Hoboken BOE hopeful gave $9k to employer’s PAC, which regularly donates to Republicans


Hoboken Board of Education hopeful Leslie Norwood gave $9,000 to her employer’s political action committee in the past nine years, who are regular donors to Republicans in the House and Senate, campaign finance records show.

“Leadership that Listens” Hoboken BOE member Leslie Norwood.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Norwood, the managing director and associate general counsel of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and a part of the “Leadership that Listens” BOE team, has given $1,000 to the SIFMA PAC every year between 2013 and 2021, Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show.

“SIFMA PAC is part of SIFMA’s government affairs program and is a legal mechanism to promote your interests on Capitol Hill by helping to support candidates that understand our industry,” their website says.

The PAC, which leans slightly right but still gives regularly to Democrats (with a roughly 57-43 differential between 2019 and 2020), gave House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) $7,500 during that election cycle – the most of any candidate.

Right behind him are U.S. Reps. Ted Budd (CA-13) and Frank Lucas (R-3), of North Carolina and Oklahoma, respectively, who received $7,000 and $6,500 from the PAC.

All three went on to question the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s (D) win over Donald Trump (R) in 2020, among 147 Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn the election results, which DC-based outlet Sludge reported on last year.

That same cycle, Democrats U.S Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), former U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2), and Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) all received $1,000.

Norwood, a Democrat who does not have any role with the PAC, said on Thursday afternoon said that the donations referenced were prior to the presidential race in 2020 and not out of the ordinary for SIFMA employees.

“Contributions by SIFMA employees to its corporate SIFMA PAC are usual and customary, and I have no control or influence over the SIFMA PAC in any way, including any donations made by the SIFMA PAC,” she said.

“The SIFMA PAC donates to members of Congress on a bipartisan basis to committees of relevance to help to support candidates to understand the capital markets industry.”

While the November 8th Hoboken BOE race is a non-partisan affair, LTL teed off on their chief opposition, the “Kids First” team – which consists of one Republican and two unaffiliated voters – in a campaign mailer last week.

The literature, which only went to select Democrats, accused them of being right wing extremists since Pavel Sokolov allegedly supported Trump in 2020, while Donna Magen and Cindy Wiegand were depicted as anti-maskers who did not take COVID-19 seriously.

This came after the Hoboken Democratic Committee’s executive committee called on their Republican counterparts not to get involved in the race, since their chair, Joe Branco, is also managing the Kids First campaign and they share the same address – which is his office in North Bergen.

Since then, the two councilmen on the HDC exec committee, 5th Ward representative Phil Cohen and at-Large representative Joe Quintero, endorsed the LTL team.

Speaking on behalf of Kids First, Branco said the team wasn’t going to comment on the heart of the matter here since they are focused on running an issue-based campaign until the end.

“We will not comment on personal actions or political affiliations of individuals running even if they highlight hypocrisy. We are running because we want to stop divisiveness in our community beginning with the election process,” he said in a statement.

“We want to unite our school system and our community. We stand behind our belief that we can be better, together.”

Two independent candidates, Patricia Waiters and John Madigan, both Democrats, are also seeking a three-year term on the board when three seats are up for grabs in 13 days.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Hoboken Board of Education candidate Leslie Norwood.

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  1. Leslie funding election deniers makes perfect sense considering her husband Paul Blanos, is a well known radical MAGA TRUMPER. Hypocrisy exposed for everyone. Between Grana denigrating childless women, and Alex hiding the biggest election issue off the November ballot, there is no way we can elect these unethical corrupt hacks. Leadership that Lies – Keep them out of office, and even then probably they will deny their election loss.

  2. It is no surprise that Leslie Norwood is another DINO hoping to win on partisanship rather than substance. The local Dems have spent more energy propping up LTL than helping legitimate progressives running for Congress and US Senate outside of Hoboken.

    • Hey, she’s not all bad. She’s lying for the underwriters of the “Liars That Lie” but we can deal with all this.

      Vote Kids First – 6, 7, 8.

  3. It’s a nice sentiment that they don’t want the political race to get political. I get it, I don’t like getting called out on hypocritical things I’ve done either.

    How can a candidate for public office complain that a race is getting political? Are you ashamed of your record? You’re running for public office; any evidence to give the voters a better sense of how you might lead if elected is fair game. Kids First needs to stand behind its record. What else can we use to predict how you’ll lead if we can’t rely on what you’ve done in the past? I can’t believe the below quote is real.

