Developer Linked To Scandal: Our NJ Political Donations Were Proper

January 24, 2014 12:50 p.m.

The company tied to the latest explosive allegations against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) office said this week that the donations it made to politicians and committees over the years were proper.

Rockefeller Group arrived in the spotlight this week after the mayor of Hoboken, N.J. alleged Christie’s administration had threatened to withhold hurricane relief money unless she approved a real estate project involving the company.

In the wake of the allegations, TPM found that the company and its executives had a long trail of donations to Jersey candidates and committees from both parties. Finance records showed Rockefeller and its execs had handed out more than $70,000, including $2,500 to Christie, between 1989 and 2011.

When TPM first asked Rockefeller Group about the donations Monday, company spokesman Dwayne Doherty said employees were permitted to make “personal donations,” but there was a “long-standing company policy that prohibits political contributions on behalf of the company.”

But after TPM informed Doherty about the contributions made by Rockefeller Group, he said the policy “allows for corporate political contributions in special circumstances with prior authorization” and promised to confirm the reasons for the donations.

In an email to TPM late Wednesday, Doherty explained the contributions:

“We have reviewed documentation for the company’s corporate political contributions for the past seven years. In that time, the company’s four political contributions totaling $3,000 all had the prior authorization of the company. The contributions constituted support of three receptions honoring Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, since deceased, and a reception honoring Morris County Freeholder John Murphy. These are representative of the types of political contributions the company will consider authorizing upon the request of its executives. Based on the full list of contributions available on the State of New Jersey’s web site, over the past 25 years the company has made political contributions totaling $77,500, 52 percent to Republicans and 48 percent to Democrats. We have verified that of the total, 71 percent – or $55,000 – were for purchasing a table at New Jersey Governor’s Galas during Democratic administrations in 2001, 2003 and 2004, and a table at New Jersey Governor’s Galas during Republican administrations in 1999 and 2000.”

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