Coalition for Progress, a super PAC linked to the expected gubernatorial run of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, has raised about $360,000 through March 30th of this year, with a select few donors having ties to Jersey City.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In the super PAC’s first Federal Election Commission filing for 2016, made on April 15th – which covers the dates January 1, 2016 through March 31, 2016 – the entity reports raising a total of $359,600.
A handful of Coalition for Progress donors this time around have ties to local government agencies in Jersey City.
Fairview Insurance Agency Associates, Inc., of Verona, gave a donation of $10,000 to the cause on March 18th, 2016.
Back in 2013, Fairview insurance came under fire when agency Director Ryan Graham got involved with the board via email as a vote for a Princeton insurance firm was imminent, via The Jersey Journal.
At the time, Fulop, who helped eight of the nine school board members get elected, had been accused of meddling with board business, but the released emails did not verify the claim.
According to a report filed with the New Jersey Election Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Graham contributed $2,600 to Fulop’s mayoral campaign on September 22nd, 2009, while his colleague, Zach Edelman, donated the same amount, to the same campaign on October 27th, 2009.
Furthermore, Fairview Insurance received a $54,000 contact with the Jersey City BOE for the 2015-2016 school year at their March 15th, 2015 meeting.
Additionally, Fair Lawn accounting firm Lerch, Vinci & Higgins, LLP, who has Managing Committee Partner Gary Higgins help prepare the budget for the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, combined to donate $2,400 to Coalition for Progress this year.
On March 8th, the firm as a whole donated $1,500, Higgins contributed $300, Managing Committee Partner Gary Vinci gave $300 and firm Partner Jeffrey Bliss wrote a check for $300.
Also of note, George Garcia, an attorney at the high-powered law firm Genova Burns’ Jersey City office, contributed $2,500 to the super PAC on March 24th, 2016.
Garcia is representing China Overseas America, Inc. on the monumental 99 Hudson St. project in Jersey City: an over $500 million project that boasts a 900-foot high-rise (which would be the tallest building in New Jersey), 781 residential units and 15,000 square feet of residential space (h/t New York Yimby).
In theirÂ initial filing that covered the dates between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, Coalition for Progress reported total contributions of $3,168,269.15.
The entity came under for early this year for accepting an essentially anonymous $1 million donation, prompting a local good government group to publicly ask for all donors to be disclosed, with another national watchdog group calling for a federal investigation.
Coalition for Progress President Bari J. Mattes told Hudson County View at the time that based upon counsel, the super PAC is â€œfully compliant with all applicable regulations and the law.â€
In March, only Hudson County View reported that Progressive New Jersey, Inc., a group that donated $400,000 to Coalition for Progress, had ties to former Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) – who currently heads the Jersey City Employment and Training Program – and District 5 Democratic congressional candidate Josh Gottheimer.
Fulop has previously admitted to fundraising for Coalition for Progress, but has declined to comment further. Mattes has previously said the super PAC does not support one specific candidate or group of candidates.
However, shortly after Coalition for Progress filed their first report with the FEC, Donald Scarinci, a managing partner at national powerhouse Scarinci Hollenbeck, said the $3.2 million raised proves Fulop has the money and political support to be the next governor of New Jersey.
Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill did not return an email asking if, in light of the latest FEC filing, it was yet safe to assume that Coalition for Progress will play a role in a future municipal or statewide election Fulop is involved in.