A bombshell report from New Jersey’s largest newspaper severely undermines Democratic Governor Phil Murphy’s past statements about allegations of sexual misconduct on his 2017 campaign.
New documents provided by Julie Roginsky, one of four women who have made allegations about the Murphy campaign, to The Star-Ledger appear to prove that Roginsky directly informed Murphy of the “toxic” office environment, and that Murphy’s lawyers sought to aggressively enforce a nondisclosure agreement to prevent Roginsky from speaking out – both of which Murphy has previously denied.
Star-Ledger editorial page editor Tom Moran wrote in a Sunday column:
To me, the bigger story is that Roginsky has compelling evidence that our governor has been misleading the public for months, on two big issues.
Murphy has said, over and over, that women who worked on his campaign are free to talk about workplace issues and sexual harassment. But Roginsky revealed an e-mail showing that is simply not true. It was sent to her on May 24, 2019, and it was from Paul Josephson, the governor’s campaign attorney. It warned her that the gag order she signed prohibits her from discussing “any knowledge or information of any type whatsoever” gained during her work on the campaign.
I can’t see any wiggle room there. And when I asked the governor’s team to find some, they couldn’t either.
Murphy also claims that he was unaware of any complaints of toxic behavior during his campaign. But the governor is copied on an email Roginsky wrote that complains of “rank misogyny” in the campaign and says several young women had confided in her about mistreatment by men. “I am happy to provide names,” the e-mail says.
In response, Murphy doubled down on his longtime strategy of denial and victim-blaming, attempting to cast Roginsky as politically motivated, despite her decades working in Democratic politics.
However, Roginsky is just one of at least four women who have come forward with allegations about the Murphy campaign, including one former volunteer alleging she was sexually assaulted by a senior campaign staffer. POLITICO New Jersey reports:
Her latest allegations follow an accusation by state housing official Katie Brennan that she was raped by a top Murphy campaign staffer, Al Alvarez, and that after she complained anonymously to the Murphy transition team, Alvarez was then hired for a high-level state job. The issue was the focus of a series of legislative hearings in Trenton. (Alvarez has denied the rape accusation.)
Two other former campaign staffers have also made allegations that the Murphy campaign had a toxic work environment.
Murphy was elected Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in December, and is likely to campaign with several female gubernatorial candidates, such as Nicole Galloway in Missouri and Whitney Williams in Montana, if they win their party’s nominations. The DGA recently announced a partnership with #MeToo movement supporter Stacey Abrams for the 2020 election cycle. Abrams, Galloway, and Williams have yet to comment on Murphy’s handling of these allegations.
“Governor Murphy’s decision to double-down on his previous false statements and victim blaming instead of taking responsibility for the disturbing culture he allowed to fester on his campaign calls his fitness for office into question,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “Every Democratic candidate who accepts DGA support as long as Phil Murphy is at the helm needs to say where they stand – with the women they claim to fight for, or with a governor who uses gag orders and blatant untruths to protect his political career.”