Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) this afternoon tangled with Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver over the
distribution of funds at the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which Oliver runs.
Serving a district where COVID placed significant strains on businesses, Thompson said politics prioritized other districts at the DCA.
Oliver struck back in a heated exchange.
“Politics do not play a role,” said the lieutenant governor. “I personally have visited small businesses that are in quote Republican districts. That doesn’t work over here at 101 South Broad street and you can swear me under oath on a stack of Bibles.
Thompson and Oliver served in the Assembly together.
“Senator Thompson, you know I’ve been in the city of Trenton,” she said. “I know people in every one of the districts. I made a commitment to visit every district. I am very, very, very well versed.”
Politics is the last thing guiding her, she said, suggesting that Thompson’s staff failed to approach her office.
“You did say you have visited all 40 legislative districts,” said the Middlesex-based Republican senator. “I guess I wasn’t invited. We know you did not design the programs. Staff did. Many people are eligible to apply; major portions of districts couldn’t apply.”
Oliver’s staff pushed back, noting that only some impoverished communities apply for the funds in question.
“Whoever wrote it, they did a really nice job, maybe I’ll hire them as my speechwriter,” Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-36) snapped at Thompson, citing his list of complaints with the DCA’s oversight.
Oliver doubled down.
“I can certainly point out to misappropriation of monies in a prior administration,” she told Thompson. “I know what time of year it is. There has been no misuse of CARES Act funding.”