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Thread: The 2016 Presidential Race

  1. #46

    Default 15 Chris CHristie Controversies You missed.

    Begininnig to look a bit Nixonian here...

    15 Chris Christie Controversies You Missed

    The GWB scandal wasn’t the governor’s first dip in hot water.
    January 09, 2014

    Democrats in New Jersey have been celebrating what you might call Chris Christiemas this week. When documents were released strongly suggesting that senior members of Governor Christie’s staff were behind the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Fort Lee, the Gov’s ideological opponents breathed a sigh of relief. Christie’s unrivaled political skill and, as Matt Katz outlined here in November, ability to drive a narrative of his choosing, have meant that until now, The Story of Chris Christie As Told By The National Media is one that Christie has largely written himself. As one New Jersey Democratic strategist told me, “the press had basically inaugurated him already.” But Christie’s political career has been riddled with controversies big and small, most of which have been paid little attention by those outside the Garden State. And while perhaps none of these kerfuffles placed anyone in imminent danger quite like Bridgegate did, at least a few of them might have spelled the end of another, less media savvy politician’s career.

    1. Using inflated cost estimates to justifying canceling the ARC tunnel

    Christie has caused traffic before. The Access to the Region’s Core tunnel was a commuter rail project that would have more than doubled the number of trains from New Jersey to Manhattan, easing congestion on the state’s notorious (especially now) highways. After initially endorsing the project, which could have created an estimated 45,000 permanent jobs and 6,000 temporary construction jobs, Christie changed his mind. He claimed that cost estimates for the tunnel had grown to as much as $14 billion. Except, they didn’t. The cost estimates for the project had remained unchanged in the two years before Christie cancelled it.

    2. Lending nearly $50,000 to aide who helped his campaign

    When Jon Corzine’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign requested public records from Christie’s time as prosecutor, we learned a lot about his lavish spending habits. We also learned about Christie’s generosity: He lent $46,000 to Michele Brown, a top aide in the prosecutor’s office. Christie denied that Brown had done anything to help his gubernatorial campaign, but she had—pushing for a series of high-profile arrests to be made before Christie left his post as U.S. attorney so that he would receive full credit on the campaign trail. Brown now serves as CEO of the Economic Development Authority in Christie’s administration.

    3. Handing out a no-bid contract after Sandy

    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Christie awarded a $150 million no-bid contract to AshBritt, a Florida-based firm. Just days after the deal was done, AshBritt donated $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association, of which Christie was then vice chairman.

    4. A corrupt Christie ally let off the hook, inexplicably

    When a county sheriff was accused of hiring deputies without background checks who then manufactured fake police badges for a “prominent donor to Gov. Chris Christie,” the indicted undersheriff wasn’t worried. He assured an aide that Christie would “have this whole thing thrown out.” Not long after that, the indictments were killed, by someone.

    5. Taxpayer funded “town halls”

    Chris Christie is sort of like the Kate Upton of politics, in that his rise to prominence can be partly attributed to his presence on YouTube. Many of Christie’s Greatest YouTube Hits are videos of him, uh, connecting with voters at his town halls, which more often seem to double as campaign events. The problem? The taxpayers are footing the bill, including more than $12,000 for flags, lighting and other equipment.

    6. Reckless driving

    In 2002, driving a rented BMW Sedan, U.S. Attorney Christie injured a motorcyclist when he tried to turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. He was not issued a traffic ticket, despite his less-than-stellar driving record, which includes at least six accidents and 13 moving violations.

    7. Reckless spending on being driven

    After taking the hint that driving is perhaps not his greatest skill, U.S. Attorney Christie took a limo roundtrip between Newark and Atlantic City. The cost? $700.

    8. Taxpayer-funded helicopter rides

    In 2011, Christie sailed down from the skies and onto a baseball field (where his son was about to play) in a State Police helicopter. The 55-foot chopper cost taxpayers $12.5 million. A spokesman for the Gov said it was to be used “occasionally … as the schedule demands.” What was on Christie’s schedule for that day? No public events. Just a private dinner with Iowa Republican donors.

