By: Jeffrey Gold
Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s re-election campaign has dropped its request to get the operator of Giants Stadium to provide it with Bruce Springsteen tickets for a fundraiser event this weekend.
The turnaround comes after The Record in Bergen County, N.J., reported that the senator’s campaign planned to purchase premium tickets for Sunday’s Springsteen concert for $108 apiece, then give them to supporters who donate $1,500 or more to the Democrat’s campaign fund.
New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority spokesman John Samerjan said the price was the face value of the tickets and they were in the first-tier ring. He said the authority typically holds some of its tickets for VIPs.
Ticket Web sites reviewed by The Associated Press show seats in that section available for about $400.
Campaign spokeswoman Julie Roginsky said the authority had agreed to sell a block of tickets but that the campaign decided to rescind its request after the authority expressed concern about the practice.
“The campaign is also asking the sports authority to re-examine its practice of reserving tickets, in order to ensure that its tickets are available to all New Jersey residents, not just to VIPs,” Roginsky said in a statement.
Samerjan said the request had been approved but was “under review.” He said the authority would review its policy.
Samerjan said he did not know how many tickets the authority typically reserves for its own use, but said that as promoter of the Springsteen appearance, the agency had more tickets than usual.
Sunday’s show is the first of three dates at the Meadowlands for The Boss during his “Magic” tour with the E Street Band. None have sold out, Samerjan said.
Election law officials had no immediate comment.
New Jersey’s anti-scalping law does not apply to charities and political organizations, said Jeffrey Lamm, a spokesman for the state Division of Consumer Affairs. The law bars ticket brokers or season ticket holders from charging more than 50 percent above the face value.
Lautenberg’s Republican adversary for the Senate seat, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, quoted several Springsteen lyrics and song titles to tweak his opponent in a statement, at one point saying, “His fat-cat contributors will have to be dancing in the dark with sad eyes as they recall the glory days of free tickets and backroom deals.”
Zimmer on Wednesday asked that state Comptroller Matthew Boxer and state Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper to investigate Lautenberg’s actions and determine who was involved. Their offices declined to comment on Zimmer’s request.
State Republican Committee Chairman Tom Wilson said the Lautenberg request “smacks of politics as usual.”
“Senator Lautenberg has the responsibility to help obtain federal funding for the rail connection to and road improvements around the Meadowlands,” Wilson said. “His request for a special favor from the NJSEA to help his campaign looks like an old fashioned quid pro quo.”