Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chris Christie: So Many Scandals, It's Hard To Keep Track

Yesterday we learned that Governor Chris Christie - the public official who canceled a much needed rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey because it would cost taxpayers too much money - overspent on trips more than any other U.S. attorney in 2007 and 2008 when he worked for the Bush Department of Justice.

According to the Newark Star Ledger:

When he was the state's top federal lawman, Gov. Chris Christie spent more money than allowed by regulations more often than any other U.S. attorney in the country during 2007 and 2008, according to a report issued today.

Neither Christie nor the four other U.S. attorneys criticized was named. But, an independent online news site that chronicles the goings on at the U.S. Justice Department, reported that Christie is apparently "U.S. Attorney C."

The report by the department's Inspector General's office said U.S. Attorney C "was the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government rate without adequate justification. The U.S. Attorney provided insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification for 14 of 23 trips (61 percent) that exceeded the government rate."

So now that U.S. Attorney C is Governor C, all of a sudden he has concerns about overspending on things like rail tunnels or school budgets, but back when he was U.S. Attorney C, he spent taxpayer money like he was Reginald Van Gleason on the town.

I know what you're thinking - what a hypocrite!

And you're right - Chris Christie is one big ass hypocrite.

But if you've followed Christie's career even just a little, you know that there is nothing new in Christie having one set of rules for himself and one set of rules for everybody else.

He was accused of buying his U.S. attorney job by giving $350,000 in campaign donations to George W. Bush.

Then, when the Bush administration was preparing a list of U.S. attorneys to fire for not playing political ball with the administration and using their offices for political gain for the GOP, Christie's office leaked the news that Rep. Bob Menendez might be indicted on corruption charges.

The leak was intended to harm Menendez's chances at winning a seat to the U.S. Senate and harm the Democrats' chances of taking over the Senate from Republicans in 2006. Indeed, Dems did win the Senate back that year, but a Menendez loss would have kept the Senate in GOP control.

Magically, after the Menendez leak, Christie was not fired by the Bush administration, though nine other U.S. attorneys were. Corruption charges were never filed against Menendez by either Christie or the Department of Justice.

It seemed that the "scandal" had been created out of the ether by U.S. Attorney C to make the Bush administration and the RNC happy. And it worked.

Christie hasn't been above engaging in shady business deals or using his political office for personal gain or to help friends and colleagues either.

He was even asked to testify before Congress about some of those deals:

Congressional Democrats today said they have invited Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie to testify at a hearing next week on reforming corporate fraud settlements like the one that allowed Christie to award a lucrative monitoring contract to his former boss, ex-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-8th Dist.) and Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) said they plan to appear May 19 before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, which is reviewing a bill they introduced to reform the process of deferred prosecution agreements.


Last month, Pallone and Pascrell re-introduced legislation they first crafted last year, which led to a hearing where Ashcroft testified but Christie did not. At the time, Christie said he would not testify unless directed to do so by the Justice Department, which sent another prosecutor instead. He would not say today whether he would require a subpoena to testify this time.

Pallone and Pascrell said their bill would create an open and competitive process for the selection of corporate monitors and avoid sweetheart deals. The legislation would require disclosure of monitors' compensation, and allow judges to choose the monitors from a pre-approved pool, they said.


Christie has recently been targeted for criticism over his choices of monitors, including Ashcroft and David Kelley, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 2007, Christie chose them and three other attorneys to perform 18 months of oversight of major orthopedic implant companies accused of violating federal anti-kickback laws.

Ashcroft was chosen to monitor one of the companies, Zimmer Inc., in a contract worth as much as $52 million. Kelley was chosen to monitor Biomet Inc., but no contract value has been disclosed.

Kelley investigated a 2005 stock fraud case involving 20 traders, including Christie's brother, Todd Christie. Fifteen were indicted; Todd Christie and four others were not.

And of course, who can ever forget the day Christie hit a guy with his car while driving the wrong way, then managed to get away from the scene without even getting a ticket:

Adding to Chris Christie's campaign trail headaches over his driving record, officials in Elizabeth confirmed tonight the Republican gubernatorial candidate was in a traffic accident that injured a motorcyclist in the city in 2002.

Christie, then the U.S. attorney, was on his way to the swearing-in of the Union County prosecutor and was not issued a ticket for the July 26, 2002 incident, Police Director James Cosgrove said.


Christie was driving a rented BMW sedan and apparently had lost his way when he attempted to turn right onto a street that was one-way in the other direction, according to the police report. A motorcyclist, Andre Mendonca of Elizabeth, was riding towards Christie, and both men saw one another and put on the brakes, police said. Christie's vehicle came to a stop, and the motorcycle then "fell on its side and slid into his vehicle," according to the police report.

Mendonca was taken by ambulance to University Hospital in Newark, Cosgrove said. He said he did not know the extent of Mendonca's injuries or "the seriousness of the condition." Mendonca could not be reached for comment tonight.

When an officer arrived at the scene, Christie explained what happened and said he was on his way to the swearing-in ceremony of Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow, Cosgrove said.

"He did identify himself as U.S. attorney," Cosgrove said.

Christie's car was towed from the scene, and Christie was allowed to continue on to the swearing-in event, which was about eight or 10 blocks from the scene of the accident, Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove said it was up to the investigating officer to decide whether to ticket Christie. The officer, who did not witness the accident, opted not to issue a ticket, Cosgrove said.

"The officer has a lot of discretion at that point," Cosgrove said. "He could've issued a summons in that case, but he did not."

Asked whether Christie's job title factored into the officer's decision, Cosgove said, "I don't think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves."

The facts sure do speak for themselves.

Chris Christie is a bully, a hypocrite and a crook.

He has used his political offices for his personal gain.

He has harmed people and never taken responsibility for his actions.

He blames other people for his mistakes (see the Race to the Top/Bret Schundler fiasco in which Christie lied publicly about the mistake HE made which cost New Jersey $400 million in RttT funds.)

He lectures teachers and government workers about taking pay and pension cuts while he has abused the public trust and overspent on himself with taxpayer money.

Somehow Christie has become a folk hero within the GOP, but even a simple Google search turns up a plethora of scandals that make this guy worthy of a jail cell next to all those Jersey politicians who got arrested in 2009, not a statue in Trenton, appearances on Oprah, or a possible presidential candidacy in 2012.

UPDATE: A new poll shows Christie's approval soaring from 33% back in April to 51% today.

Let's see if that approval continues when you have stories about Christie overspending on himself with taxpayer money while lecturing others about fiscal prudence.


  1. The anti-Christie crowd sounds a lot like the old Bush screechers (Haliburton! No Blood for Oil! etc etc).
    By New Jersey standards he is a remarkable tax cutter and remarkably scandal-free!
    As a matter of fact the two odd car incidents pale next to the Corzine car accident caper! this is not to say two wrings make a right but let's keep things in perspective: New Jersey was careening towards bankruptcy with a freespending system and an overtaxed (and fleeing) electorate.

  2. Did you read the story released yesterday about Christie overspending 61% of the time on himself when he was U.S. attorney?

    Do you really think he's not STILL doing that as governor?

    So far, the bluster is working - his approval is up. But the pattern of lying and dishonesty - from how he handled the RttT fiasco when he blamed Schundler and lied in public about the mess to the overspending as U.S. attorney - is clear.

    But you enjoy him as your gov, anon.

  3. What about when Christie paid $40,000 in hush money to his "gumaz"?