Advertisements that were supposed to help promote tourism in New Jersey in the wake of devastation by Hurricane Sandy instead seemed to promote Governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign and now the feds are investigating. The investigation stems from a letter sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone and will have federal auditors focus on the use of $25 million in Sandy aid for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore.
Pallone wrote that he was concerned about the bidding process for the firm awarded the marketing plan; the winning firm is charging the state about $2 million more than the next lowest bidder. The winning bid of $4.7 million featured Christie and his family in the advertisements while the losing $2.5 million proposal did not feature the Christies, Pallone said.
$2 million more so Christie could get a free re-election ad?
Meanwhile the Mayor of Jersey City, Steve Fulop, has released emails proving that numerous Christie Administration officials canceled meetings with his administration after he declined to endorse Governor Christie’s re-election effort. One of the meetings that was canceled concerned Jersey City’s access to Hurricane Sandy relief funds.
New emails and text messages seem to confirm Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s accusation that 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 reelection bid…
Some of the meetings were intended as introductions between the new mayor and the Christie administration, while others could have focused on specific projects and issues
So it appears there was a pattern of behavior from Christie officials in using government services to leverage re-election endorsements. It is also worth noting the Fulop endorsement was one Christie was involved in firsthand – Fulop was “on his radar” to paraphrase Christie at his press conference. When Bill Baroni met with Mayor Fulop he was in contact with Christie every step of the way.
The Christie Administration fired back at Fulop labeling him, ironically, as partisan.