| William Palatucci |
Westfield, New Jersey
New Jersey Republican politician. White House Transition Coordinator for the Donald Trump presidential campaign.
William J. Palatucci is an American attorney, Republican National Committeeman and New Jersey Apportionment Commission. Palatucci was the White House Transition Coordinator for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, and the General Counsel to the presidential transition before being terminated from this position on November 10, 2016.
Palatucci has served as the Finance Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, was a senior advisor for the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. He has also worked for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. He retains a close personal and professional association with Governor Chris Christie, serving as the Chairman of Christie's 2013 re-election campaign and Co-Chair of his Inaugural Committee in 2014 and 2010. He serves as counsel to the Leadership Matters for America PAC.
Palatucci serves on the Board of Visitors of the Seton Hall University School of Law and the National Advisory Board for the Rutgers University Heldrich Center, as well as the chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Phoenix.
Halfway Home Controversy
Palatucci was a senior executive for Community Education Centers (CEC), a nonprofit organization that operates halfway homes across the country.
In his role as a senior executive, he lobbied for the Center to have increased state aid. Ultimately the inmates were being diverted from entering public prisons where stricter restraints would prevent attacks and assaults by escaped inmates, according to a lawsuit. In 2012 a lawsuit by law enforcement unions violations of state law by placing county inmates into the care of Palatucci’s nonprofit. The county which filed the lawsuit was Essex County which is led by County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, a democrat ally whom endorsed Christie’s reelection. Community Education Centers came under scrutiny for avoiding pay-to-play laws through its shell company, Education and Health Centers of America. The avoidance of such regulations led to the Essex awarding Community Education Centers a county contract.
In 2011 New Jersey's state comptroller issued a report highlighting that about half of the state's $62M half-way home contracts were held by Education and Health Centers of America. Although laws requiring that such programs be non-profit, CEC's contracts were paid to its for-profit by using its political connections. It is believed that the agreement to allow the for-profit to operate was struck either between Palatucci or Chris Christie. In 2010 CEC's political contributions were at $110,000.
A New York Times investigation uncovered Palatucci’s lobbying efforts by Palatucci on behalf of Community Education Centers. In 2010 Governor Christie’s budget increased funding for halfway homes, increases as large as $3.1M.
Assaults in the halfway homes led to lawsuits, one which arose from an inmate being strangled to death. Derek West Harris was murdered by three other inmates, highlighting the dangers that continued at Community Education Center’s Essex County facility known as Delaney Hall. Harris’s murder led to an investigation by Essex County which ultimately decided not to press any charges.