Archive for GOP governors

Investigation #3 for Team Christie: Manhattan district attorney is said to investigate Port Authority

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chris christie schultz i know nothing Manhattan district attorney

Watch out Chris Christie and Co., the Manhattan district attorney is now sniffing around, because apparently they too believe something stinks.

police dog sniffing around animated GIFYes, a third-- count 'em, three!-- team of "seasoned corruption investigators who are most likely focused in large measure on a different set of corruption allegations" is now looking into possible state crimes, as opposed to federal ones.

That's a whole lot of allegations and/or suspicion of corruption, and a whole lot of probes. Call me crazy, but it appears that prosecutors and lawmakers are convinced that something is rotten in Joisey.

Via the New York Times:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed documents from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey concerning a range of the troubled agency’s major construction projects, including several that have come under scrutiny as a result of the politically charged George Washington Bridge lane closings, a person with knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]

This new criminal inquiry opens what is in essence a third investigative front focused on the actions of Mr. Christie and his appointees...

ruh roh smallerIf I were Christie and his pals, I'd be just a tad nervous right now. And by "just a tad" I mean I'd be quaking in my sleazy little boots.

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Even if Chris #Christie skates on #Bridgegate, "his ethics troubles won’t be over."

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ethics

New Jersey Gov. Chris "Cleared and Still Heartbroken" Christie has more ethics issues to deal with. Yes, more. Bet you didn't think that was even possible, did you? Guess again.

This time his problems stem from questionable campaign contributions. Surprise! And by that I mean, not surprised in the least. Words like "secretive" and "little-regulated" popped up in this latest report.

Roll Call has the whole story:

Christie’s complicated relationship with campaign contributors and state contractors, in particular, will draw scrutiny as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential bid. Christie’s donors have a history of gravitating to secretive and little-regulated political groups to promote the GOP governor and his agenda.

These include tax-exempt organizations that spent millions on Christie’s gubernatorial election and re-election campaigns, and that operate outside the disclosure rules. [...]

...Christie’s big backers, who have bankrolled several pro-Christie operations, stand out because many of them are state contractors otherwise barred from contributing to his campaign. New Jersey “pay-to-play” laws, considered the strictest in the nation, bar large state contractors, utilities and financial services firms that manage state pension funds from donating to state candidates.

Yet a long list of New Jersey contractors and pension fund managers have given generously to groups that either back or are closely linked with Christie. Such contributions have repeatedly raised questions as to whether Christie supporters are skirting the state’s pay-to-play laws.

Before Governor "Who Moi?" became chairman of the RGA, the organization raised over $500,000 from "New Jersey utilities, individuals and businesses with significant state contracts," according to the New York Times..

Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said, “Government contractors cannot make contributions directly to Christie, but what they can do is give contributions to the RGA. And the RGA can use those contributions to promote Christie.” It sure did, to the tune of $1.7 million for his re-election.

[Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts] referred CQ Roll Call to Christie’s public comments on Reform Jersey Now in 2009: “There are a group of citizens who are out there to advocate policies in line with mine, and that’s great.”

As with Christie’s more recent troubles, that’s a response that is likely to beg further questions.

Christie's likely response will be, "Ethics schmethics. Shut up, you idiots." And then he'll clear himself.

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Slut shaming, gossip: Chris #Christie's taxpayer-funded million dollar PR defense

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chris christie report bridget kelly slut shaming

you're a whore case closed slut shaming

Yesterday Team Christie cleared Chris Christie in a "report" by a firm that donated to his campaign; it was a laugh out loud over the top PR document that repeatedly relied on slut shaming to make its case.

Rachel Maddow made mince meat out of it, as did Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word":

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Maddow:

Why on earth would Bridget Kelly's personal life and how her love life was going and whether or not Bill Stepien dumped her be relevant to that political question? ...

Bridget Kelly never spoke to the lawyers doing this investigation...

