Murphy toughens rule on disclosing gifts as N.J. governor

Phil Murphy gives his address after being sworn in as governor of New Jersey during his inauguration, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Trenton, N.J.

A day after his swearing in, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy toughened the rule on accepting gifts as governor. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has tightened the rules on disclosing gifts from personal friends

Murphy Wednesday signed an executive order that makes a change in the governor’s code of conduct.

“The most meaningful tweak — and this is one that I think is important — is a very bright-line distinction between pre-existing relationships and folks that we’ve met in a political context,” he said.

If Murphy were friends with someone at least three years before his inauguration, he would not have to disclose the gifts given him.

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But anyone he met since then would be subject to complete disclosure of gifts valued above the $390 limit set by federal rules.

“If we knew you before Jan. 16, 2015, you’re in a different category than if we‘ve met you since then,” he said. “And if we’ve met you since then, and it’s above that federal limit, it’s going to be subject to complete 100 percent transparency and disclosure.”

Former Gov. Chris Christie was criticized for saying he was friends with the king of Jordan and the Dallas Cowboys owner so he did not have to disclose the costs of a family vacation in Jordan and the costs of attending Cowboys games paid by Jerry Jones.

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