Chris Christie has a message that he is desperately trying to communicate to the rest of the country: the enormous scandal in which members of his administration intentionally caused a brutal traffic jam around the world’s most traveled bridge is an isolated incident. He delivers that message around 1:20 of this clip, which was excerpted by his office from his marathon press conference about the bridge scandal:
That is the message that Christie needs to send to the rest of the country if he is going to be a viable candidate for president in 2016. There’s a problem with that claim, however: revenge politics and cronyism have been a regular feature of Christie’s four years in office. Here are three stories Chris Christie doesn’t want you to know:
The Sandy Ad
After Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore, there was an intense rebuilding effort, followed by a campaign to bring people back to the Jersey Shore to give the area a needed economic boost. The federal government provided billions in Sandy relief, and $25 million of that was tagged for economic relief. Of that $25 million, $4.7 million was given to a marketing firm, which produced the ad above, which features Governor Christie.
What’s the problem? The problem is that Governor Christie was in the midst of his reelection campaign, and he was using federal aid money for what could easily double as a political ad. The federal government is looking into this to see if this was a misuse of federal funds.
The detail that may sink Christie is that another firm offered to do an ad campaign for $2 million less, but their proposed ads would not feature Christie, according to CNN. Was the extra $2 million for a better product or because they were offering the Governor a campaign ad paid for by the federal government?
Jersey City Mayor Shutout
Jersey City is the second largest city in New Jersey, and a place where many people who work in New York choose to live, due to the easy access to the PATH train, which zooms straight into downtown Manhattan. The New York Times reported that the Christie administration reached out to Jersey City’s new mayor, Steven Fulop, in May, after Fulop was elected. Christie Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly (who has since been fired over the bridge scandal), reached out to Mayor Fulop to let him know that the Christie administration was happy to help him, and that they would set up a day of meetings in July with Fulop and a number of top state officials.
“We’re looking forward to working closely with you and your administration,” Ms. Kelly wrote to Mayor Fulop . “Some of the conversations may be simple and introductory, while others may focus on actual pending projects and issues.”
Five days before that planned day of meetings, Mayor Fulop informed the Christie administration that he would not be endorsing Christie for reelection. Within an hour, most of the meetings between Fulop and state officials were cancelled, and within a day or two, they all were. When Mayor Fulop tried to reschedule, he was met with silence from the Christie administration. It was blatant political retribution.
Mayor Fulop has quietly pointed to the media coverage about this and the telling emails between himself and the Christie administration (see link above):
Per comments last week. The emails that were requested per public record really speaks to itself during the summer. http://t.co/gV9QRZ6Rkw— Steven (Steve) Fulop (@StevenFulop) January 13, 2014
You Are Entitled To Your Opinion, But Not Your Security Detail
Back in December of 2011, Christie got into a spat with Democratic State Senator Richard Codey over a Christie judicial nomination. They called each other names in the media, making their battle a public affair. At the height of the war on words, Senator Codey had his security detail taken away from him, and two of people close to him in the Christie administration were fired.