2nd Murphy takedown video says info already public being withheld
TRENTON – Project Veritas released a second hidden-camera video of campaign aides to Gov. Phil Murphy, this time discussing aid to unauthorized immigrants – though not revealing anything that isn’t already publicized or acknowledged by Murphy.
In one video, senior campaign adviser for Hispanic outreach Wendy Martinez is shown saying that $40 million in pandemic aid is being allocated to immigrants not legally in the country but that “to designate that at this point would be political suicide.”
Murphy has discussed the funding often, and his administration’s Department of Human Services had announced in a news release Wednesday morning, hours before the video release, that applications are now being accepted. It had announced the launch of the fund’s website two weeks ago.
In the video, Martinez says immigrant advocacy groups are now pushing for more funding but that Murphy won’t talk about it until after he’s elected. But Murphy has expressed support for that before, including as recently as last week.
“I still hope that we can find more money for the undocumented. I stand by that,” he said. “We were able to cobble together $40 million, and I know there are a lot of legislators who want to work with us to find more of that, and I continue to be more than open-minded on that, and if some legislation comes my way without getting – obviously, the devil’s in the details, but conceptually, that’s something that I would support, and I still expect that to happen.”
A second campaign aide, Matthew Urquijo, digital organizing manager for the Democrats’ coordinated campaign, said he thinks “there’s definitely” going to be more aid for unauthorized immigrants after winning more Democratic seats in the Legislature.
The Excluded New Jerseyans Fund provides one-time payments of $1,000 per person or $2,000 per household to applicants who didn’t receive federal stimulus or unemployment assistance during the pandemic, have incomes under $55,000, live in New Jersey and are at least 18 years old.
The application form went live Wednesday. It’s estimated it would take 30 to 60 minutes to fill out and upload required documentation. Money should arrive two to three weeks later. Applications will be processed in the order they’re received, until the money runs out.
“Eligible individuals can now apply for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund and start the process to get this critical assistance,” acting Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “If you did not receive federal stimulus checks and pandemic unemployment assistance, you may be eligible. If you were impacted by COVID and struggled to pay for basic needs including housing, you may be eligible. Visit our website, find out if you are eligible and apply today.”
Sen. Michael Doherty, R-Warren, said the money should be spent on other state needs.
“This is one more glaring example of Murphy’s misplaced priorities,” Doherty said. “He is increasing taxes this month on struggling small businesses at the same time he is handing out millions to people who broke the law.”
Unemployment taxes paid by businesses increased this month – though would have jumped far more, except for a law enacted by Murphy and the Legislature that spread out the impact caused by having a depleted unemployment fund that currently owes $560 million to the federal government.
Republicans and business groups said Murphy should have put federal COVID recovery money into the unemployment fund, though the way the law enacted earlier this year was written, that would not have prevented the increase. It will matter by the time the next tax hike is calculated, effective next October.
Republicans said the Legislature could have passed a law changing that formula, though it has not been in session since June. It is scheduled to return after the election.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at email@example.com.