Hougtaling and Downey’s spokeman denies hearing of Sweeney’s call for a criminal investigation into NJEA
Still smarting from her shocking loss last November, former Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini yesterday issued a statement calling on the Democrats who unseated her to join Senate President Steve Sweeney in his demand that the U.S. Attorney and N.J. Attorney General investigate the teachers union for extortion.
The Democrat leader of the State Senate accused the NJEA of extorition eariler this week after Democrat County Chairmen and other power brokers told him that NJEA leaders told them that the union would withhold campaign contributions to Democrats unless Sweeney allowed a vote in the Senate on an amendment to the State Constitution that would compel specified contributions to the teacher’s pension fund every year.
Angelini said that Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey would not have defeated her if not for the “vicious lies” the NJEA broadcast about her and the non-profit drug abuse prevention organization she runs during the final days of the 2015 election campaign.
“Houghtaling and Downey refused to denounce the vicious lies fueled by the NJEA that painted a false narrative regarding the nonprofit that I have been associated with for over 20 years,” said Angelini, who narrowly lost her re-election last year. “It’s no surprise that my opportunist opponents welcomed the NJEA spending in their race and tow their agenda in Trenton. In the face of these troubling allegations, Houghtaling and Downey need to break their silence and stand up to their special interest allies.”
“Sweeney’s call for an investigation is a good first step, but exploring potential illegal activity needs to extend to the Trenton Democrats who have been bankrolled by the NJEA for years,” added Angelini. “Houghtaling and Downey owe their seats in the Legislature to the NJEA. They’ve worked hard in their first year to create the façade that they are independent thinkers. They should back up their rhetoric with action by joining the call for a criminal investigation and disclose all conversations they or their staff members had with the NJEA . They had no problem standing behind Steve Sweeney to support another do-nothing government commission on school funding. Failure to stand behind Sweeney in calling for a criminal investigation will prove that they have sold out to the NJEA and have no problem with transactional politics in Trenton.”
Joe Libutti, the spokesman for both Houghtaling and Downey, said he was not familiar with Senate President Sweeney’s allegations against the NJEA and that he would have to call back when MMM reached him on the phone.
Houghtaling returned our call after we spoke to Libutti. He declined to comment on Sweeney’s call into an investigation into NJEA. He said he was meeting with Sweeney in Freehold Borough this morning to talk about school funding.