Murphy: State’s Investment of $186 Million of Taxpayer Money in Koch Industries Raises Questions of Politics, Points to Need for Public Bank

Newark — As the governor prepares to present his final state budget next Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy today pointed to the administration’s investment of more than $186 million of taxpayer money in a company run by the Koch Brothers as raising a serious question as to where Chris Christie’s political dreams and fiscal obligations blur — and further pointing to the need for an independent public bank to break special interest profiteering and invest directly in New Jersey.

According to the state’s Fiscal Year 2016 Cash Management Fund report, released in October, $186.4 million of state funds was invested in Koch Resources LLC. The investments were made in commercial paper, unsecured short-term promissory notes.

The Cash Management Report only notes that the loans were due in July 2016, showing no information as to when they were made, raising questions as to whether the state made the investment as Christie was courting Koch Brothers’ support prior to undertaking his failed presidential run. The transaction takes up just seven lines on page 19 of the 21-page report, which itself is buried on the state’s website.

“It would be bad enough if $186 million of taxpayer money was given to the Koch Brothers for political reasons, but it’s equally as bad that the state is making investments in businesses that are not committed to investing in our state or people,” said Murphy.

Murphy said the report shows the need for the public bank he has proposed to reinvest taxpayer money in directly in Main Street, rather than giving it to Wall Street banks and corporations that don’t reinvest in New Jersey.

“The public bank could provide not only a better return for taxpayers, but also play a major role in reenergizing our small businesses and rebuilding communities — and with full transparency, so taxpayers will see where their money is going,” said Murphy. “It’s time we stop helping the special interests profit at our expense.”