Democrats smell blood in the 5th Congressional district, where GOP discombobulation has incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) blowing the whistle on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and seeking to harden his own brand.
That’s a troublesome brand in its own right, according to Senate Majority leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who today demanded that Governor Chris Christie denounce Garrett for his ties to the domestic terror organization, the Oath Keepers.
Weinberg, moreover, also called on New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino to conduct an investigation into whether Garrett violated New Jersey law.
“In the wake of homegrown terror attacks – like the ones in Elizabeth, New York, and Seaside Park – the citizens of New Jersey deserve to know the full extent of Congressman Garrett’s connections to this terrorist organization,” said Weinberg. “I am asking the attorney general to investigate this matter and whether he has violated any state laws.
“I also call on Governor Christie and my Republican colleagues in the New Jersey legislature to denounce – in the firmest way possible – Congressman Garrett for associating with the Oath Keepers,” the senator added.
Weinberg’s statement comes after Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Garrett attended a political fundraiser hosted by an individual – Edward Durfee, who also serves as the Republican Municipal Chair of North Vale – who is a “9/11 Truther” and has ties to the “New Jersey Oath Keepers.” The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness has designated the “Oath Keepers” as a “terrorist organization” of “militia extremists.”
The senate majority leader cited state law, NJ Rev Stat § 2C:38-5 (2013), which points out that it is criminal for anyone to engage in “soliciting or providing material support or resources for terrorism.”
Running hard against Democratic challenger Josh Gottheimer, Garrett said he was unaware of Durfee’s connections to the terrorist organization.
But Weinberg notes that Durfee lists his connections publically on his social media profiles.
“Congressman Garrett has betrayed his oath of office,” the senator said. “He swore to defend our country from “all enemies, foreign and domestic. Instead, he has chosen to fundraise with them.”