Feds Investigating Chris Christie for Spending Federal Post-Sandy Marketing Aid on Tourism Ad That Featured Him and His Family

you're killing me smallsFederal auditors are
investigating the state government of New Jersey’s
use of $25 million in post-Sandy federal aid meant for marketing on
ads that featured Governor Chris Christie and his family. In a
press release
last summer
highlighted by CNN, local congressman Frank Pallone
complained that he “fought hard for passage of the Sandy aid
package in Congress by assuring our colleagues that this funding
was critical to our recovery,” calling on the inspector general at
the Department of Housing to investigate how the contract was
awarded for the tourism ads. The winning contract, Pallone argued,
was $2 million more expensive than an alternative that didn’t
include the Christie family in the planned commercial. Like
Christie’s lane closures at the GWB
, this one isn’t just about him either.

Were Christie able to produce an actual traffic study, in the
absence of records of incriminating communications, there would be

nothing wrong
with the state of New Jersey causing a multi-lane
closure and massive traffic delay on the busiest bridge in the
world. Here, the scandal isn’t just that Christie may have favored
a contractor who wanted to put the spotlight on him in ads about
the Jersey shore, or even that elected officials put themselves in
ads on the taxpayer’s dime all the time, but that federal
money sent to New Jersey and other states under the pretense of
being critical to recovery and something the states could not (or
didn’t want to?) fund themselves is OK to spend on ads urging
people in New Jersey itself and nearby states to go visit the
shore. Pallone’s letter to the HUD IG mentions that the Department
issued an actual waiver to the state of New Jersey. The waiver
allowed the state government to spend $25 million in absolutely
necessary disaster aid, that supporters claimed only cold-hearted
ne’er-do-wells could dare to oppose or even ask how it would be
paid for, on tourism marketing.

Rand Paul, among a few others in Congress,
questioned the blank-check-like
request for federal money that
came after Hurricane Sandy and Buzzfeed notes in a compilation of
Rand Paul videos that that skepticism extended to the $25 million
spent on Christie ads during an election season (New Jersey voted
for governor in 2013, the year after Sandy).

and Christie
don’t have much in common, but are both expected to make runs for
the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.   

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1iJI3OB

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