MacArthur’s House Votes Favor Own Healthcare, Oil Investments, Critics Say

Third District Congressional Campaign
May 30, 2018
File Photo by: Jack Reynolds Two-term Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur, NJ-3.

The race in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District between two-term Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur and Democrat Andy Kim, a former Obama national security adviser, is getting nasty early, probably because it can.

Neither candidate faces an opponent in their June 5 primaries. So they – and supporters – are free to slug it out directly now.

MacArthur apparently has a big target on his back. End Citizens United, a grassroots PAC (political action committee) committed to reforming the nation’s campaign finance system, pounced on an April 27 report by the New Jersey Globe that claimed MacArthur bought thousands of dollars in stocks of oil and gas companies weeks before voting to give the industry a $25 billion tax break.

MacArthur spokesman Chris Russell said the assertion that the congressman’s investments and vote were related was ridiculous.

“Congressman MacArthur voted for tax reform because it delivered meaningful middle-class tax relief for an overwhelming number of New Jerseyans and, in fact, has already resulted in substantial bonuses and pay raises for front line employees in countless New Jersey companies,” said Russell. “The mere inference that his vote was tied to any personal gain is both outrageous and insulting.”

But End Citizens United wasn’t convinced by Russell’s defense of his boss. It brought up a May 24, 2017 article in the Daily Beast that showed potential connections between MacArthur’s investments and voting back in the days of the fight over repealing and replacing Obamacare.

In an article titled “Pro-Trump Republicans Owned Millions in Health Care Stock,” reporter Justin Glawe wrote, “Among the influential members with significant investments is Rep. Thomas MacArthur of New Jersey, who held between $834,000 and $2.3 million in health-care investments in 2015. MacArthur made between $142,000 and $472,000 in capital gains and dividends on those investments, according to his disclosure forms.

“MacArthur authored an amendment to the AHCA (American Health Care Act) that allows insurance companies to deny coverage to some people with pre-existing conditions. The amendment won over critical support from the right-wing Freedom Caucus, allowing the bill to narrowly pass the House. MacArthur ranks seventh among the 40 AHCA supporters who owned the most health-care stock.”

End Citizens United followed up with another blistering statement, based on a recent Star-Ledger editorial that blasted MacArthur for not having held a town hall meeting for just a few days short of an entire year, while instead holding high-priced fundraisers featuring the likes of Trump administration budget director Mick Mulvaney and President Trump’s campaign manager and spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway.

“MacArthur, who was named to End Citizens United’s Big Money 20 list last December, consistently does the bidding of special interests and mega-donors who fill his campaign coffers,” read an End Citizens United statement. “His opponent, Andy Kim, is rejecting all corporate PAC money and proving that he’s accountable to New Jersey families – not special interests.”

Expect MacArthur’s campaign to fire back. Russell has a long record of attacking Democratic candidates in the harshest terms.  —R.M.

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