TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tapped into a taxpayer-financed expense account for nearly $12,000 at MetLife Stadium, including almost $1,000 for a Taylor Swift concert in 2018.
Murphy has asked the Democratic State Committee to reimburse the state for the purchases, the Politico first reported. The news agency cited records showing the Democratic governor spent the money on snacks and beverages at several events in 2018 and 2019 including the Swift concert, sporting events and a music festival presented by a New York City radio station.
A Murphy spokesperson said the Democratic State Committee was expected to cover the stadium costs. When it did not, the bill was paid through the governor’s $95,000 annual expense account.
“Once it was clear that there were outstanding bills that had not been paid, the state stepped up to meet this responsibility,” Jennifer Sciortino said, adding that the committee had a different leadership team in place at the time and the charges in question “occurred during a time of staff transition for the state party." She said the governor’s office is seeking reimbursement from the committee, “consistent with our practice for many years now.”
Noting the staff transition, Democratic Party Spokesman Phil Swibinski said the committee’s current leadership team “had no knowledge of the invoice that was reportedly paid for by the state." He said party officials are looking into the matter.
“The state party regularly pays for the cost of food and beverage service at non-governmental events that the governor hosts, including at MetLife Stadium, and all of those payments are disclosed to ELEC according to state law," Swibinski said.