New Jersey’s Republican State Senators are signaling concern with Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Matt Platkin to serve as the state’s next Attorney General.
North Jersey Republicans, including State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24), State Sens. Kristin Corrado (R-40), and Michael Doherty (R-23), area reserving judgement on Platkin as they call for a more thorough examination of his role as an advisor to Murphy as a candidate and governor.
Murphy nominated Platkin to the role, which would become effective Feb. 14, after he had served the Murphy Administration as Chief Counsel between January 2018 and October 2020.
Concerns with Pandemic Leadership
Oroho and Corrado claimed Platkin’s role with the Murphy Administration helped to expand the use of emergency powers during the pandemic, with Oroho arguing Platkin provided direct counsel on the matter.
“[Platkin] is obviously a very smart guy, but he shouldn’t expect a free pass to avoid the scrutiny a nominee for Attorney General deserves,” Oroho said.
Rule by Executive Order
Corrado said she was concerned Platkin had advised Murphy “to govern by executive order and overbearing mandates for the past two years.”
“On emergency powers, we need someone who shares the views of New Jerseyans that it’s time for Governor Murphy to give it back,” commented Corrado.
Additionally, Doherty argued, to the best of his knowledge, Platkin did not have direct experience in law enforcement in any capacity, nor did he have any experience in criminal justice as a prosecutor.
“I’m not sure being a close associate of Governor Murphy is enough to qualify him to lead the largest and most important law enforcement department in New Jersey. We’re looking forward to having that discussion with him,” he said.
Issues with Sexual Misconduct
Oroho noted the nomination was especially concerning due to the nominee’s role in the handling of Katie Brennan’s alleged sexual assault case.
“We have extremely serious concerns about Matt’s handling of Katie Brennan’s allegations of sexual assault and the guidance he provided Governor Murphy as chief counsel on the use of emergency powers during the pandemic,” said the Sussex County lawmaker.
In a tweet, Brennan, who served on Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign and was at the center of investigation of a sexually assault accusation of a fellow campaign worker, said the decision was “deeply disappointing” and sent a “terrible message to the survivors of sexual violence.”
“New Jersey deserves an AG representing the highest standards of ethics and the legal profession. We can do better,” she wrote.