By Scott St. Clair | 08/10/15 9:59pm
It’s early in New Jersey’s 2015 legislative-election cycle, but not too early for an out-of-state Democratic SuperPAC run by a Jersey girl to throw two lying, hit-piece videos up in Assembly races in Districts 1 and 2.
The videos implicitly accuse Republican Assembly candidates of selling out South Jersey on the hot-button issue of allowing casino gambling outside Atlantic City. According to the videos, only Democratic candidates – incumbent Bob Andrzejczak and challenger Bruce Land in LD 1 and incumbent Vincent Mazzeo and challenger Colin Bell in LD 2 – can save them from “Trenton Republicans who are trying to bankrupt our economy and take thousands of jobs to North Jersey.” Identical in content except in who they name as the Democratic Sir Galahad’s in each district, you can see them here and here.
Who are these scurrilous, corrupt destroyers of South Jersey – these “Trenton Republicans,” as they’re called by the websites containing the ads? None other than Trenton Democrats Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who support expanding casino gambling, and four of their Democratic legislative colleagues who are primary sponsors of legislation to put a citizen referendum on the fall ballot on whether to expand casino gambling outside AC.
In other words, the ads urge voters in the districts to support Democrats opposing Democrats being Democrats, while calling them “Trenton Republicans” to muddy the water, something the Press of Atlantic City says “isn’t totally accurate,” which is journalist-speak for “damn lie.”
Who or what is responsible for this damn lie? The ads are by General Majority PAC, a Washington, D.C.-based SuperPAC founded in 2013 (Until this year it was known as Fund for Jobs, Growth & Security) and dedicated to “electing Democratic state legislators and other political leaders” nationwide, but with an unusually large focus on New Jersey.
Fund for Jobs, Growth & Security was in the bag for Andrzejczak in the 2013 election cycle, contributing thousands in cash to his campaign for “field support.” Also in 2013, it used targeted cable television ads to motivate Democratic voters in LD 38 to save endangered state Sen. Bob Gordon’s seat in what was otherwise a ho-hum election.
In total, Fund for Jobs dropped $8.7 million in New Jersey races in the 2013 cycle, including $2.6 million in LD 1 and 2. All in all, two of the top 10 legislative races in terms of spending in New Jersey history saw big activity from Fund for Jobs. 2015 doesn’t look like it will be any different with General Majority.
Since SuperPACs cannot coordinate with candidates on messaging it makes plausible deniability for General Majority’s falsehoods convenient for LD 1 and LD 2 Democrats. Mazzeo and Bell’s campaign manager claims in the media that his candidates are innocent of any wrongdoing nor are they complicit in spreading lies about their opponents. But no law prohibits them from denouncing the lies, correcting them and demanding that General Majority quit playing dirty tricks.
Accountability and transparency aren’t strong suits for Democrats in South Jersey, however. Andrzejczak, a notorious intellectual and legislative lightweight, and Land are well known for ducking debates to avoid answering hard questions – it’s what they do best and most often. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to face questions about staying silent in the face of “independent” ads that lie about their opponents?
What do the candidates and their campaigns have to say in response? Emails and Facebook messages sent Thursday, July 30 to the Democratic Assembly campaigns in LD 1 and LD 2, as well as to Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Prieto, requesting comment on the ads and whether they would demand General Majority retract and apologize for them and cease engaging in further lying political shenanigans in New Jersey were not responded to as of Monday, August 3.
Likewise, calls to the campaigns for the LD 1 and LD 2 Democrats went unreturned. Par for the course.
But how is it that Assembly races in two relatively obscure South Jersey legislative districts rate such big-time attention?
General Majority’s boss is long-time Democratic strategist and Jersey girl, Susan McCue (also here), formerly Sen. Harry Reid’s chief of staff and described by Politico.com as one of his “closest confidantes.” She’s also No. 6 on James Carville’s list of the seven most powerful liberals who aren’t elected officials, ahead of Michelle Obama and behind New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman.
Figuratively speaking, you could say that South Jersey Democrats who benefit from General Majority’s lies now find themselves behind a dirty-politics McCue-ball.
McCue is a 1987 Rutgers graduate who, true to New Jersey form these days, immediately quit the state to do good. By all accounts she’s done real good, too, rapidly moving up inside-the-beltway ranks to head up her own public affairs consulting firm, Message Global, running General Majority and sitting on the boards of a slew of non-profit, political and government-sponsored organizations, one of which is another SuperPAC, American Bridge 21stCentury that targeted Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign in an especially bitter video attack and calls him on its website a “trash-talking, traffic-stopping bully.”
Message Global clients, none of whom are mentioned on its website, include retail behemoth Wal-Mart, the American Gaming Association and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. McCue’s not above making a buck – or thousands of them – from “the corporate man” when the mood strikes.
Founded by Hillary Clinton’s media hatchet man, David Brock, American Bridge is funded by big labor, progressive billionaires like George Soros and others with ties to Planned Parenthood, in the news because of undercover videos exposing trafficking in organs of aborted unborn children. The New York Times describes it as an “opposition-research hub that provides Democratic groups with the raw material of their campaign attacks.”
Message Global and American Bridge share a Washington office suite.
Living now in Virginia, in 2014 McCue was appointed by Gov. Christie to Rutgers’ Board of Governors in a move criticized by some Republicans – Sen. Joe Kyrillos described her as “unusually partisan and not a force for good in the country” — that also made some Democrats uncomfortable because of her out-of state status.
If the governor thought he could neutralize a sworn enemy by the appointment it didn’t work. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but giving someone dedicated to advancing progressive causes and Barack Obama’s agenda a fifth-column place at our state university exploded in his face when her Fund for Jobs SuperPAC succeeded at preventing the governor’s reelection landslide from having legislative coattails by spending millions to help New Jersey Democrats retain control of the Senate and Assembly.
SuperPACs like General Majority and American Bridge popped up to counter the substantial inroads Republicans have made in capturing governorships and state legislatures. General Majority admits as much saying on its website that it wants to prevent any more “reliably blue states” like Michigan and Wisconsin from flipping red.
Their ability to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money was made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that declared restrictions on political-campaign fund raising and expenditures by independent organizations to be unconstitutional, a decision hated by the likes of McCue, but not to the extent of turning down an opportunity to milk the cash-cow.
“In the Citizens United era, Beltway operators like McCue are ubiquitous, simultaneously raising unlimited quantities of cash for Super PACs…and helping corporate interests pressure the government to enact their preferred policies,” noted one commentator.
In 2013, General Majority predecessor, Fund for Jobs (Did they change the name to stay one step ahead of the sheriff – who knows?) sued New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission claiming it was exempt from state-mandated contribution limits and could raise and spend as much as it wanted and won in federal court.
Emails sent Thursday, July 30 to McCue at General Majority and Message Global requesting comment on the false allegations contained in the videos and asking whether she would pull them and issue an apology to South Jersey voters and Republican Assembly candidates were not responded to as of Friday, August 3.
Why do Democrats tolerate lies told on their behalf? Because they clearly benefit from them, and no Democrat will stand up to demand that they be stopped. No wonder the boys in LD 1 and LD 2 are behind the McCue-ball.