So what they've printed throughout the report is gossip about what they heard about their relationship and how it was going. They just gratuitously bring that up as they blame the whole thing on her. In real life, this is called "slut shaming." I'm not sure what they call it in New Jersey politics, but it's amazing to see it in this report that New Jersey taxpayers have paid for.

$1 million in public money spent to produce this report which blames the bridge scandal without explanation on the fact that this lady in the office was having a tough time in her love life. Amazing.

... This is also the law firm that governor Christie's office has hired essentially to put together the governor's defense in this issue. The governor's defense as federal prosecutors continue to pursue potential federal criminal charges related to this scandal.

There's no indication right now that Governor Christie is going to be indicted in this matter, but today's report looks very much like a ready criminal defense if that would become necessary. A would-be defense prepared at taxpayer expense and previewed for all of us at a length of 360 pages today.

And as they have rolled out the governor's legal defense today, they also did it in conjunction with a public relations rollout, the governor granting his first one-on-one interview tonight since the scandal broke.

...They actually published no new documentation of the scandal at all....

This is called protesting too much. The guy who did the lane closures says Chris Christie knew about it while it was happening. He says he told him while it was happening. There are pictures of them together on the day and at the occasion where the guy says it happened.

There is still no purported explanation from the governor's lawyers or the governor, himself, as to why this happened if it wasn't political retaliation directed from the governor's office, and this is his million-dollar defense.

This is the best he's got. and New Jersey taxpayers, you paid for it. Well, they did get that incredible detail that Mayor Zimmer once yawned. So i guess there's that.

chris christie report christie crying

And as mentioned at the top, Lawrence O'Donnell had a field day with the report whitewash as well as with former two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien's response to it:

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Team Christie clears #Christie in report by firm that donated to his campaign

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chris christie cartoon via FB team christie

chris christie bridgegate report by firm who donatedLink

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led an internal investigation of Bridgegate, held a news conference. In his self-serving little press event, Mastro pretty much laid out Chris Christie's legal defense. He also released a relatively meaningless, but lengthy, report by the gov's pals at the legal team of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher,. Christie hired them at the cost of more than a million taxpayer buckaroos.

The account was missing a little something though: It didn't include interviews with key players David Wildstein and Bridget Anne Kelly. But it does allege that the plan to close the George Washington Bridge lanes was orchestrated by Wildstein and approved by Kelly, Christie’s now-fired deputy chief of staff.

It also fails to reveal their motives.


The New York Times has the story:

The Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge said that he had informed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey about it at a Sept. 11 memorial while the closings were occurring, according to the findings of an internal investigation released on Thursday by lawyers for the governor.

The official, David Wildstein, told Mr. Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, of the Sept. 11 conversation at a dinner in December just before his resignation from the Port Authority, according to the report.

The report said that Mr. Christie did not recall any such conversation, and it found no evidence that he was involved in the scheme, which snarled traffic for thousands of commuters in Fort Lee, N.J., from Sept. 9 through the morning of Sept. 12. [...]

At times, it reads like a point-by-point defense of the governor.

The old "I don't recall" defense. What's not to believe?

One reporter asked, “Why should this not be seen as a whitewash?” Indeed.

The New York Times has much more here. Click here for the full report.

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Longtime Christie pal was right there at the Fort Lee traffic jam

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Doonesbury Chris Christie Fort Lee traffic jam bridgegate

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Watch out Chris Christie, Steve Kornacki is at it again. He's been digging and digging and found out that an old pal of Governor "Heartbroken" was right smack dab at the scene of the Fort Lee Traffic jam:

chris christie bridgegate friend 1

chris christie bridgegate friend 2

We have new information to report to you this morning about the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. The connection that has not been discovered or reported anywhere else before now. It involves a man who was apparently present when the access lanes were shut down and whose family has deep personal and political ties to Governor Chris Christie that go back decades....

