(06/15/11) TRENTON - During his 2009 campaign for governor, Steve Lonegan received $2.7 million in matching funds. But a Kane in Your Corner investigation is taking a look at whether he misled state officials to get that money.
Lonegan was the executive director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity. But to obtain the matching funds, he signed forms stating that he did not manage an issue advocacy group. When his opponents challenged that statement, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission ruled in Lonegan's favor. Commissioners believed Lonegan's claims that he was never a manager at AFP, that he only worked for the group's educational foundation, not its political advocacy side, and that he never received any personal benefit from the group.
However, Kane in Your Corner found Lonegan's statements may not have been completely accurate. Americans for Prosperity's tax returns show Lonegan was paid two salaries, one from the educational foundation and another from the political side. Lonegan was also the only person listed on paperwork creating AFP's New Jersey political action committee. And in the three years before the election, the group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in New Jersey, with some of the money going to TV and radio ads featuring Lonegan criticizing then Governor Jon Corzine.