Local good government group Civic JC is demanding that the Coalition for Progress super PAC, which is linked to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s potential run for governor in 2017, disclose their list of donors.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
According to a 65-page report filed with federal election commission on January 29th, the Coalition for Progress super PAC raised $3.2 million. A Wilmington, Delaware-based company, D.E. First Holdings, is responsible for a $1 million contribution on December 24th – as Politico first reported.
Additionally, Progressive New Jersey, a 501(c)(4) organization incorporated by Gary Hirsch – a North Brunswick Democratic committeeman – on June 9, 2014, donated $400,000 to the PAC.
Civic JC President Esther Wintner said that the public has a right to know who is contributing to PACs that will inevitably influence local and statewide elections.
“The use of super PACs to hide the identities of monied interests seeking to influence the outcome of local and statewide elections can only undermine the good governance that elevates the public interest above the interests of those seeking special favors,” she said in a news release.
“The public has a right to know who the deep pocketed interests are. The practice of layering is a technique used in domestic and international money laundering schemes which we do not allow. Why should the rules be different for political contributions.”
Civic JC’s Dan Levin, a longtime, outspoken Fulop critic, chimed in by calling D.E. First Holdings as an “anonymous shell company” that has no place getting involved in elections.
Very little information on D.E. First Holdings is publicly available, outside a business address and their incorporation date of December 23, 2015.
The group also points out that other contributors disclosed on the super PAC filing have either received a tax abatement, contract or done business with the City of Jersey City or its agencies – as well as that Fulop fundraised for the PAC in November (h/t The Jersey Journal).
Civic JC concludes by stating they plan on continuing to investigate who contributed to the PAC since “government should not be bought.”
“Government should not be bought. Civic JC’s efforts to investigate is intended to prevent and expose any possible hidden influence upon Jersey City and its elected officials.”
“If deemed appropriate, Civic JC will consider a citizen’s action under the Pay-to-Play ordinances against the PAC as well as those making the contributions.”
Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill did not immediately return an email seeking comment.