(TRENTON) – Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywomen Bonnie Watson Coleman today renewed their call for Republican leaders Tom Kean, Jr, and Alex DeCroce to open up the books of the shadowy fundraising group they formed to bankroll the minority party’s legislative redistricting efforts.
Three weeks ago, the two lawmakers and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) called for immediate disclosure by the Center for A Better New Jersey to assure residents that the GOP’s map-making would be free of undue outside influences and would put the interests of residents – not moneyed special interests – first.
That request has so far been ignored by Kean and DeCroce. Kean has only commented that the Center for A Better New Jersey will “fully comply with all reporting and disclosure laws” at some unknown point in the future – but as a 501(c)4, the group actually has no individual disclosure laws to follow.
“It appears that the Republicans’ belief in full transparency extends only to others, and not themselves,” said Weinberg (D-Bergen). “Senator Kean and Assemblyman DeCroce should not continue to hide behind some IRS curtain when real questions remain. The legislative map is of tremendous importance to the future direction of the state, and residents have an expectation that their representation isn’t being sold to the highest bidder.”
“So far, the only thing we know about this secretive group, from their leaked map proposal, is that it stands for the bleaching of legislative districts and the packing of minorities into separate areas that will slash the overall influence of African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans.” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “What is this group trying to hide? If what it’s doing is right and honorable, then why would Sen. Kean and Assemblyman DeCroce fear disclosure? What is the negative impact of letting the public know who is funding this group? What are Sen. Kean and Assemblyman DeCroce hiding?”
The lawmakers noted that the Center for A Better New Jersey shares its address with the now-defunct Reform Jersey Now, both Senate and Assembly leadership PACs and numerous Republican congressional and legislative campaign committees.
The post-office box – PO Box 225, Colonia – is registered to Ron Gravino, who has served as treasurer to Gov. Christie’s campaign, Reform Jersey Now and multiple Republican groups.