    9. Shoddy oversight of halfway houses where prisoners escaped, murdered

    Crowded prisons strain state budgets, so some states, like New Jersey, try to cut costs by handing over inmates to privately run halfway houses. A great idea! … Unless prisoners begin to escape in droves, which they did. More than 1,000 prisoners escaped in Christie’s first 29 months in office. One of those escapees murdered a young woman. Also, the company that received the bulk of the halfway house money? Its senior vice president is Christie’s close friend and political adviser, William Palatucci.

    10. Staying in Disney World during blizzard

    As New Jersey attempted to shovel its way out of 31 inches of snow in December 2010, Christie remained on vacation in sunny Florida, leaving others to deal with the mess in his state. Christie’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, was away too—in Mexico—so New Jersey residents were pretty much on their own.

    11. Starring in publicly funded tourism ads

    In 2013, an election year for Christie, it was difficult to turn on a television without being confronted by “Stronger Than The Storm,” an ad featuring a maudlin jingle and the governor and his family. The 30-second spot highlighted Christie’s leadership in bringing his state together in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and arguably served as his best campaign ad. Unfortunately, that spot and others like it were paid for using federal grant money from the $60 million Sandy relief package, and it later came out that in selecting the ad agency that wanted to feature his family, the Christie administration spent $2 million more than necessary.

    12. Lavish hotel stays

    U.S. Attorney Christie was known as the one “who most often exceeded the government rate without adequate justification” when traveling on the job. Out of 23 trips, he exceeded the rate 14 times by staying at places like the Four Seasons in Washington.

    13. A payday of over $52 million for an old boss

    As U.S. attorney, Christie settled a probe into kickbacks by knee and hip replacement manufacturers for a cool $311 million. Christie selected former Attorney General John Ashcroft, his old boss, to monitor the manufacturers, for which Ashcroft’s D.C.-based consulting firm received $52 million of the settlement.

    14. Betting on a casino with public funds

    Christie offered $261 million in tax incentives to Revel Casino in Atlantic City so the company could complete construction after Morgan Stanley abandoned the project. Two years later, Revel filed for bankruptcy.

    15. Pulling a Daily Caller on Menendez before there was a Daily Caller

    Long before The Daily Caller published bogus claims that United States Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was paying for prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie was initiating (allegedly) bogus probes into Menendez. In 2006, Christie launched an investigation into Menendez over his involvement with a nonprofit community group he reportedly helped get federal grants. Nothing came of the investigation. So why did it happen? It couldn’t have had anything to do with the fact that Christie was on the chopping block, and he needed to save face with George W. Bush, the man who held his fate as U.S. attorney in his hands.
    Olivia Nuzzi (@OliviaNuzzi) is a political writer based in New York.

    Read more:

  2. #47

    Default And than there is this from Slate - Even More Nixonian In Nature

    For those inclined, the Chris Christie omnishambles presents an almost infinite number of damaging angles. Today's best comes from Alec MacGillis, who was bothered by Christie's strangely (but characteristic!) assertion that he did not really know disgraced aide David Wildstein in high school. "We didn't travel in the same circles in high school," said Christie, humblebragging. "You know, I was the class president and athlete."

    David Weigel

    Au contraire: MacGillis talked to Tony Hope, the former coach of the school's baseball team, who remembers Christie as a player and Wildstein as the team statistician. Strange that this needed to be confirmed at all -- put it, like the "traffic study" that couldn't have possibly existed, in the category of facts Christie had to have known already.

    That's the thing about this story -- it changes the way Christie gets talked about. When he was easily winning re-election, these stories were the irrelevant screeching of losers. Now that he's in trouble, people want to hear the stories. Such as:

    1) Shutting down a postpartum depression funding program developed by a predecessor. Former acting Gov. Richard Codey, who served between the resignation of Jim McGreevey and the ill-starred Jon Corzine administration, tells Salon that his wife actually worked on the program, and Christie surely ended it out of spite: "Absolutely, positively, unequivocally yes."

    2-16) Listed here by Olivia Nuzzi, there's no great point in repeating them all. But the highlights are probably the mysterious disappearance of a pro-Christie sherrif's 43 indictments, and the investigation of Sen. Bob Menendez, during his Senate campaign, that came to nothing.

