New Chris Christie Scandal: Misuse of Sandy Relief Funds
If Bridgegate wasn’t enough, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has found himself embroiled in another scandal as The Chicago Tribune reports that the 2016 Republican frontrunner is under federal investigation for misusing relief funds directed to the state after Superstorm Sandy.
According to The Tribune, federal investigators are taking a close look at $2 million of a $25 million contract given to a marketing company that created the post-storm tourism campaign called “Stronger than the Storm.” According to the report, the governor’s office paid $2 million more for an ad campaign that featured Christie and his family than a competing bid that didn’t include them. The ad campaign ran during the 2013 gubernatorial election season which investigators say may have allowed him to inappropriately benefit himself politically using taxpayer dollars.
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., who has emerged as a leading critic on the issue, told media that “While promoting tourism at the Jersey Shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is certainly a worthy endeavor, recent reports have led me to believe that the state has irresponsibly misappropriated funding allocated by Congress from the Sandy aid package and taken advantage of this waiver for political purposes.”
Pallone went on to say that “Had Governor Christie chosen the less expensive firm, $2.2 million in federal disaster aid could have potentially been directed elsewhere, for example, to provide 44 Sandy-impacted homeowners $50,000 grants to raise their homes.”
Pallone knows plenty about the Sandy relief efforts as the representative of a district on the Jersey Shore where much of the storm’s damage was worst. In total, the storm destroyed or damaged over 650,000 homes.
The one good thing to come out of Bridgegate for Christie is that it has pushed this scandal off the front pages and out of public view. Christie will face plenty of scrutiny stemming from the bridge lane closure scandal as the State Assembly is planning a special investigation into the incident and U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has launched his own investigation.
(Image courtesy of nordique)