Apparently, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is an avid Swiftie. According to a recent report, he is such an ardent fan of pop singer Taylor Swift that he was willing to spend over $10,000 in taxpayer funds for a party at one of her concerts.
The revelation has elicited criticism and scrutiny, not just because of his questionable taste in music, but because New Jersey residents footed the bill so that Murphy and his friends could rock out to “Shake it Off.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy used his taxpayer-funded expense account for nearly $12,000 worth of food and drinks at MetLife Stadium — including at a Taylor Swift concert and a hip-hop music festival, according to public records obtained by POLITICO.
Now, after being questioned about the justifications for the costs, the governor’s office says it is asking the state Democratic Party to reimburse taxpayers for the entertainment.
By way of explanation, Murphy’s office indicated that the Democratic State Committee was originally supposed to cover the stadium costs but failed to do so. This supposedly placed Murphy in a position in which he paid the bill using a $95,000 per year expense account. However, there could be yet another issue with Murphy using this account to pay for a Taylor Swift concert.
Budget language says the governor’s expense account is for “Official Receptions, Official Residence, and Other Official Expenses.” The expense account is barred from being used for “personal purposes” and it cannot supplement the governor’s annual $175,000 salary.
According to the records, Gov. Murphy’s office used the account for other questionable expenses, including $936 at another Taylor Swift concert in 2018 and $2,856 for a USA vs Mexico soccer match in 2019.
Phil Swibinski, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, said the organization “had no knowledge” of these outstanding invoices because they predated the current leadership.
So, it appears Murphy used taxpayer funds to party at Taylor Swift concerts and other events and only indicated that the Democratic Party would reimburse the state for these expenses after he was caught by reporters. Apparently, the people running New Jersey’s government need to learn what the words “oversight” and “accountability” mean. But, therein lies the crux of the matter.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Murphy never would have reimbursed the state if he hadn’t been called out for using taxpayer money for personal expenses. In essence, this means New Jersey took money from hardworking residents so that Murphy could listen to Taylor Swift sing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in person.
The notion that a politician would use their position to avail themselves of various perks using taxpayer money is not a surprise, given the world we live in. But the fact that Murphy will never face any real accountability for this shows why it happens in the first place. There will be no punishment for the governor coming from the state government. Even further, he probably won’t even be punished at the ballot box. Our “leaders” will always get away with corruption when voters are unwilling to do what it takes to make sure they do not abuse their positions.