NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Campaign Volunteer Sues Over Alleged Rape

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Katie Brennan, the former campaign volunteer who says her rape allegation against a man who went on to land a high-paying state job was ignored by officials in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, has filed suit against the Murphy campaign and the state, according to reports.

In her suit, Brennan alleged she faced discrimination and a hostile environment in her job as chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. According to Politico, She seeks to stop state officials from enforcing a confidentiality order regarding the alleged assault. Brennan is also suing her accused rapist, Albert J. Alvarez.

Brennan was a volunteer on the Murphy campaign and contends Alvarez raped her following a campaign event in April 2017. She claims she told Murphy transition team and members of his staff about the incident, but Alvarez was still hired for a lucrative job as chief of staff to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Alvarez held the post until resigning in October after Brennan told her story to the Wall Street Journal.

Brennan testified before a legislative committee in December. Afterwards, the state Division of Equal Employment Opportunity opened an investigation into the event and required she sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the lawsuit. The agreement could lead to Brennan’s termination if she breaches it, NJ.com reported. Brennan’s suit claims the state division is trying to prevent her from speaking out about the incident, according to the report.

Alvarez has denied the accusation. While Brennan attempted to contact the governor and several highly placed members of the administration knew of the situation, Murphy has said he did not know about the incident until the Wall Street Journal wrote about it.

Quote of the Day: “When Americans pay 911 fees on their phone bills, they rightfully expect that money to fund 911-related services. Unfortunately, the FCC’s annual report shows that, once again, several states have siphoned 911 funding for unrelated purposes. This is outrageous and it undermines public safety.” — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, on states such as New Jersey, which has used about $1 billion in fees imposed on phone users intended to pay for upgrades to 911 service to instead plug budget holes.

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NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Campaign Volunteer Sues Over Alleged Rape