Back when Christie was elected, I thought that it would only take a few months before all the dark chatter about corruption would derail his administration and, if not force a resignation, make him unlikely to run for reelection. And now we’re nearly on the eve of the election that would keep him in office, and the feeling everywhere is that his victory is inevitable to the point of not even exciting comment.
And yet this stuff from Halperin and Heilemann’s new book about the underside of the Romney campaign and the vetting of Christie as a possible VP candidate shows how close to the surface the signs of missing and misspent money, possible conflicts of interest, and shady deals have been all along:
The list of questions Myers and her team had for Christie was extensive and troubling. More than once, Myers reported back that Trenton’s response was, in effect, Why do we need to give you that piece of information? Myers told her team, We have to assume if they’re not answering, it’s because the answer is bad.
The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.” (Todd also oversaw a family foundation whose activities and purpose raised eyebrows among the vetters.) And all that was on top of a litany of glaring matters that sparked concern on Myers’ team: Christie’s other lobbying clients, his investments overseas, the YouTube clips that helped make him a star but might call into doubt his presidential temperament, and the status of his health.
Ah, yes, his temperament:
And the rally ends, inevitably, with Christie arguing with a teacher pic.twitter.com/YyLsoJVTWQ
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) November 2, 2013