Archive for new jersey

Fridgegate: Oh, SNAP, Chris #Christie! (VIDEO)

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Fridgegate Chris Christie

Ruh roh! Chris Christie has another gate to contend with besides Bridgegate (scroll): Fridgegate. No, stop that, it's not what you think. I shy away from jokes about his weight (or anyone's for that matter). This gate is all about SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), also known as food stamps.

Funny (meaning, sad) how someone who claims to care so much about his fellow New Jersyians refuses to help the hungriest among them:

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Chris Hayes:

For governors this wasn't about cheating. It was about maintaining a lifeline for poor people who desperately needed the assistance. And it wasn't just Democrats. Pennsylvania's Republican governor Tom Corbett, a tea party ally, is one of the governors who moved to preserve food stamp benefits for his state....

Most of the states that made the move to maintain food stamp benefits are concentrated in one region, the northeast. But there is one state in that region, a state where the governor often claims to put his own people above politics, that notably has not.

Chris Christie:

I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. If you think right now i give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me.

Hayes:

The same governor Chris Christie who professed to be disgusted when Congress initially did not approve billions in Sandy aid has been silent when it comes to finding a way to keep an estimated 160,000 New Jersey residents from losing out on food stamps.

Of course, unlike helping people affected by Sandy, getting food stamps is politically toxic for Republicans. The last thing Chris Christie wants to be talking about as he eyes a presidential run is how he expanded food stamps in his state.

We reached out to Governor Christie's office about this and received a fact sheet in response that did not address the issue.

snap

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Chris Christie accused of interfering with New Jersey ethics agency

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ethics schmethics

Three former New Jersey Ethics Commission officials are accusing that stalwart of honesty and decency, Chris Christie, of messing with a state agency. A member of Christie’s staff-- an executive assistant who worked for Bill Stepien and Bridget Anne Kelly, just by the way-- "used her state email account to influence her county health department to handle some feral felines on her property." Allegedly. And that would be a no-no.

Yes, stray cats are now part of the Christie saga. The story picks up from there. NJ.com has the goods:

By the time it was over, the executive director of the ethics commission was out of a job at the request of the governor’s office, replaced by one of Christie’s own lawyers, who was later given a judgeship by the governor.

Now, three former commission officials, breaking four years of silence, are accusing the governor’s office of unprecedented interference with an agency set up to be free of political influence.

Christie, they say, pushed the agency commissioners to replace the executive director — at a time when she was investigating a member of his own staff — thus crossing a line no other governor had before.

What? Governor Ethics played political chess with jobs for cronies, because "the governor wants his own person"? Governor Heartbroken meddled in an ongoing investigation? Governor I Know Nothing... crossed a line? Who'da thunk it?

Did I mention that the person he wanted to kick out was a Democrat?

One former state senator and former Ethics Commission vice chairman, a Republican, said it was the first time a governor had "asked for the commission’s top investigator to be removed, or suggested his own candidate lead the agency."

Of course, Governor Who Moi? is denying everything, as he is wont to do.

Speaking of scandals, the AP is reporting that "a judge has given New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other defendants more time to file a response to two lawsuits related to lane closures at the George Washington Bridge."

Much more on the ethics complaint story here.

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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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"What is #Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?" He's protecting monopolies.

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chris christie tesla free marketImage via.

Oh that scamp New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, he says he is all about the free market. He's so supportive of a free market that he's doing whatever he can to stomp all over it in the name of "protecting consumers." Isn't that just like Governor "Heartbroken"? Always so concerned about his people; why, he's so concerned that they're still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy due to his broken promises and (alleged) nefarious deeds.

Gee, when you think about it, his position is about as hypocritical as that of pro-forced birthers who demand that Big Government stay out of our lives as they force trans-vaginal ultrasounds up women without their permission while denying them the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. To protect "children." But they're not "children," they're zygotes and fetuses. But I digress.

Both are the kind of "protection" we can do without.

And with that, here is today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "The car dealers' racket," Opinion, March 17

So New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed a decision last week by the Motor Vehicle Commission to "protect consumers" and effectively kick Tesla out of the state by prohibiting it from selling its electric vehicles directly to consumers.

It appears, however, that the Christie administration is actually protecting long-established dealership monopolies.

Christie recently huffed, "We have an opportunity problem in this country because government is trying to control the free market." What is Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?

Another Christie talking point: "We need to talk about the fact that we're for a free-market society that allows your effort and your ingenuity to determine your success; not the cold, hard hand of government determining winners and losers."

I challenge Christie to come up with a better example of the free market at work than Tesla Motors, the first successful new American car company in more than half a century.

Linda Nicholes

Huntington Beach

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