    17) Cancelling Richard Codey's security detail after having a public argument with him over court nominees.

    18) Using his line-item veto to cut political science funding for a program at Rutgers, after the program's director voted down a GOP redistricting plan.

    19) Avoiding any mention of climate change in the state's Hurricane Sandy relief research and updates -- the local Sierra Club pins this on the Christie administration.

    What else?


  3. #48


    Every single one of them has controversy. Nobody's hands are completely clean, even the ever-worshipped Ms. Hillary. But those who hate Christie want so desperately for him to have given the order. That's why this has blown up as big as it has, and if he wasn't a rich white fat Republican, there wouldn't have been as much venom.

    Btw for a guy who repeatedly refuses to talk about whether he'll run or not, why wasn't this story put in the Chris Christie thread?

  4. #49
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
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    Clifton, NJ


  5. #50


    Quote Originally Posted by mariab View Post
    Btw for a guy who repeatedly refuses to talk about whether he'll run or not, why wasn't this story put in the Chris Christie thread?
    Christie's entire 2014 gubernatorial campaign was crafted as a 2016 run for the presidency.

    That's why this Bridgegate happened. With a lock on reelection, why else would he care about endorsements from a couple of mayors? The narrative was that if Christie could cross party lines and bring everyone together in NJ, he could do it nationally.

    But the way he brought them together was by making them afraid for their jobs. The flaw is that when you operate that way and something goes wrong, you find out you have few friends to help you. Maybe there's some over-reaction (not my opinion), but it's classic what goes around comes around.

    EDIT: If you're not convinced...

    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; January 10th, 2014 at 05:59 PM.

  6. #51
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    It's starting to look like this wasn't about election endorsements, but rather connected to the ongoing fight over the NJ State Supreme Court ...

    Rachel Maddow Has an Alternate Theory of Christie’s “Bridgegate” Scandal

    Maybe it wasn’t the mayor’s endorsement that triggered the traffic problems, after all.

    Philadelphia Magazine
    January 10, 2014

    Huffington Post sums up Maddow, who suggests that the traffic shutdown may have been payback against Democrats who were blocking Christie’s nominations to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

    By last August, Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, a Republican, was up for renomination. When state Senate Democrats signaled they would challenge Christie’s nomination, the governor said he wouldn’t renominate Hoens.

    “I simply could not be party to the destruction of Helen Hoens’s professional reputation,” Christie said during an August press conference. “I was not going to let her loose to the animals.”

    As Maddow pointed out, the press conference was the evening before Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, sent an email requesting “traffic problems in Fort Lee” to David Wildstein, one of Christie’s top aides at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

    What’s more, Fort Lee is represented by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the state Senate Democratic leader.

    “Roughly 12 hours after Gov. Christie blows up at the Senate Democrats and torpedoes the career of a Supreme Court justice who he likes … the leader of those ‘animals’ in the Senate sees her district get the order of destruction from Gov. Christie’s deputy chief of staff,” Maddow concluded.

    If this theory pans out, does it make Bridgegate worse? Or is it already bad enough for Christie?

  7. #52


    Quote Originally Posted by mariab View Post
    Every single one of them has controversy. Nobody's hands are completely clean, even the ever-worshipped Ms. Hillary. But those who hate Christie want so desperately for him to have given the order. That's why this has blown up as big as it has, and if he wasn't a rich white fat Republican, there wouldn't have been as much venom.
    I think the reason it blew up is simpler than that. His administration arranged for lane closures that resulted in extreme inconvenience and dangerous circumstances for tens of thousands of innocent tax payers. And they did it to teach someone a lesson.

    It is not that he is rich and white. It is that his administration showed an utter lack of regard and indeed supreme contempt and indifference to the health and welfare of the people they are paid to serve. It is abuse of power of the highest order.

    As to Christie himself, his reputation is that of a top-down, command driven, hands-on manager, leading the press and the public to legitimately wonder how involved he was in the decision.

    This is worthy of the scrutney, investigation, and suspicion it is getting.

