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

you're killing me smallsad screencapFederal auditors are reportedly 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 scandal, 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).

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

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    The sudden and recent leaks and scrutiny of Christie seems way too coincidental.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Journalists, auditors and legislative oversight suddenly doing their job and you want to bitch and moan?

  • ||

    Did I bitch and moan? I merely observed and whinged a little. In fact, it was really just a noting. I noted it. Happy now?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    What do you think is going on Epi?

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure his affair with your mom is going to come out soon, which will mean it's an orchestrated campaign against him. By your mom.

    Or somebody with some power, connections, and knowledge doesn't like Christie very much.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "Or somebody with some power, connections, and knowledge doesn't like Christie very much."

    That's my Mom!

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Clantons?

  • GILMORE||

    Its because Obamacare is so awesome that newspapers have nearly nothing to write about

  • Loki||

    And it's not like there's been any actual scandals involving President Telepromter that they could be reporting on either. Only a few phony scandals that TEATHUGLIKKKANZ keep wanting to bring up, but those aren't real scandals. If they real, the media would report on them, and since the media isn't reporting on them they must not be real. /derp

  • Paul.||

    The sudden and recent leaks and scrutiny of Christie seems way too coincidental

    The media is confused, they think Christie is a republican.

  • ||

    I knew there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Nice to see Reason getting to this one today.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    YES! Fling those floodgates wide open.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Let's say Christie goes down in flames. Does that leave Paul and Huckabee? Anyone wanna lay odds on that?

  • jester||

    No. It means Paul, Paul and Huckabee. Both Pauls will run. That will confuse the hell out of everyone.

  • GILMORE||

    OMG a politicians wuz a scumbag?

  • SIV||

    I don't know if attacking Chris Christie for his operatic Hurricane Sandy demagoguery is politically astute

    You do now, Matt!

  • Loki||

    Federal auditors are reportedly 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.

    Sounds to me like the money, which was meant to be used on marketing was used on exactly that - marketing. Ads are a form of marketing. Putting himself and his family in the ads is a douche move, but I'm having trouble feeling the outrage on this one. I guess I'm supposed to be outraged that he picked the ad that was $2 million more than the one that didn't include him and his family? Still, as far douchey politician shenanigans go, this seems like pretty weak tea.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I doubt he's going to prison or anything like that, it's just another paper cut, but when your public image is undergoing the death of a thousand cuts, that's how it dies.

    One paper cut at a time.

  • tarran||

    it's just another paper cut, but when your public image is undergoing the death of a thousand cuts, that's how it dies.

    It'll happen soon enough anyway... we're just going to help him along, one staple at a time.

  • Loki||

    I get that the proggie left is making a concerted effort to destroy him, but I don't see this giving too many people the vapors, other than maybe a few who are already TEAM BLUE partisan hacks, and they wouldn't vote for Christie anyway.

    In fact, I could kind see this backfiring. I mean, he's already being flogged in the media for the GWB bridge closure, and it just so happens that now the the inspector general at the Department of Housing decides to launch an investigation? This could easily be viewed as a politically motivated which hunt, which could end up generating some sympathy for him. Not that it should, but it's possible. They should be careful about piling on, especially with petty shit like this. I mean, it's not like he got caught sending whatever the NJ equivalent of the IRS is after political opponents...

  • John||

    And do the Progs think a national conversation on the abuse of executive power is something they really want to have?

    I would love to see Fatso go down over this and the result of that being that media can no longer ignore or lie about a few other abuses.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I lost all interest in him after he got down and kissed Obama's ass in the week before the last presidential election.

    Him and Obama are best buds.

    Screw him!

    The other problem he has is that he's in a blue state. Nobody in the state government is looking to protect him. They've been looking for a way to get rid of him so whoever's running the Democrat machine can get their own guy in there.

    He's a sittin' duck.

    A fat, slow moving, sittin' duck.

  • John||

    He is also an asshole who has made a ton of enemies. That said, the media trying to make this a huge deal after ignoring all of the shit Obama has done is so hypocritical even the low information voters are noticing.

    I bet this blows over.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Federal auditors are reportedly 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."

    Gee I wonder why they aren't investigating all the federal tax money that was used to advertise (i.e. BS partisan cheerleading) Obamacare?

  • plusafdotcom||

    ^that!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, he's made himself a target.

    A big, fat target.

  • R C Dean||

    Slow-moving, too. That counts for a lot.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If I'm a federal bureaucrat, right now, trying to think up new and better ways to justify my budget, I'm lookin' at Christie as a low risk, high publicity target.

    I bet everybody from the Post Office to the Office of Weights and Measures is looking to get in on some of that fatso action. It's New Jersey! How many rocks can you turn over without finding some creepy crawly with the governor's name on it?

