A friend of mine in New Jersey sent me the highlights of a “Restricted” report back on the first of April which was produced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Transition Team. This report documents which policies the electorate could look forward to being implemented in the new administration and the suggested government and party jobs that the various members of Gov. Christie’s staff and campaign team would obtain after the election. So what? You might ask. We know already. That’s yesterday’s news.
No, this is news because this report was produced by Gov. Christie’s 2016 Presidential Transition Team and was finished December 2013. A resolute leader and savvy politician like Gov. Christie knows the advantage of doing serious advanced planning. The Governor also knows the importance of choosing a team of loyal and trustworthy supporters who he can depend on to carry out his policies in a responsible fashion.
The 2016 Transition Report is labeled as a “draft” and had obviously been commissioned before December 2013, the date on the cover. No author is listed, but some have speculated that it was created out of Bill Samson’s office at the Port Authority by one or more of Samson’s staffers.
Other than the AG, no particular Cabinet officials were suggested due to the political nature of those offices. Many other upper level positions were being held open to reward supporters outside the inner Christie circle.
If the people listed below decide to accept the jobs, we can assume that those for whom Congressional confirmation is needed will be quickly confirmed, since Congress routinely rubber stamps Presidential appointments, under the adage that the executive deserves to have the team he desires.
The over 100 page 2016 Presidential Transition report is too long to reproduce here, so in this diary I will briefly touch on which jobs Christie loyalists will serve in during the first term of the Christie presidency. The first three names are listed by political importance and the rest of the list is alphabetical.
Bill Samson, former Port Authority Chairman, will be selected to be the Christie administration’s first Attorney General of the United States. This will basically be a holding position, as Samson is also slated to be Christie’s first nomination to the Supreme Court.
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, will be appointed as Director of the US Justice Department’s Organized Crime Unit.
Attorney Randy Mastro, author of the Mastro report which cleared Gov. Christie of any knowledge or involvement in Bridgegate, has opted to remain in private practice. In recognition of his service to the administration, he will be chosen as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize committee which nominates and selects the winner for fiction.
Bill Baroni, former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director and Christie’s highest ranking Port Authority appointee, will serve as Deputy Director for Plans for the CIA.
Richard Constable, former assistant prosecutor under US Attorney Chris Christie, who was selected to head the NJ Department of Community Affairs, and was the confidant of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, will be appointed as FEMA director.
Maria Cornella, Christie’s Director of Communications, will be chosen as the White House spokeswoman.
Michael Drewniak, Chris Christie spokesman and former spokesman for US Attorney Chris Christie, will be the head of the Office of White House Communications.
Regenia Egea, former US attorney under Chris Christie, will be appointed Director of he United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) an independent agency within the executive branch of the U.S. Federal Government which is responsible for directing executive branch policies relating to the prevention of conflicts of interest on the part of Federal executive branch officers and employees.
Bridget Ann Kelly, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, will be appointed either White House Czar for the Department for Coordinating and Improving Community Relations or a position in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs.
Philip Kwon, Port Authority staff lawyer, former US Attorney under Chris Christie and one time nominee for the NJ Supreme Court, will be appointed as associate justice for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey. This is an important post since this court is the first level of appeal for NJ Republicans convicted by lower NJ courts.
Charles McKenna, Christie’s legal counsel, will be appointed as White House Legal Counsel.
Port Authority Police Lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels will be thanked for his role in chauffeuring David Wildstein on an tour of the traffic jam on the first day of the lane closures by being appointed Deputy Assistant to the Director of the Secret Service.
Michael’s brother Jeffrey, a GOP lobbyist in Trenton, (the brothers are childhood friends of Christie) will be offered a White House job in the Office of Congressional Affairs.
Paul Nunziato, head of the Port Authority police union that endorsed Chris Christie’s election, and who told reporters that he had previously told David Wildstein his concerns about traffic patterns at the bridge and suggested a study be done, will be appointed Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI.
Kevin O’Dowd, Christie’s Chief of Staff and nominee for the job of NJ Attorney General, will be selected as White House Chief of Staff.
Bill Stepien, Christie for Governor campaign manager, and nominee to be chairman of the NJ Republican Party, will become chairman of the National Republican Party.
David Wildstein, Port Authority Director for Interstate Capitol Projects, will be Deputy Assistant Executive Director for Interstate Capital Projects at the Department of Transportation.
Gov. Chris Christie has a well deserved reputation for non-partisanship and for a tendency to “reach around” the aisle, excuse me, “reach across” the aisle. According to the 2016 Transition Report, President Christie will continue this process by offering jobs in his administration to prominent NJ and NY Democrats. Several of the most prominent individuals are listed below.
Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye of New York will be offered a job as assistant to the Associate US Consul in Benghazi on Christian/Islamic Relations.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer will be tasked to use her knowledge of good governance as an advisor to the Mayor of Mogadishu for the United States Agency for International Development. The USAID is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich will be appointed as permanent Presidential Envoy to the Palestinian Authority.
In the report, numerous other minor functionaries in the Christie administration and some obscure New Jersey politicians who are possible candidates for Federal jobs are mentioned. Those listed above are household names with whom most people are familiar.
In further diaries, I will highlight some of the important policy issues President Christie’s administration will focus on, as detailed in the 2016 Transition Team Report. Until then.