Report: Unions spend over $5 Million to influence Gas Tax vote!

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Sussex County politics. Individual fundraising events by the Hometown Pro-GasTax Ticket of Oroho, Space & Wirths have brought in a tidal wave of Union Boss $$$. For months we wondered how much money it took for our “conservative” senator to cave to the union boss’ special interests, and now we are beginning to find out.

According to a March 2, 2017 story in the Star-Ledger, “One of the state’s leading proponents in last year’s fight to raise the gas tax for the Transportation Trust Fund spent nearly $4.4 million lobbying last year, according to an Election Law Enforcement Commission analysis. The Engineers Labor Employer Cooperative more than quadrupled its spending over 2015, making it the highest-spending special interest organization in 2016. Total lobbying in the state last year reached $68.3 million.”

The Star-Ledger goes on to state, “The engineers cooperative, embarked on an ad campaign pushing both the 23 cent gasoline tax hike and a constitutional amendment dedicating all tax revenues to the Transportation Trust Fund, beat out even the deep pockets of the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s prominent teachers union.”

“Forward NJ, another group focused on replenishing the transportation fund that includes various county and city chambers of commerce, the League of Municipalities, AAA and trade groups, spent $546,000 — a bit more than half of what it shelled out in 2015.”

“The Transportation Trust Fund also was behind a big boost in spending to influence lawmakers and state officials in 2015. The Engineers Cooperative 825 and Forward NJ combined for just $300,000 in spending in 2014 before jumping to $1.7 million in 2015 and $4.9 million in 2016. The vast majority of their money was on communications, such as TV and radio advertising.” …and apparently Senator Oroho!

This is important information as we get to the truth of how much money was spent to flip Senator Oroho, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce and several other conservative republicans to vote for a gas tax that they had previously shown ambivalence or outward opposition to for years.

“The hot legislative issue of 2017 isn’t the gas tax, per se. It is how much union cash Senator Steve Oroho has accepted to sell out the 24th Legislative District.”

Oroho ELEC 2017-01-15

We have been provided ELEC reports, texts and emails that show Senator Oroho had indeed sold out his district. What we are trying to determine is how much does it take to buy a State Senator’s support today, and what other taxpayer fleecing, union agenda items are now headed our way.

Democratic State Senate Leaders Steve Sweeney and Paul Sarlo.

What we do know… In January of 2016, Senator Oroho’s peers; associates and political operatives, including Bill Winkler, were trying to talk him out of the deal he made with Democrats Steve Sweeney, Paul Sarlo and the Union Bosses to push the gas tax, while filling his campaign account with hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Democrats needed to draw cover for some of their ranks to vote no, and still attain a veto-proof super majority to win the tax increase vote.

This was necessary to appease the Engineers Cooperative 825 PAC who had already invested heavily in specific legislators. We know that Oroho had personally loaned his campaign a substantial amount of money since 2007 and he needed to refill his campaign account so he could repay himself.

What we also know… Winkler had already begun to search for a candidate to challenge the Senator until the Engineers Cooperative 825 PAC sweetened a deal for him to profit greatly by running a savage campaign against anyone who would appear in opposition to the Gas Tax. If you are looking for proof, try to comment online to any news story or comment in the NJ Herald. Winkler eventually sold out his opposition to the gas tax, based on his poll oriented “conservative philosophy”, when his personal compensation rose to his expectations. His new mantra now is, “It’s a fee, not a tax!”.

We also know… that Oroho assured Democratic leadership that he could deliver the votes of Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus to ensure an override of a Christie veto. When that failed to materialize, the Governor swept in with his own deal to try to make points with Donald Trump. The set back shutdown all road projects in the state until another deal could be fashioned. This week Governor Christie budgeted the supposed tax savings of $400 million back to roads to draw cover for his friends Steve Sweeney and Steve Oroho.

Once again the Sussex taxpayer gets to pay the fees and the tax!

Now we know… that the money spent by the union bosses so far has been over $5,000,000 with more to come. We know a substantial amount is going to Steve Oroho and an unaccounted amount is being paid directly to his Philadelphia area political operative, Bill Winkler.

Not to be excluded from the union spending spree, Steve Oroho’s Hometown pro-GasTax Ticket running mate Hal Wirths claimed in a newspaper article this week to have hauled in over $50,000. His war chest coming largely from union sponsorship and contributions. Attendees at his fundraiser noted the massive union presence on his sponsor card.

Unfortunately, we also know… that Philly Bill Winkler continues to poison the political waters in Sussex County and the entire 24th Legislative District. Parker Space has openly acknowledged that he has no control over what Winkler says or who he libels. But like most weak politicians, he continues to solicit campaign contributions from us to pay Philly Bill not to turn his vitriolic attacks against him. Sad. We guess that there are some snakes that even Parker Space won’t mess with.

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