Last week, the New Jersey Assembly passed legislation designed to use the power of government itself -- and your tax dollars -- to fund Garden State Equality's lobbying and political efforts. In effect, the Democrats want to create a program of government -funded lobbying and political campaign activity -- but only for one side.
Garden State Equality -- a group with a history of threatening elected officials when they don't get their way -- is actually three separate organizations. Garden State Equality Educational Fund, Inc., is a New Jersey non-profit corporation organized under the IRS Code as a 501(c)(3). Garden State Equality Action Fund, Inc., is a non-profit corporation organized under the IRS Code as a 501(c)(4). Garden State Equality, LLC, is a Domestic Limited Liability Corporation organized to run a political action committee (see below).
The legislation passed by the Assembly last week, A-4790, specifically funds Garden State Equality, LLC, the political action committee. Here's what it does:
An Act providing for the issuance of “Equality” license plates and supplementing chapter 3 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes
Now here is the really wild thing. Apparently, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the sponsor of A-4790, along with the brain trusts at OLS and the Democrat Assembly Caucus, were so excited about securing this funding rip-off in service of the latest fashion statement of the "Feeling Class", that they forget to do their homework and vet the group that was to benefit. If they had properly vetted Garden State Equality, LLC, they would have learned that the organization had been revoked by the New Jersey Department of Revenue in 2012 and that in 2015, it had been dissolved and terminated.
That's not all, Garden State Equality Action Fund, Inc., is currently under suspension by the New Jersey Department of Revenue and has been so for five years. The group filed its last annual report in April 2010 and has been pretty much a scofflaw since. In 2012, Garden State Equality Action Fund’s status was listed as "revoked" and it was placed on "suspension" in July of that year.
Curiously, the entity responsible for filing the most recently available IRS 990 tax statements for Garden State Equality Action Fund is none other than John M. Traier & Associates, of Wayne, New Jersey. Mr. Traier is the chairman of the Passaic County Republican Committee. Traier was a fierce critic of conservative Republican Congressman Scott Garrett during last year's re-election campaign.
And finally, according to the most recent IRS 990 tax statement filed by the Garden State Equality Educational Fund, the organization is in the process of repaying a $47,581.00 loan it received from Steve Goldstein. The loan was negotiated without a written agreement and is a "loan for operating expenses", according to the information provided to the Internal Revenue Service. Rather interesting, is it not?
So this is how you make government work for you -- and you don't even need to follow the basic rules to do it.
Along with the herd of frightened Democrats, several Republicans voted to join the Left and give a government bank account and source of government funding to an organization that is involved in lobbying, political campaigns, and funding the Democrat Party. Among those Republicans were Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-08), who is embroiled in legal troubles; Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39), mentioned as a potential candidate for Congress; Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-13), who is running for the State Senate; and Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-02), also a candidate for State Senate.
We are surprised that any Republicans would have voted for A-4790, as it was rushed to a floor vote without the benefit of any committee hearings at all. This was a short-circuiting of the normal legislative process and deeply un-democratic. As a result, whether by accident or design, the press and the public were not afforded the opportunity to vet the intended beneficiaries of this taxpayer-funded accommodation. The people were not given the opportunity to question the wisdom of doing such a deal with a lobbying and political action group.
At the very least, Republicans should have been unified in standing up for the democratic process. They should have demanded a hearing and done so loudly. Instead, they failed, and in some cases participated in the corruption. Sad, really, sad.