The super PAC tied to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s expected gubernatorial run in 2025 has $6,220,763.17 cash on hand, according to their January 25th filing with the Federal Election Commission.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The Coalition for Progress raised $298,084.10 between November 29th and December 31st, 2022, the FEC filing says. Just under 55 percent of that total ($163,356.06) came from 25 donations made in the final two weeks of the year.
The largest contribution in that time frame came from Francis Walsh III, the CEO of North Bergen-based National Retail Systems, who wrote a check for $25,035 on December 21st.
Other notable donations include $50,000 from the Businesses for Better Neighborhoods, of Plainfield, on November 30th, disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer – now a developer building in Journal Square – donated $10,000 on December 30th, while Panepinto Properties founder Joe Panepinto gave the same amount on the same day.
Spitzer resigned in 2008, 14 months after the New York Times reported he frequented a high-end prostitution ring for years.
As for Panepinto, he was recently named to the volunteer Exchange Place Alliance Board of Directors.
Furthermore, Jersey City-based Trinity Asset Management gave $10,000, high-powered law firm Genova Burns donated $5,000, while former New Jersey Attorney General Chris Porrino contributed $2,500.
Porrino is now the partner and the chair of the litigation department for Lowenstein Sandler.
Fulop announced in early January that he would not be seeking a fourth term, which came as little surprise to New Jersey political observers who saw him acknowledge he was considering a run for governor in 2025 back in the early summer.
Serving in his third term after being re-elected in November 2021, his New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) account has just $16,541.97, the mayor’s January 17th filing shows.
Instead, he has focused his attention on the Fund for Quality Leadership in the past year or so, which reports $310,678.69 cash on hand from a separate ELEC filing from the day prior.
While the committee only raised $2,925 in the final quarter of 2022, they disbursed $32,400.
That includes $8,200 to his personal ELEC account, the same amount to the Jersey City Democratic Committee, $15,000 to the Hudson County Democratic Organization, and $1,000 to Hoboken 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo – who was the council president at the time.
The Coalition for Progress was initially created in anticipation of Fulop entering the 2017 governor’s race, but he ended up endorsing eventual winner Phil Murphy and sought re-election instead.
While no one other New Jersey Democrats have expressed as clear an interest in the 2025 gubernatorial contest as Fulop has, other potential candidates include U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Mikie Sherrill (D-10), along with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and former state Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Having a Mayor Fulop affiliated political organization giving money to Hoboken Councilman Russo, who heads the Hoboken Cannabis Board that is involved in giving Mrs Fulop a very lucrative cannabis distribution store in the base of 14th Street residential building in Hoboken is troubling.
The perception of impropriety is very real and Councilman Russo should return the money
That trick Ravi & Russo pulled with Jim Doyle in the know setting up a weed shop against the community in one of the most dense, family-friendly areas of town on 14th and Hudson is paying dividends. Michael Russo isn’t going to return that money. In fact, he needs zeroes added.
Was the payment to Mike Russo before or after he voted in favor of Fulop’s wife’s cannabis dispensary?
Before, December 6th.
It’s a Russo family tradition to collect up front. See also: Solomon Dwek. Follow the cash!