Dems Get Dirty In New Jersey Campaign

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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The Democratic primary for governor in New Jersey took an ugly turn, with one candidate filing a formal ethics complaint, according to a Politico Playbook report Friday.

Former Undersecretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson formally filed a complaint with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for campaign finance issues, according to the report.

The complaint alleges that Democratic challenger Phil Murphy used shady tactics to fund the start of his gubernatorial bid, failing to form an official exploratory committee. Murphy used donated funds to a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, as well as a 527 tax-exempt organization.

They key difference between the exploratory committee and the nonprofit groups with respect to the tax code is disclosure. Organizations with 501(c)(4) and 527 classifications aren’t required to disclose their donors, whereas exploratory committees are required to file their donors with ELEC.

That distinction doesn’t apply to Murphy, who disclosed the donors to each group in the filing, but was quick to underscore the fact that Johnson’s firm worked with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising effort, an effort that was under investigation for shady practices.

Johnson’s campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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