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Why it’s harder to track an indicted NJ power broker’s connections to federal Dems

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George Norcross’ corruption charges have top Democrats in New Jersey rushing to distance themselves from the scandal-ridden power broker. His money trail through the federal campaigns machine is more murky, however.

Norcross has not directly donated to any candidates in Congress in recent years besides his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), according to FEC records.

So while indictments of prominent officials usually prompt one party to prod the opposition’s lawmakers to return donations, Republicans will have a harder time yoking any Democratic members of Congress to Norcross.

Instead, his more direct efforts have largely focused on New Jersey politics, with some attention to neighboring Pennsylvania. There is a network of groups, including super PACs, that are aligned with Norcross and his allies and support his favored candidates at state and local levels, though largely they are not formally associated with him.

He’s given millions of dollars over the years to Democratic campaigns, state and local parties, and other committees. And allied groups such as General Majority PAC and the super PAC American Representative Majority have taken in tens of millions of dollars that they spend boosting allied candidates at the state and local levels. General Majority PAC sent $200,000 to House Democrats’ super PAC, House Majority PAC, in the 2018 cycle.

Norcross was an active figure in the Democratic Party for decades. But after losing a grip on state politics in recent years, told POLITICO he’d step back from the spotlight. Norcross’ spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Although he’d reportedly attended a fundraiser for his brother Donald Norcross with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi as recently as 2020, a Pelosi spokesperson said he never gave directly to her.

But he’s already becoming a flashpoint among the Democrats jockeying for power. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who’s running for governor next year, posted Monday afternoon on X: “Bueller…. Bueller…. I know Monday can be a slow day in Congress but weird only two comments in the entire state??” He tagged New Jersey Democratic Reps. Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer.

Gottheimer responded: “Jersey Values is straight talking, not flip-flopping.” Both Sherrill and Gottheimer are expected to mount gubernatorial bids next year.

Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), who’s running to replace indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), took an optimistic line on X: “As you read about scandals/corruption, don’t disengage. Let’s step up.”

And Kim’s ally, Sue Altman, who’s running to flip a GOP-held seat (and has called for a criminal investigation into Norcross), also hailed the news: “It is a new day for New Jersey politics. We are replacing our culture of corruption, misuse of public funds, and self-dealing government with a new one — one that prioritizes public service, the greater good, and functional government where BOTH parties are held accountable.”