We have evidence of the identity of that police lieutenant who apparently gave Wildstein a tour of the area as traffic was piling up in Fort Lee. ...

Now here is where the puzzle starts to come together ... It's an e-mail sent from Wildstein at 7:28 that morning to [Bob Durando, the general manager of the bridge] informing him he's, quote, "going to take a ride with Chip and see how it looks." ...

Why should you care if Lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels is the guy who gave Wildstein a tour as traffic hell was setting in on Fort Lee?

chris christie bridgegate friend 3

When David Wildstein surveyed the chaos caused by the lane closures, his tour guide was apparently a police lieutenant who had known Chris Christie since his childhood...

[Chip's brother] Jeff Michaels [is] a major Republican player...

"I've known [Christie] for a long time. we went to high school. our families knew each other from Livingston. and just stayed in close contact with him over the years and was very pleased to help his campaign out with policy." [...]

Christie has cultivated an unusual alliance with George Norcross. He's a Democrat who is widely regarded as the most powerful political boss in the state. So the Christie/ Norcross era in New Jersey, the teaming of Jeff Michaels and Phil Norcross has been a lucrative one...

So that's who Jeff Michaels is: a powerful New Jersey Republican whose family has long and close ties to Chris Christie. Someone who has parlayed that connection into a wildly successful lobbying practice and has invested tens of thousands of his own money in Christie's political future. And it is his brother, Jeff Michaels' brother, Port Authority police lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels, who is apparently on the scene when the Fort Lee lanes were shut down. And who drove David Wildstein around as the traffic mounted, and  who apparently kept in touch with Wildstein through text messaging after that ride...

There's no evidence to suggest that Lieutenant Michaels was involved in the planning of the operation. But the evidence suggests that Chip Michaels was present on the bridge at the hour the lanes were first closed, both driving David Wildstein around that first morning and texting with him at least throughout the first two days of the closures. He seemed to have an inkling it was coming, too...

In all that time did Jeff Michaels and Chris Christie ever talk about this? About how Jeff's brother was the guy who drove David Wildstein around during the closures? ... Now it appears it wasn't just David Wildstein on the scene when the lanes were closed. That he was there with a police officer who knew the governor from way back, and whose brother is a Trenton power broker who has a deep connection to Christie, as well as deep ties to the Republican party in New Jersey.

UPDATE:

chris christie bridgegate kornacki tweet

Here is a bonus Doonesbury strip, because who can resist Garry Trudeau's snarkitude, especially when it comes to Gov. "I know nothing" Schultz, er, Christie?

Doonesbury Chris Christie Sunday strip

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Chris Christie compares the poor to petulant teens, but, see, he's the real victim here.

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Chris Christie red meat

Chris Hayes and David Cay Johnston should have added the now-famous quote from Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to this discussion of Chris Christie: He "deserves an ass-kicking":

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Chris Christie speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago:

I think that the problem we have is an opportunity gap, not an income equality gap. And I think that one of the big discussions in conversations over the course of the next two years in national politics is going to be, do you want mediocrity or do you want greatness?  You want income equality? That's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary. That's what we can afford. Or do you want the opportunity for greatness? ...

Greatness is going to be based on your intellect, your hard work, your creativity. And government can play a role in helping to create that opportunity. But not in being the perpetual referee of what sounds like a fight between my 13-year-old son and my 10-year-old daughter: "You did this for him, that's not fair. Well, that's not fair, I want this to be fair." I grew up in an America that said, "Life isn't fair."

Yes, you heard right: Chris Christie is confusing income equality with salary equality. He thinks Democrats want every employed person in the country to be paid exactly the same salary.

Then he had the unmitigated gall to compare struggling families, people who are hurting, with petulant children, in effect blaming them!

family values my ass

To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, "That man is an idiot."

