Misconduct allegations mounted over the weekend against embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie despite his attempt to blame the George Washington Bridge scandal on underlings.
New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney office met Jan. 19 for several hours with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding her claim against two top Christie aides. Zimmer has alleged that the aides threatened last spring to hinder federal relief for her city’s Hurricane Sandy damage unless she supported Christie’s picks among Wall Street investors for a Hoboken redevelopment plan.
Christie is shown at left with President Obama in a photo courtesy of Wikimedia as they toured flood damage in 2012 just days before Obama’s re-election and in a gesture widely reported as bipartisan cooperation by two prominent public servants from different parties.
The new allegations and the media blitz parallel those that Christie orchestrated previously in his career against others. He created a public image as a GOP corruption-fighting legislator and U.S. attorney on his way to winning his state’s governorship in 2009.
I discussed that history with New Jersey radio host Bob Carson Jan. 19 in an hour-long interview on his public affairs show, Carson’s Corner, which can be heard here, among other places. In 2009 and 2010, we had examined these same Christie tendencies in previous Carson’s Corner shows at a time when virtually all of the rest of the state’s media had bought into Christie’s image as a blunt-talking reformer fighting for the ordinary citizen.
We focused then as now on the unfairness and duplicity in Christie’s overblown “Big Rig III” probe. As New Jersey’s U.S. attorney under the Bush administration, Christie’s groundwork for the probe swept him to the governor’s office.
Christie hired more than a dozen of his former federal colleagues from the U.S. attorney’s office for state posts, thereby illustrating how the so-called “loyal Bushie” brand of political back-scratching flourished under his supervision.
The Justice Integrity Project also reported evidence that the more than 40 indictments had been packaged by federal prosecutors to help him win office, not as impartial justice, as described in previous stories excerpted below.
More currently, a state legislative chairman issued 20 subpoenas last week for Christie associates and their organizations to describe why authorities inflicted traffic gridlock on Fort Lee for four days last September on the New Jersey side of the bridge across the Hudson River to New York City.
One of those ordered to testify is David Samson, a Christie appointee who heads the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that controls bridge operations.
Samson hired for protection Michael Chertoff, right, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary and former New Jersey U.S. Attorney. Among other jobs, Chertoff is founder of the Chertoff Group, which received a $1.2 million security contract from the Port Authority.
So he has close experience in cozy arrangements, as described in a special section about Chertoff’s career in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters. Chertoff is also an attorney with Covington and Burling, and it is in that role that he is representing Samson.
MSNBC host Steve Kornacki has reported that the Christie administration used its Port Authority appointees to pressure developers to increase their support for the GOP governor’s 2013 re-election campaign and future prospects. Kornacki also broke the Zimmer story.