Republican Senator Michael Testa called for answers from New Jersey Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio after it was revealed Wednesday that $10 million of unauthorized transfers were made to the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund, a Murphy administration program that would provide illegal immigrants with $2,000 payments and up to $4,000 per household.
“The current state budget includes language that allows Governor Murphy to make appropriations of up to $10 million from federal pandemic relief funds for any single relief program without legislative approval,” said Testa (R-1), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “It seems clear the Murphy administration exceeded that authority by appropriating $20 million for payments to illegal immigrants without the sign-off of the Legislature. Treasurer Muoio should be called before the Budget Committee to explain the Murphy administration’s disregard for the law.”
According to a notification from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to partisan budget committee staff in the Senate and General Assembly, the Department of Community Affairs made two transfers of $10 million each from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund in the Department of Human Services.
The first transfer of $10 million on April 18 appears to have been made in accordance with FY 2022 State Budget language, according to OLS. It’s unclear what legal authority, if any, the Murphy administration had to make the second $10 million transfer on April 29.
According to OLS, the Murphy administration ignored three separate requests for an explanation over the past month.
“The Murphy administration has demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to follow the law on their own,” added Testa. “This is exactly why Senate Republicans have called for strengthening legislative oversight of Murphy administration spending in our comprehensive budget plan. We need to monitor the administration closely and hold them accountable whenever they try to turn New Jersey Treasury into a slush fund for Governor Murphy.”