    “We will not comment on personal actions or political affiliations of individuals running even if they highlight hypocrisy. We are running because we want to stop divisiveness in our community beginning with the election process,”

    somebody call the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhmbulance Kids First is mad that they are asking questions about their positions. You guys are literal children. Just own your past positions. If they’re so odious that you don’t want to talk about them…you don’t deserve to win the election.

    • You do realize that Kids First is the opposing side to Leslie the Election denier. Shes on the Leadership that Listens team. Kids First is just being nice and not spiking the football when they found out the opposition team literally decided to run an election denier.

    • Not commenting is the high road, not election denying. That’s the Bhalla / Norwood Secret Republican lawyer PAC Cabal

  4. What is Emily Jabbour going to do now that she has been a vocal supporter of someone who is bankrolling Trump Republicans? Is she going to stop helping Leadership That Lies, or will she just ignore this because she wants to build a $400 million high school and a $200 million municipal palace?

    • I guess its okay that they fund election deniers, because they also give to Dems? Thats like saying a murderer isnt so bad because he does charity work. STOP FUNDING ELECTION DENIERS LESLIE. It makes so much sense why LTL is obsessed with Trump, they still think hes the presdient!

  5. Going after a candidate’s employer is a low blow. Who’s next?

    Who cares where Pavel works and what politicians his employer donates to?

    SIFMA gives to both parties. BOTH.

      • “The PAC, which leans slightly right but still gives regularly to Democrats (with a roughly 57-43 differential between 2019 and 2020),…”

        Feel dumb? You should.

        • Guess the underemployed you mock can’t get a150,000 Business Admin job while still in training potty pants , they aren’t working for the city and a law firm that defends the local noisy bars, their wives are buying partnerships in said problem bars, they aren’t burying tavern sheets after street knocks outs caused by a business partners other riotous problem bar …

          I’d rather see honest folks unemployed than what’s appearing to be the most conflict ridden and corrupt administration
          This is the team FORMER good school advocates are now providing air cover for …

    • It’s not her employer it’s an independent pac that forever reason she contributed to. If she doesn’t want to support election deniers then she shouldn’t give money to a pac that gives to election deniers.

    • Oh cry me a river, they didn’t go after Norwoods employer, that’s what LTLs friends and NORWOOD/Blano family’s BFF and neighbors like NP does.
      Back to the issues…
      Will Norwood condemn the no knock raid her supporter Melania instigated ?

  6. Considering everything Ravi Bhalla does is politically hyper-partisan it is not surprising that his team and ticket would also try to make the HBOE elections into a race between political parties and not about local school issues.

    The voters of Hoboken understood what was at stake during the January Referendum vote and resoundingly said NO to the insanely expensive construction project. This election is decision between restocking the BOE with replacement rubber stamp candidates or actually electing people who will ask the hard questions and drag the previously back room proceedings into the light of public scrutiny.

  7. Poor Mr Blanos, when he and Leslie aren’t on their yacht, are he certainly us prolific commenters on various Facebook groups
    Chilling posts and memes mocking a Black football hero taking a knee, images of missles targeting Iran and more

    It’s about the children alright
    I don’t want anyone that would live with a creep like that guy near our schools

  8. Will city attorney and Wild Bar apologist and Ravi right hand man John Allen be hosting the LTL election night after party still?
    He’s a true blue Dem right?
    Labatts Blue…. Pabst Blue…

    See you at McSwindlers

  9. So a story explodes the LTL / Red Team’s entire strategy that we must stop Republicans from ever being elected and LTL blames their opponents for not commenting ?

    Is this the upside down ?

  10. LTL is a special kind of incompetent. First, they waste years and squander millions of taxpayer dollars on their nonsensical high school sports complex referendum, now they’re trying to stoke division in our community with their vile political tactics. They deserve to lose.

  11. Excellent reporting but I’m sad to find this out. Is it true that the superintendent was a Republican and how does SHE feel on issues of national republicans winning and book banning? She has more influence then the board so I’d like to know her stances. We remember the Fox piece she invited them to do that was meant to get teachers back into class and make teachers in other districts look bad, if you really watched it. THE LTL PEople praised this Fox piece because it made their schools look good but fed into Fox political stances. I would like Hudson County View to ask the superintenent about her views on these issues. I resent both of these slates for not finding people to run that any of us can support as parents or human beings. LTL can’t even find public school parents to support them, they took their campaign photo in the house of 2 parents who pulled their kids OUT of the schools!! I’d like to know why? Can’t we find anyone who wants to make real progress and address the problems and say what they’ll do to find solutions? Instead of patting themselves and Ravi on the back?