Give me 10 Hail Marys and some good advice


Give me 10 Hail Marys and some good advice

Last June, The Auditor described how the New Jersey Catholic Conference, which is the lobbying arm of the state’s bishops, went to one of Trenton’s higher powers and hired him as a lobbyist.

It cost the church more than the contents of a few collection plates to pay the lobbying firm of Dale Florio, Princeton Public Affairs.

The bishops’ group, which already has an in-house lobbyist, paid Florio’s firm $60,097 in 2013, according to reports filed this month with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

But that wasn’t all. The bishops also hired the lobbying firm of Donald Sico last year, paying it $17,500.

Patrick Brannigan, the staff lobbyist for the bishops, said Florio’s firm was hired to fight bills that would extend the statute of limitations for civil sex abuse cases and allow doctors to write lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients. His advice was also sought on advancing a bill to create a school voucher-like system.

Brannigan said Sico was hired to lobby against same-sex marriage, or as Brannigan put it, “on supporting marriage between a man and a woman.”