For Release: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Contact Frank Baraff (914) 469-3775 firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement by Ras Baraka
80% of the money spent on radio and television commercials in this campaign has been spent by one committee, Newark First, on behalf of Shavar Jeffries. Newark First has spent at least two million dollars, and the donors of most of that two million are secret.
In other words, a group behind Shavar Jeffries is trying to buy control of Newark’s government, and the people of Newark have no idea who they are, what they stand for, and what they ultimately seek to achieve.
At the last financial filing 20 days ago, Newark First had received $1.3 million in contributions. Of the $1.3 million, $850,000 came from Education Reform Now, a New York City group of Wall Street hedge fund operators behind Chris Christie and his appointed school superintendent, Cami Anderson. Today, Newark First has spent more than $2 million.
By putting their money through Education Reform Now, large contributors are able to hide from the people of Newark. There is nothing illegal about that kind of money laundering. It’s allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the people of Newark must know who is trying to control our city.
The fact that people launder contributions through an education reform group does not necessarily mean that they are supporters of Chris Christie-style education reform. The money could just as well be coming from the South Jersey political boss, George Norcross, or big contractors seeking to avoid pay-to-play laws.
Let me be clear. The issue is not that Shavar Jeffries is outspending me. The issue is that he is keeping the source of his money secret. I call upon Shavar Jeffries to reveal his secret contributors. Jeffries will no doubt deny any connection to Newark First.
But there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Shavar Jeffries campaign is deeply involved with Newark First and I have the evidence.
Connections Between Shavar Jeffries, his campaign, and the Newark First “Independent Expenditure” Committee
Under the law, communication between an independent expenditure group and a candidate or committee it is supporting is strictly illegal. That’s the meaning of independent expenditure.
1. After Jeffries met several times with George Norcross, the political boss of South Jersey, Norcross helped to establish Newark First. The media and mail consultants to Newark First are extensively involved with Norcross candidates.
2. Jeffries raised the most money of any candidate, $1,351,800, yet has only spent $82,000 on television and radio, barely enough to have any impact. No rational candidate would spend so little to communicate his message unless he knew that somebody else (Newark First) was going to spend $2 million or more for him on radio and tv.
3. The Jeffries campaign is run by Steve Adubato’s North Ward political organization. Members of that organization appear in commercials paid for by the so-called independent expenditure group.
4. The chairperson of the independent expenditure group is a leader in the Adubato North Ward political organization.
5. Congressman Payne a leader of the Shavar Jeffries campaign appeared in a television commercial paid for by Newark First. It stretches credulity to claim that the Congressman is unaware of who is paying for his tv spot.