U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg sought to end a brewing political firestorm today cancelling a campaign fundraiser at Bruce Springsteen’s Giant Stadium concert on Friday – just one day after The Record broke the story that the Senator’s re-election campaign had cut a deal with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to buy forty premium tickets held back by the state agency for VIP’s and political insiders for $108 per ticket and reselling them to donors at $1,500 each.
The Lautenberg campaign blamed the cancellation on the NJSEA, which rescinded their commitment to sell them the tickets – and in full spin mode, called on the sports authority to “re-examine its practice of reserving tickets, in order to ensure that its tickets are available to all New Jersey residents, not just to VIP’s,” according to a published report.
But a source who formerly worked at the NJSEA says that Lautenberg has requested tickets for his personal use over the years from the same pool of premium seats, as have some key members of Lautenberg’s campaign team.
The Record also reported that GOP State Chairman Tom Wilson criticized Lautenberg for seeking tickets from the NJSEA after helping them receive federal funding for rail connections and road improvements. “His request for a special favor from the NJSEA to help his campaign looks like an old fashioned quid pro quo,” said Wilson.