  • R C Dean||

    I have a question:

    Why do you need a marketing campaign for emergency disaster relief?

    Targeted communications within the disaster area, sure, but to me that's not a marketing campaign, that's a communications strategy. Totes different.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, it might as well be a campaign ad.

  • Paul.||

    Now you're catching on.

  • John||

    Fatso is saying the WH approved the ad.

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/01.....re-tv-ads/

    Find it hard to believe they would say that without proof. If the WH approved the ad, I don't see how this is much of a scandal.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, John!

    Fatso and Obama are in bed together doin' something wrong?

    You don't think a scandal involving Obama is worth pursuing?

    Who are you, and what have you done with John?

  • John||

    If the best you got is wasting FEMA money, you might as well have evidence Fatso and Obama were speeding at the Indy 500.

    I have no doubt FEMA approved the commercials as a valid use of the money. And for that reason I don't see how this goes anywhere.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's no such thing as good, scandal publicity.

    Not when you're a candidate for president.

    Not when you're a president.

    If I can find someone to say that Obama's pal Christie cheated on his Cub Scout hiking badge, I'd take it at this point.

  • ||

    Well, for fuck's sake they spent money from the stimulus funds on road signs saying "this road paid for the by american recovery and reinvestment act".

    How is spending Sandy money on ads really any different.

    What I'm curious about is what Chris Christie did to get on Obama's shit list so soon.

    I suppose that once the election was over he was no longer useful....

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Fatso and Obama are in bed together doin' something wrong?

    Next media meme:

    FATSO is trying to corrupt lord Obama.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Is today the first day you heard about our federal government?

    HUD approved the ads, now they are investigating impropriety of making ads they approved of. It is just like following IRS guidelines and being audited for following them.

  • ||

    I guess the White House is paying him back for throwing Romney under the bus in 2012.

  • Ken Shultz||

    +1000

  • Ken Shultz||

    Like I said at the time, if a guy like Christie didn't get something in exchange for effectively endorsing Obama on national television a week before the election? then Christie is the dumbest politician in the history of New Jersey.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    His predecessor who misplaced $1.2 billion in customers' funds is still ahead in that particular competition. But Christie is giving him a run for his, er, money.

  • Almanian!||

    I'm more outraged that any money was allocated for "advertising/communication" at all, much less that fat ass's family was in one of the ads.

    Jesus Christ, I love when then media makes its Journohitlist-ism so obvious.

    "Time to get the fat kid!" I'm not a fan, but Jesus Fucking AntiChrist....

  • Almanian!||

    PS And back up one more step - "I'm outraged that I and other taxpayers had to pay for the East coast to get printed money to pay for Sandygeddon relieg...."

    Cause I think that was on the states, not the feds, and I don't agree in FEMA, etc. So, kind of SLD...

  • ||

    It's a shame Chris Penn died so early, he could have played a perfect Chris Christie in the next HBO movie they make about a presidential election.

  • John Aronson||

    John Candy would have done better, I think.

  • RishJoMo||

    lol, the only thing Christie cares about is where the next batch of cheeseburgers is coming in.

    www.Planet-Anon.tk

  • Jayburd||

    A picture of a traffic jam on a bridge, morph to the fat fuck walking down the beach with his family. You fill in the voice-over for the attack ad in the primary, something like this- "Come visit New Jersey, if our Governor hasn't closed a bridge to get back at his opponents."

  • ||

    And isn't it a coincidence that there happened to be a fire on the Atlantic City boardwalk, in which nobody was harmed, just when the Sandy money was about to run out?

    Of course, that was traced to electrical wiring damaged by the hurricane. I'm sure the state inspectors did a thorough and professional job.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Funny how all things work together for the good of those in charge.

  • Pulseguy||

    So it has begun. The Press, along with the Federal bureaucracy, will work tirelessly to destroy every Republican...one after another.

    Their error here might be they are going after Christie too soon. If he survives they can't continue to go after him, it will look weak. They should be saving their ammo on the supposedly centrist until after the nomination.

    Clinton, halfway through the nomination process, had a scandal. He sailed through it. His standing was enhanced. That takes some skill and hubris. Christie looks harried, and it is early yet.

  • John Aronson||

    Look on the bright side, the completely unlovable Hilly dealing with a GOP House and Senate where the TP and their libertarian fellow travelers continue gain seats is really a wonderful result.

    The worse result would be a GOP sweep and Christy and his thuggish ways in the White House.

  • Chuckie||

    I'm glad to see the media is finally doing it's job on "Bridgegate", and ignoring Bengahazi, IRS, NSA, and a few others. And I don't see a lot of talk about Hillary and Obama joking about Afghanistan and Iraq being political toys to play with as our soldiers are dying.

    I'm not a Christy fan anyway, so I guess it's OK, isn't it?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement