OLIVER & CRYAN: CHRISTIE MUST REVEAL TIES TO CONSERVATIVE ‘REFORM NEW JERSEY’ GROUP, SIGN BILL BOOSTING HIS OWN DISCLOSURE

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan on Tuesday said Gov. Chris Christie needs to disclose his alliance with a secretive right-wing campaign group and sign a bill increasing public disclosure requirements for his own administration before trying to lay claim to ethics.

“Devoted public servants like teachers, police officers and firefighters have as much a right in our democracy to serve in public office as everyone else,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “I will not support legislation that restricts their ability to add to the diversity of thought so vital to a strong democracy. My concern, actually, is the governor’s failure to create a single job while hiking property taxes by shocking levels on New Jersey’s working class.”

“Gov. Christie needs to immediately disclose how much money he has raised for this right-wing group, whether his Cabinet officers have donated to it and how many contracts he has awarded to those who skirted the laws by contributing money to it,” said Cryan (D-Union). “Gov. Christie needs to first answer those questions about his own ethics. Then we’ll talk.”

Cryan sponsored legislation (A-2768) that would require financial disclosure statements be submitted annually to the State Ethics Commission no later than May 15. The bill comes after Christie earlier this year quietly signed an executive order delaying the disclosure deadline from May to August.

Christie has failed to take action on the bill, nor has he disclosed his relationship with Reform New Jersey, a stealth campaign organization that has backed Christie’s agenda but failed to disclose its donors and expenses. Christie has raised money for the group, though he failed to note those particular fund-raisers in his public schedules.

“The governor would prefer to divert attention from his $400 million Race to the Top gaffe, though New Jerseyans won’t be fooled,” Cryan said. “This is a governor who has skirted campaign contribution rules by flirting with a secretive right-wing campaign group, while sitting on a bill to increase his own financial disclosure. If this governor truly cared about ethics and transparency, he would begin by looking in the mirror.”