Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has now added gifting lucrative government contracts to his family to the long list of corrupt practices that have become commonplace in his administration. Earlier this month, we learned that he was caught stealing $380,000 from New Jersey taxpayers to pay for his lavish lifestyle. In February, it was reported that Governor Loudmouth accepted expensive gifts from King Abdullah of Jordan, and on top of the massive Bridgegate scandal last year, which he is still under investigation for. As if those misdeeds were not enough, we have now learned that Christie’s administration awarded his brother, Todd Christie’s firm, a lucrative government contract.
In January, Christie signed an executive order that was basically a state takeover of Atlantic City. He installed an ’emergency management team’ to develop a long-term financial plan for the cash-strapped casino town. Soon after the takeover, his administration awarded a huge contract to Ernst and Young, the financial firm that recently hired his brother and longtime supporter Todd Christie. The contract, one of the more blatant incidences of nepotism seen in New Jersey, will pay the firm more than $250,000, or $455 an hour, to provide an analysis of the city’s finances.
This isn’t even the first time this has occurred. The International Business Times reported that “only weeks after Todd Christie started at Ernst & Young, Christie administration officials awarded the firm separate contracts worth more than $550,000 for auditing services in connection with the state’s expenditures on Hurricane Sandy recovery.”
Many are left wondering if Christie’s decision to takeover Atlantic City was solely to give his brother’s firm a huge contract:
“I hope the governor’s advocacy for the state takeover of Atlantic City was not simply to repay a favor to his brother, Todd Christie, for all of the support Todd has given him over the years,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat who co-chairs the legislature’s investigative committee. “It is fair to ask questions any time you have the executive branch taking actions that at least on the surface appear to uniquely benefit somebody very close to the governor.”
According to the executive branch ethics code, public officials may not use their positions “to secure a job, contract, governmental approval or special benefit for yourself, a friend or family member.” Clearly this means that the contract should not have been awarded to Ernst and Young, but Christie has proven time and again that he doesn’t care about rules or petty considerations of “ethics” or “morals”.
This is a man who hopes to eventually become president. A man who steals from taxpayers to pay for his luxurious lifestyle. A man who retaliates against political opponents like a schoolyard bully. Chris Christie wants to be the President of the United States for the so-called “fiscally responsible” Republican Party, but he has destroyed the economy in his state. Pension plans are in danger for state workers and New Jersey’s credit rating has been downgraded multiple times. He wants to be president when he “governs” the eighth worst-run state in the nation. On top of all of that, he has consistently shown a complete disregard for the laws his office is supposed to abide by.
Good luck with that.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.