter who wrote a story claiming former Newark Mayor Cory Booker did not live in the city he ran worked for an anti-Booker PAC, according to a report by Buzzfeed.

Charles C. Johnson's story was by The Daily Caller, a conservative news website, on Oct. 14, two days before Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate. It quoted neighbors and two community activists saying the mayor did not actually live in Newark.

The Star-Ledger, however, found several people in the neighborhood who saw Booker there. Booker's camp also denied the story, saying he has lived in the city for 16 years.

Johnson, a freelance journalist, conducted opposition research on Booker for a PAC called American Commitment earlier this year, according to Buzzfeed's report.

Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, said he had not instructed Johnson to publish his research on The Daily Caller website, according to the report.

"When we asked him to do research work, he did research and provided it to us," Kerpen said, according to the report. "If he used it for some other purpose or in a reportorial capacity, that's not what I was paying for."

Johnson said he was not employed by Kerpen when the Booker story was published on the website, according to Buzzfeed's report.

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