  8. #53


    Well, now there are more theories on the lane closures than a Christie bag-o-donuts.

    Steve Kornacki: George Washington Bridge Lane Closure Was About More Than a Traffic Jam

    And we've had a thread on it for four years.

  9. #54
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Oh, Gawd! Now I'm going to have to start following the Jersey real estate stories (instead of clicking them shut as soon as they open).

  10. #55
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jersey City

    Thumbs down Christie and Trenton Have Ax To Grind with JC

    Emails, texts seem to support Fulop's claim that Christie scheduled, canceled meetings after lack of endorsement

    By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on January 14, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Governor Chris Christie and Senator Menendez attend the Mayoral Inauguration of Steven Fulop at City Hall in downtown Jersey City on Monday, July 1, 2013.
    Lauren Casselberry/For The Jersey Journal

    New emails and text messages seem to confirm Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s accusation Gov. Chris Christie’s administration scheduled and then abruptly canceled a series of meetings with the mayor last summer, cancellations Fulop blames on his decision not to endorse the governor’s re‑election bid.

    The documents were made public as Christie continues to defend himself against charges some of his top aides orchestrated the George Washington Bridge lane closures last September as a form of political retaliation, possibly against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

    Fulop has mostly stayed silent on the lane closures, except to say Christie retaliated against him by cutting off access between him and top state officials soon after Fulop became mayor last summer.

    The documents, released after The Jersey Journal filed a public records request last week, include a handful from Bridget Kelly, the deputy chief of staff Christie terminated last week after emails made public show her with a leading role in shutting off local access lanes to the heavily trafficked bridge.

    The new emails show Kelly enthusiastically setting up seven different meetings between state officials and Fulop after he assumed office in July. They also show Fulop’s scheduler, Nancy Warlikowski, emailing the mayor on three dates in late July to tell him the state officials scheduled to meet with him canceled.

    On July 18 at 4:53 p.m., Warlikowski tells Fulop five of the meetings were canceled “within the past hour.”

    “They quoted scheduling conflicts and offered no alternative dates,” the July 18 email from Fulop’s scheduler reads.

    Fulop had been set to meet with state Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff as well as top officials from the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, Department of Transportation, Department of Community Affairs and the Economic Development Authority. Some were intended as introductions between the Christie administration and the new mayor, while Kelly says in one email specific policies and projects may have been discussed.

    The remaining meetings, including one with Bill Baroni, the Port Authority’s deputy executive director who later resigned over the lane closures, were also canceled on July 19 and July 22, the emails released today show.

    The Christie camp courted Fulop for his endorsement, and for months after he was elected mayor on May 14, Fulop refused to wade into the governor’s race. On or before July 18, Fulop’s office said, he indicated he would back Buono instead.

    In an Aug. 18 email from Fulop to Baroni to discuss rescheduling the canceled meeting, Fulop seems to refer to his decision not to endorse Christie. City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said Fulop relayed that decision to the governor’s allies the day state officials canceled all their meetings with him.

    “I am not sure if it is a coincidence that your office cancelled a meeting several weeks back that seemed to be simultaneous to other political conversations elsewhere that were happening,” Fulop writes in the email to Baroni. “Prior to that you were always very responsive and I sincerely hope the two issues are not related as it wouldn’t be in the PA, Jersey City or the residents of the state’s best interest.”

    Fulop’s office contends Baroni never responded to Fulop’s attempts to reschedule. The city never had the meetings in question, according to Morrill.

    “Our administration has sought to operate in a professional and cooperative manner with the Christie administration,” Fulop said in a statement. “Whether cabinet officials meetings, Port Authority lease negotiations or reforming our municipal pension system; it is my hope that state decisions be based on the merits.”

    Christie spokeswoman Colin Reed blasted Fulop in response to yesterday’s document release.

    “Mayor Fulop’s words and actions must be viewed through the lens of partisan politics and his attempt to advance his own personal agenda,” Reed said in a statement. “Fulop’s relationship over time with both the governor and Democrats in the legislature has been inconsistent as he has made clear his future political aspirations.”


