New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy likes to go to stadium events.
Problem is, the Democrat doesn’t like to pay for the glitzy outings, opting instead to charge his stadium snacks to his taxpayer-funded expense account.
According to public records obtained by Politico, Murphy blew through nearly $12,000 worth of food and drinks during such MetLife Stadium events as a hip-hop music festival and a Taylor Swift concert.
“Murphy’s office said the Democratic State Committee was initially expected to cover the stadium costs but didn’t,” Politico reports. “The state was left with the bill, which was paid via Murphy’s $95,000-a-year expense account — a longstanding line item in the state budget which has been consistently renewed under Murphy and his predecessors.”
Now, Murphy’s office is asking New Jersey’s Democrat Party to reimburse the state’s taxpayers.
According to Jennifer Sciortino, a spokesperson for Murphy, the charges were made during 2018 and 2019, “during a time of staff transition for the state party.”
“Once it was clear that there were outstanding bills that had not been paid, the state stepped up to meet this responsibility,” she said in a statement to Politico.
“We are pursuing reimbursement from the state party for costs incurred at MetLife Stadium,” she later added.
“Budget language says the governor’s expense account is for ‘Official Receptions, Official Residence, and Other Official Expenses,'” Politico explains. “The expense account is barred from being used for ‘personal purposes’ and it cannot supplement the governor’s annual $175,000 salary.”
Sciortino said that Murphy’s office “had every expectation” that the Democratic State Committee would foot the bill for the stadium costs because it “traditionally covers these costs.”
But according to New Jersey Democratic State Committee spokesperson Phil Swibinski, the organization “had no knowledge” of the invoices. They preceded the current leadership, he said.
“We are looking into the matter in order to determine whether any additional action is necessary at this time,” Swibinski assured Politico, which notes, “Records from the governor’s expense account do not show taxpayers picking up MetLife Stadium expenses after 2019.”
Apparently, Murphy was often wrong in thinking the Democratic State Committee would pay for things like Aquafina at a Jets vs. Cowboys game in Oct. 2019 (that was 90 bucks work of water) and extra guacamole to the tune of another 45 dollars.
And, according to Politico, “State records do not show who was in attendance for the MetLife Stadium events or what gubernatorial business Murphy was on during Swift’s 2018 ‘Reputation’ tour or the Hot 97 Jam, which featured Cardi B and Meek Mill.”
Taxpayers will be relieved to learn the New Jersey leader is spending the majority of his expense account allowance on grand receptions at the governor’s mansion, known as Drumthwacket.
“From the start of his term to around July 2023, around $280,000 was spent between grocery store purchases, restaurant catering or catering staff for receptions,” Politico discovered. “Events covered by the expense account included receptions for Hanukkah, Diwali and a meeting with the French ambassador.”
“Records also show that in August 2021, just over $3,000 in catering staff was sent to Murphy’s personal residence in Monmouth County, a sprawling, multi-million dollar estate on the Navesink River,” the outlet adds.
“Governor Murphy, like others before him, has chosen to forego living in the official Governor’s Mansion,” said Sciortino in a statement. “On occasion, he hosts official state business at his residence, such as dinners with legislative leadership, which are catered by the Drumthwacket chef, occasionally with help from outside catering companies if the event is larger in nature.”
New Jersey taxpayers were also on the hook for the “official state gifts” Murphy presented to other governors and visiting foreign dignitaries and renovations to Drumthwacket.
“Legislation introduced in prior sessions would have required annual disclosures with the State Ethics Commission on how the funds were spent,” Politico reports. “The bill, however, never advanced and has not been reintroduced.”
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