Pallone slaps Booker over PAC cash

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone said today he now knows why Newark Mayor Cory Booker refused to sign the “People’s Pledge” foregoing outside money in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

“The purpose of the pledge was to prevent outside money from being pumped in by shadow organizations just like this one and to allow voters to have the opportunity to make an informed decision in August 13th’s special Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate without the shadowy specter of special interests,” Pallone said in a statement. “PAC+ promised to spend at least one million dollars to get Mayor Booker the nomination and now they have ‘conceived and incubated an innovative, cross-platform, social media campaign called ‘New Jersey 123.’  While we clearly encourage voter participation and are working towards increased voter turnout state-wide, we do take exception to the Mayor’s refusal to even acknowledge his campaign’s receipt of the ‘People’s Pledge,’ let alone his refusal to sign on to this effort to keep shadow organizations and special interest money out of this race.”

Pallone pushed for the People’s Pledge repeatedly but found no takers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported on the effort and quoted Booker as saying he saw nothing wrong with it.  Booker later said he was not working in conjunction with the PAC and said he would support “legislation that ends the influence of unregulated and unaccountable money” in politics.

A spokesman for the mayor did not immediately return an email for comment.

To date, Booker is the only candidate in the Senate race that has been attacked by a super PAC.  The American Commitment Action Fund, a D.C.-based super PAC, earlier this week launched a web site, wwwbookerfail.com., that includes an anti-Booker commercial. The group plans to fund raise through its site.

"It’s not a political environment that’s particularly warm for incumbents, but it looks like Booker has little to be worried about as the campaign season draws to a close."
—Krista Jenkins, poll director and professor of political science, FDU.