    Jersey City pension changes heading to Chris Christie's desk

    By Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on January 13, 2014 at 8:16 PM, updated January 14, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    A bill to trim Jersey City's pension system is on its way to Gov. Chris Christie's desk. (Star-Ledger file photo)

    TRENTON — The hard feelings between Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop appear not to have passed, but the state Senate nevertheless today approved a bill to overhaul the city’s pension system.

    "Last week Mayor Fulop made his 'opinion' about me known,” Sweeney said in a statement. “However, for me this is not about name calling or political revenge. It is about the families, pensioners and taxpayers of Jersey City for whom I am most concerned.”

    The passage came after Fulop – considered a potential rival to Sweeney for governor in 2017 – accused Sweeney of stalling his bill for political reasons.

    Sweeney eventually moved the bill, but not without amending it so that Fulop could not reap the savings from the cutbacks in retiree benefits to use in his general budget. Instead, the bill’s reduction of cost of living adjustments for retirees must be applied to shoring up the pension system, which the Office of Legislative Services says is funded at 42 percent.

    "The Jersey City Pension system's financial strength must be paramount and can not be driven by general operating budget needs or politics,” Sweeney said.

    Today, Fulop said only "I am pleased the Senate has passed our important legislation. Good policy carried the day to the benefit of the Jersey City taxpayers."

    The bill (A4536), which passed 39 to 0, now heads to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

    In addition to reducing cost of living adjustments, the bill would increase the city’s retirement age for new employees from 60 to 65, require them to have 25 years of service under their belts instead of 20 years, increase the amount of time before an employee is eligible to retire early to 30 years from 25 years, and increase the penalties for early retirement.

  11. #56


    So where is Bridget Anne Kelly? She holds a possible direct link between the GWB and Christie through her former boss, Chief of Staff Kevin O'Dowd.

    She has been described as...Loyal Team Player, Not Rogue Operative

    The NY Post however, already has her tried and convicted. They opened their story with...The conniving Christie aide ousted for orchestrating the George Washington Bridge traffic scheme

    Further on...and he isn’t the first man blindsided by the cutthroat blonde, sources said.

    Not content with that, they dug into her personal life...Her husband, Joe — a golf pro at the Mendham Golf & Tennis Club, where Christie and wife Mary Pat are members — was stunned when his wife of 16 years came home in 2011 and announced she wanted a divorce.

    But further on...Neither Joe nor Bridget Kelly could be reached Thursday. So how do they know that Joe was stunned?

    Why, the source of course...“The guy was a wreck. It was completely out of the blue,” a source said.

  12. #57


    Oh Come on. Do you expect actual investigative reporting from the Post?

  13. #58
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    The Boss & Friend, telling it like it is ...

    In the day we sweat it out on the streets, stuck in traffic on the GWB
    They shut down the tollbooths of glory 'cause we didn't endorse Christie.
    Sprung from cages on Highway 9, we got three lanes closed, so Jersey get your ass in line
    Whoa, maybe this Bridgegate was just payback, it's a bitchslap to the state democrats,
    We gotta get out but we can't. We're stuck in Gov. Chris Christie's Fort Lee, N.J. traffic jam.
    Governor, let me in, I wanna be your friend, there'll be no partisan divisions
    Let me wrap my legs 'round your mighty rims and relieve your stressful condition
    You've got Wall Street masters stuck cheek-to-cheek with blue collar truckers, and man, I really gotta take a leak
    But I can't. I'm stuck in Gov. Chris Christie's Fort Lee, N.J. traffic jam
    Highways jammed with pissed off drivers with no place left to go
    And the press conference went on and on, it was longer than one of my own damn shows
    Someday, governor, I don't know when, this will all end, but till then you're killing the working man
    who's stuck in the Gov. Chris Christie Fort Lee, N.J. traffic jam
    Whoa, oh oh oh
    I gotta take a leak
    Whoa, oh oh oh
    I really gotta take a leak
    Whoa, oh oh oh
    Down in Jerseyland

  14. #59


    Happy Subpoena Day.

  15. #60


    The FBI arrived in Jersey City yesterday...just talking to people.

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