Reform Jersey Now
What many might not know about Chris Christie is that before he rose to fame as a corruption fighting U.S Attorney he was one of the most sought after professional lobbyists in Trenton. It’s not hard to see why given his obvious intelligence, charisma, and command of the issues.
Christie lobbied on for-profit education, from the Star ledger:
From 1999 to 2001, Christie was a registered lobbyist at a law firm that lobbied New Jersey government on behalf of Edison Schools, according to filings with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. While the firm was representing the multinational education company, Chris Cerf was its general counsel.
The firm, Dughi, Hewit and Palatucci, also represented Mosaica Education, a for-profit charter school operator, and the University of Phoenix, a for-profit online university. At the time, the firm listed two lobbyists, Christie and William Palatucci, a longtime political ally of the governor who is a named partner in the firm
Christie also lobbied for exempting securities (stocks, bonds etc.) from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, from the New York Times:
Before Mr. Christie became the United States attorney, they note, he worked as a lobbyist and represented the Securities Industry Association in its effort to block securities fraud from being included under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.
Fun fact, one of Christie’s bosses at that time would have been Bernard Madoff.
Needless to say, being a former lobbyist and constant politician, Chris Christie came into power knowing how the process worked in New Jersey. And part of that inside knowledge meant he and his team were looking for ways to beat the admittedly weak system.
Enter Reform Jersey Now.
Reform Jersey Now took advantage of new campaign finance rules to bypass the entire system, from the Star Ledger:
Reform Jersey Now can legally raise an endless amount of money from anyone, unrestricted by the campaign contribution and pay-to-play limits campaigns face that limit the amount of money that can be donated by those who get state contracts.
“Reform Jersey Now contributions are not affected by the pay-to-play statutes or by applicable executive orders,” said a July fundraising solicitation from the group. Pay-to-play rules limit the amount of money that can be donated by those who get state contracts.
A major opening not just for lobbying but for any results of lobbying activity to be undisclosed. While the lobbyists may or may not register themselves the results of any deals are hidden from sight so observers, regulators and law enforcement officials can only see, at best, the quid but never the quo.
Lobbying is a bipartisan game if ever there was one. In fact, given the power the Democratic Party has had in New Jersey, former Democratic officials, their staff and associates of the same are some of the most powerful lobbyists in Trenton.
Case in point Optimus Partners.
READ via swampwatch.com