Today NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt weighed in on controversy surrounding Governor Phil Murphy and his soccer team Sky Blue FC. Unlike many in New Jersey, Steinhardt is not a Johnny-come-lately on this issue. Like us, Steinhardt has been talking about it since August. His press release follows:
For Immediate Release
Trenton, NJ - Following reports yesterday that Governor Murphy was directly involved with the recruitment of a draft pick for his professional women's soccer team, Sky Blue FC,it has come to light that Governor Murphy may have violated state ethics laws.
Hometown soccer star Julia Ashley told reporters she would rather leave the country than play for Murphy's soccer team. Murphy called her personally, and unsuccessfully, to convince her to stay. Sky Blue FC made news recently for the poor conditions to which it subjects its female members.
Governor Murphy's direct involvement in the management of Sky Blue looks like a clear violation of the state’s ethics rules. By his own admission, he put the team into a blind trust during his public service to avoid the conflicts of interest his ownership would create. The team plays its games on state property at Rutgers and has multiple sponsors who receive state funding.
To get to the bottom of yet another scandal, NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt called on Governor Murphy to submit himself to an ethics investigation by the administration's Advisory Ethics Panel.
"Governor Murphy needs to account to the people of New Jersey and prove that he will hold himself to some ethical standard," Steinhardt said. "He needs to take personal responsibility for his decisions. In the spirit of good government and public transparency, he needs to go to the Advisory Ethics Panel and request a written ruling on whether he stepped out of bounds trying to salvage his sweat shop soccer team."
Steinhardt added, "An inquiry of this magnitude cannot be delegated to the Governor’s senior staff, who have demonstrated repeatedly and under oath that they lack a clear understanding of the importance of ethical standards. The Governor likes to say that the buck stops with him. Here’s his chance to put his money where his mouth is. It can’t be one set of rules for him and another set for everyone else.”
“On his first day on the job, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order no. 2, which governs ethics in his office,” Steinhardt concluded. “It’s time Phil Murphy calls balls and strikes on himself.”