Here's a bonus video from The Rachel Maddow Show, just in case you're not up on the latest in the Bridgegate scandal:

chris christie bridgegate fundraise msnbc

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Maddow, on how the GOP is throwing a pity party for their guy Chris:

The New Jersey State Republican Party is now trying to raise money on the Bridge scandals. Specifically, they are trying to raise money by saying that news organizations should not be covering the scandal, and that's the real problem here.

Seriously, I'm not kidding... This is from the Star Ledger... They're quoting a fundraising email that the New Jersey Republican Party has sent out asking people to pledge $25 a month to the New Jersey Republican Party because of the Bridge scandal....

"Send us money because MSNBC keeps reporting on this story"??

To the people of Fort Lee, to the people who missed the first day of school or the first day of work, to the people who were late to appointments or their jobs by hours, for not just one day but for four days, to the person having a heart attack and the four people who were injured and needed to be moved by ambulance after a car wreck, to the parents of a missing child, to all those people who found that police and first responders could not get to them those days, to the people of Fort Lee and the hundreds of thousands of other New Jersey residents and commuters who had four days of this gridlock inflicted on them-- on purpose-- thanks to still-unexplained orders that came out of Gov. Christie's office, to all of the hundreds of thousands of people who were hurt here-- on purpose-- the New Jersey Republican Party would like you to know that the real outrage here is that this TV network [MSNBC] is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers, but the Christie administration still won't provide.

They want you to know that we're the real outrage, and that they're the real victim. Not you.

They want the people of New Jersey to stand up! Not against this kind of corrupt and abusive outrage by their government. They want the people of New Jersey to stand up against us covering the story.

It's amazing, but it's good to know.

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Gov Scott Walker tax plan gives an extra $50 million tax cut to... guess who? Right!

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gov. scott walker cronyopoly gameImage via.

What will Gov Scott Walker do to endear himself to voters next? So far a state appeals court rejected challenges to the WI John Doe probe targeting conservatives. Then Walker wouldn't reveal whether 86 grand that his campaign used to pay attorney fees was connected to said John Doe case. And to further convince us how disconnected to reality he is, Gov Scott Walker of Wisconsin said "he senses no gay marriage movement."

But now we see that he is actually endearing himself to some voters after all. The upper-incomiest of residents of Wisconsin owe Gov Scott Walker another big, sloppy, wet kiss.

But before we go there, as Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music," let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. There's this law that Congress passed back in 1969 that called for a federal alternative minimum tax, because "155 affluent Americans had actually paid no federal income taxes." Wisconsin thought that was such a good idea that they passed their own version of the AMT back in the '80s.

Via The Cap Times:

The measure is designed to capture at least some revenue from individuals who have so many deductions or credits they otherwise would owe no income tax at all.

Why, what a splendid and fair way to level the playing field!

But Wisconsin Republicans had second thoughts. After all, they have a group crush on the wealthiest, filthy-richest residents (read: political donors) and wouldn't want to ruffle their currency-lined feathers.

And the man with the biggest heart-on of all decided to bring them flowers and bon-bons in the form of (say it with me now) tax cuts:

[T]tucked into Gov. Scott Walker’s $504 million basket of tax cuts are significant changes to the state’s alternative minimum tax that could deliver some $50 million in savings to roughly 30,000 filers by 2016 and beyond, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo. [...]

[T]he alternative minimum tax changes will mainly benefit the wealthiest in Wisconsin, including factory and farm owners already benefiting from another huge tax break passed specifically for them in 2011. [...]

If all three provisions are adopted, revenues would be reduced by an estimated $11.3 million in 2013-14, $25.5 million in 2014-15, $40.5 million in 2015-16 and $50.8 million in 2016-17 and thereafter, according to the LFB.

So to those who have their eye on Potential Presidential Candidate Walker, I ask that you please share this news with your fellow not-filthy-rich voters. They're sure to appreciate who he gives hand-outs to and who he doesn't. Indeed, it seems the "makers" are the real "takers," and everyone else can eat cake.

Tell a friend.tell a friend

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