A whistleblower copied us on a letter sent to the Internal Revenue Service, among other organizations. The letter outlines the on-going collusion between the New Jersey affiliate of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a tax-exempt organization, and legislative staff and political campaign operatives in the creation of the group's so-called "scorecard."
AFP's scorecard is a rating system that internal memos show has been engineered to benefit individual legislators for various purposes. For instance, one legislator, Gail Phoebus, recently hired an AFP donor's child to her legislative staff. For doing so, she received an "A+". That's taxpayers' money that paid for that grade.
There was corruption evident in each of AFP's scorecards in the past, but this most recent edition -- the release of which was timed to coincide with a major AFP fundraiser hosted by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. -- is so corrupt, so convoluted, that it begs description. Instead of counting actual votes, the "engineers" behind the screw card fashioned a subjective mix of assigned "points" for the effort of proposing legislation -- even if that legislation was never posted for a vote. That said, in order to injure some legislators and enhance others, co-sponsorship of legislation wasn't given credit or, on bad bills, deductions. And even though the rules on the number of sponsors vary in each Chamber, this wasn't taken into account.
Some of the more glaring incidents of corruption:
- Legislation to get rid of the Estate Tax in five years that went nowhere, is marked as a positive. The legislation that actually did get rid of the Estate Tax in less than two years, is a negative. Curiously, AFP actually touted the success of the legislation they marked as "negative" in a press release detailing their "legislative successes" for 2016. In fact, most of the "successes" they used to raise money from their donors came from legislation they marked as "negative."
- Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) gets credit for sponsoring legislation (A-1059), while running-mate Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce gets no credit for co-sponsoring the same legislation.
- A bill (ACR-213) proposed by far-left Democrat John Wisniewski (D-19) which would allow voters to over-turn all of Governor Chris Christie's vetoes of anti-Second Amendment legislation passed by the Legislature was rated as a POSITIVE by AFP. Does that make AFP anti-gun? It certainly seems so. On top of this, they assigned credit or blame incorrectly. For instance, AFP credited Senator Michael Doherty even though he hadn't sponsored a Senate version (none exists).
- Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-13), a candidate for the Senate received an "A+" for his vote on the so-called "gas tax" (actually, the Tax Reform package that included 5 tax cuts as well as the gas tax increase), while Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) got an "F" for taking the exact same vote on the "gas tax."
- There was no mention of legislation to spend millions on Planned Parenthood. Whether this was because of AFP State Chair Frayda Levy's personal position on abortion or the time AFP Executive Director Erica Jedynak (nee Klemens) spent with W.A.N.D. (Women's Action for New Directions) we cannot tell. Apparently, legislators get no credit for being Pro-Life from AFP. Neither do they get it for preventing taxpayers' millions from being spent on abortion facilities.
- AFP is apparently hostile to legislation proposed by Senator Steve Oroho, called the Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act. It appears to fly in the face of what AFP national chair David Koch calls "free trade."
- A great deal of important legislation, like Senate legislation on paid sick leave, was treated as if it didn't exist. The scores of some legislators, such as Senator Tom Kean Jr., improved dramatically. Kean, who just a session ago was in the high 50 percentile range, suddenly got an "A"!
- Of all the hundreds of votes taken in the Legislature, AFP "counted" just nine Assembly votes and six in the Senate -- and one of those they got wrong because they cherry-picked it from a previous session. In other words, either the ass-monkey can't read a date correctly or somebody really wanted to screw someone.
(Jersey Conservative has some of best legislative watchers in the state and we will be putting together a comprehensive scorecard of the top 100 votes in the Legislature for 2016 in plenty of time for the June primary. Instead of the subjective contortions used by the Kock organization's screw card, Jersey Conservative will use as our guide, the RNC platform that Chairman Webber so studiously avoided adopting.)
Who was behind the convoluted calculations that appear to damage some for a primary, while creating an advantage for others? Whose thumb was on the scale?
We have asked this question before, of a different group that issues ratings -- the American Conservative Union (ACU). When we spoke with their national office last year, they were most cooperative and forthcoming. They readily informed us that the office of the Senate Republican Leader had assisted them in picking and choosing which votes to highlight.
Perhaps that was the reason the ACU left out important votes like providing drug-dealers with taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. Whatever, because it was child's play compared to what just happened over at AFP.
We can't imagine why a Republican Leader or his staff would have anything to do with an organization that went out of its way to crank it up the ass of five of his own incumbent Republican caucus members. Are they trying to weed out anyone with a spine or just those who have never thought about visiting the Bohemian Grove? Is this laying the groundwork for a Republican-NJEA alliance for November with the hope that conservatives will keep focused on "the gas tax" long enough to have their guns confiscated and the institution of co-ed high school showers. Time will tell.
As for AFP, anyone who dips their snout in the toilet bowl with it can be labeled as working with the petroleum lobby, the illegal immigration lobby, the open borders for terrorists lobby, and also with that peculiar brand of Koch libertarianism that sincerely believes children have the rights to recreational narcotics and to sell their bodies for sex. We suspect that candidates will be hearing a lot more on this as their campaigns progress through the primary and general election processes. The digging will get deep and the shit will be random.
Let us leave you with this quote from the Liberty & Prosperity blog run by Seth Grossman. Grossman was a founding member of New Jersey's AFP affiliate, so he knows of whom he speaks:
"Frayda Levy of Bergen County also supports amnesty for all illegals without taking any measures to stop, arrest, or deport future illegals. Frayda is one of the super-rich donors who donated more than a million dollars to Americans for Prosperity created by Charles and David Koch."
People like the ones running AFP like illegal labor because it drives down wages and makes average Americans take-it-or-leave-it wage slaves. Next time some surrogate for these modern day slavers complains about a working man in Morris County supporting a candidate who helps him keep his family fed, clothed, and a roof over their head, we will detail how much dough the folks on the other side are swimming in and the causes they use it on. Special interests? What in the hell are the Koch Brothers!