NJ.com

Outside Forces Spreading Cash In This Pro-Trump Jersey Republican's Race

NJ.com — March 26, 2018

By Jonathan D. Salant
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom MacArthur's controversial votes supporting President Donald Trump on health care and taxes are being debated in his congressional district by outside groups that do not have to disclose their benefactors.

The American Action Network, a nonprofit with ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., began a new round of running ads in support of 26 House Republicans on Monday, including MacArthur. The group is spending $1 million on its latest effort after spending more than $30 million previously in support of the Republican tax bill.

Meanwhile, a new nonprofit, New Jersey for a Better Future, announced a million-dollar campaign against MacArthur. The group's advisory board includes representatives of the New Jersey Communications Workers of America, the New Jersey NAACP and the advocacy group New Jersey Citizen Action.

As nonprofit groups, both organizations can keep their donors secret, meaning the public does not know who is funding the efforts.

MacArthur, R-3rd Dist., has been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, though is viewed as a strong favorite for re-election by the two Washington-based publications that track congressional races, Inside Elections and the Cook Political Report.

He faces Andy Kim, a national security adviser under President Barack Obama, this fall.

The American Action Network ads thank MacArthur and other lawmakers for supporting a "middle-class tax cut" giving taxpayers "more money for a mortgage, more for groceries and gas, more to save for college and retirement."

While more than 80 percent of taxpayers initially will pay less, the richest 5 percent will get 43 percent of the benefits, according to the progressive Tax Policy Center. The bottom 80 percent will receive 36 percent.

Since the Republican bill makes the middle-class provisions temporary, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would see their taxes rise while the richest 1 percent would get 83 percent of the benefits in 2027, according to the Tax Policy Center.

MacArthur was the only New Jersey Republican to support the tax bill, which targeted the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a break disproportionately used by Garden State taxpayers.

He also supported the House Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with legislation that would leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance.

MacArthur's amendment resurrected the bill after it failed to garner enough support in the House. The measure eventually died in the Senate.

"At every turn, Congressman MacArthur puts his political ambitions and Trump's priorities ahead of his constituents," said Seth Hahn, political director of the state Communications Workers union.

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