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This past March 29th, the New Jersey Education Association wrote a check to one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s fund-raising groups called Stronger Fairer Forward. The amount of the check is $750,000, courtesy of teacher union dues.
This was first reported today in North Jersey Media. The check came from NJEA’s PAC called Garden State Forward. The money will go towards a new $2 million ad campaign that intends to boost Murphy’s brand as he contemplates a run for the presidency.
There are actually two groups called “Stronger Fairer Forward,” both chaired by first lady Tammy Murphy. One is a political action committee, or PAC, which is required to disclose its donors. The other is technically a 501(c)(4) nonprofit “social welfare organization,” which is not required to disclose donors but is free to do so. They are commonly referred to as “dark money groups” and can spend up to half their revenue on political activity.
Matt Friedman of Politico has a countdown on his morning newsletter called “DAYS SINCE MURPHY REFUSED TO SAY WHETHER HIS WIFE’S NON-PROFIT SHOULD DISCLOSE DONORS.” Today the number of days is 126.
Board members of Stronger Forward are, along with his wife, Murphy’s 2021 campaign manager Mollie Binotto and family friend/COO of Purple Strategies Kristen McMahon.
NJEA spokesman Steve Baker said of the $750K to Stronger Fairer Forward,
NJEA has supported Gov. Murphy’s pro-education, pro-working family agenda since he became a candidate in 2016 and we continue to support it today. It has made our schools and our communities stronger and we are committed to helping the Murphy Administration continue its success
From North Jersey:
“Murphy’s 501c4 nonprofit Stronger Fairer Forward is the latest dark money group serving as a public cheerleader for the governor, and is not legally required to publicly disclose its donors. The NJEA, the most politically powerful teachers union in New Jersey, has been the biggest benefactor of Murphy’s causes and was the first major union to endorse Murphy when he launched his first campaign for governor in 2016
The latest donation supports new ads touting Murphy’s self-described middle-class agenda. But they’ve also led to speculation that the second-term governor is making a broader appeal as national Democrats openly question whether President Joe Biden should run for a second term in 2024. Murphy has said he has no intention of running for president.
Murphy’s voiceover appears over his childhood snapshots in one ad titled ‘The Dream’: ‘Growing up, my family struggled to make ends meet. But if you worked hard, you could do better than your parents. That’s the American Dream, but now that dream is out of reach for too many. That’s why we’re cutting taxes and making New Jersey more affordable. Opportunity plus affordability equals a stronger middle class.'”