TRENTON, NJ - Sometimes the questions go off COVID-19 and onto politics for the Middletown, NJ based Governor Murphy. With a near daily schedule of COVID-19 briefings however, he tries to allow a robust question and answer period.
During the COVID-19 briefing question and answer period on Monday, December 28th, Murphy was asked about big changes due to the 10-year census and related redistricting in New Jersey. It was his apparently controversial choice for the election Redistricting Commission, Gary Taffet, that is now attracting attention.
The reporter was from the pool. He was called 'Charlie' (no publication stated) by the governor, and asked: "Governor, why did you appoint Gary Taffet to the redistricting commission were you aware of the Attorney General currently investigating his company and were you aware of the six-figure civil penalty he paid to the SEC over allegations of insider trading?"
He referred to Taffet and that the New Jersey Attorney General is currently investigating Taffet's company. Previously, Taffet was also involved in a six figure settlement to the SEC to resolve insider trading charges.
"I've known Gary for 20 years, I have to say, and he's a good man and a good friend and I'll leave it at that. He and the rest of the appointees will do an outstanding job."
According to a story at NorthJersey.Com , 'Plainfield (NJ) received a subpoena from Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s office on Aug. 5 seeking contracts and related documents to be reviewed by a state grand jury, five days after the office subpoenaed Bergen County for similar records. The subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by The Record and NorthJersey.com, demands that the Union County city hand over a host of documents going back to 2015 related to its employee health insurance broker. Plainfield’s broker is Acrisure. Acrisure owns Reliance Insurance Group, which handles Plainfield’s contract. Reliance is linked to Gary Taffet, who ran Reliance before it was bought by Acrisure and he became one of the firm's employees.'
The Latino community has recently criticized the Democrat party on the Redistricting Commission as well. In a piece from NJ Spotlight News, Patricia Campos-Medina took direct aim at her position that the diversity is lacking by her own party:
Taffet is well known in Democrat circles and Middlesex County. According to Middlesex County College, he also serves on the Middlesex County College Board of Trustees since 2017. He is a Division President for Acrisure and a former Governor’s Chief of Staff.
Redistricting is a little known part of politics to the everyday voter It's impacts, however, are enormous to the apportionment of congressional seats and in many respects, who gets a seat at the political table in the first place. For Taffet, who Murphy calls a good friend, the table is set.