Although, Governor Christie is trying to maintain a "business-as-usual" demeanor running up to the Superbowl, the vast web of allegations, and scandals involving him continue to develop momentum. In addition to the top rec'd report by ericlewis0, Christie Quietly Taps BFF Crony to Head NJ State Ethics Commission, three additional smaller developments are adding new pressures on Christie.
First, former N.J. prosecutor Bennett Barlyn was in court, yesterday, as reported in Former prosecutor accuses Christie administration of corruption in NJ court:
JERSEY CITY — A veteran prosecutor ousted by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration waged a fierce battle in a state appeals court Tuesday, accusing top administration officials of corruption and asking the judges to unseal confidential documents that he says back his claims.
Bennett A. Barlyn says the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office was working an ironclad criminal case on a local sheriff and two of her deputies in 2010 when the state Attorney General’s Office swooped in, quashed the indictment, fired him for voicing objections, and threatened another prosecutor to keep quiet.
The sheriff, Deborah Trout, is an acquaintance of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and pitched in on Christie’s gubernatorial campaign in 2009, court records show. The indictment charged that Trout hired deputies without conducting background checks — a potential criminal offense in New Jersey. ... Among other allegations, it charged that Trout’s office also gave a fake police ID to a pharmaceutical executive who donated thousands of dollars to Christie’s campaign.
Barlyn wants to have the grand jury transcripts released to prove his claims that the indictment was strong, but Christie's administration argues that grand jury transcripts are not generally made public and Barlyn should be able to make his case by other means. Superior Court Judge Carmen Messano had tough questions for both sides, and said a ruling would be issued later this year.
On Monday, the New Jersey Star Ledger urged Governor Christie's administration to come clean, in the spirit of transparency, and not drag this case through a year or more of administrative hearings.
In Chris Christie’s list of troubles grows, Aliyah Frumin, of MSNBC, reports two New Jersey Democrats demanding a new federal probe into Governor Christie's handling of the Hurricane Sandy relief money and the disaster relief funds which they say were "recklessly mismanaged."
Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell Jr. –both of New Jersey – are calling for a federal probe into the state’s dealing with a New Orleans-based firm that was hired to oversee the divvying up of approximately $600 million in federal homeowner relief following Hurricane Sandy. ...
The two congressmen also want an independent monitor to look into the state’s usage of disaster recovery fund, concerned it was being “recklessly mismanaged.” ...
Christie is already being audited by HUD for the potential misuse of Hurricane Sandy relief money to produce tourism ads featuring his family during his bed for a second term in office. To make matters worse, a new report alleges Christie helped direct $6 million in Sandy aid to a senior center and housing project in Belleville, a community not hit particularly hard by the storm. According to the Star-Ledger, Christie helped shortly before the town’s Democratic mayor endorsed Christie.
And, I'd like to give a shout out as well to the extensive and excellent NYT article this morning already reported in NYT Christie Profile: "Direct Line to the Governor" by mrblifil, and NYT: Christie very involved in day to day details by middlegirl. In For Christie, Politics Team Kept a Focus on Two Races the NYT details the extent of Governor Christie's micromanagement of Bill Stepien's and Bridgette Kelly's political operation to focus on the 100 top N.J. regions, and mayors, which they reviewed extensive spreadsheets of every morning for at least 20 minutes. After reading this article there is no way you can imagine Christie did not know about the Bridgegate, and Hobokengate scadals from day 1.
Staff members in the governor’s office created tabbed and color-coded dossiers on the mayors of each town — who their friends and enemies were, the policies and projects that were dear to them — that were bound in notebooks for the governor to review in his S.U.V. between events.
Long after most of the State House had been shuttered for the night, Mr. Christie’s aides worked on spreadsheets, documenting calls and meetings with key players in the towns — one Republican called it “political Moneyball” — as the governor tried to win endorsements and friends. ... “There wasn’t anything of significance that Stepien did without the governor being aware of it,” Mr. Pringle said.
The NYT provides extensive details reported by anonymous insiders that say Governor Christie and his top generals micro-managed every detail, even to the point of telling agency commissioners how they should respond to questions.
And, now we are supposed to believe that Governor Christie was totally unaware of his special operations unit's involvement in the planning for, execution of, and cover-up of the George Washington Bridge lane closings? The latest polls now show that even many of his supporters in New Jersey do not believe this.
Everything had to be vetted by the governor’s top lawyers in the counsel’s office or by his chief of staff: minor changes in bills or labor agreements, news releases from agencies and commissions. ... Commissioners recalled that they were instructed by the front office how to rule. Legislators accustomed to asking questions directly of cabinet members or commissioners were told that they had to go through the governor’s office instead.
Mr. Christie himself tended to the smallest of details. He personally oversaw appointments to the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, legislative leaders said, and when he wanted to discuss something with lawmakers, he texted them himself. (He told one top legislator that he had learned from his experience as United States attorney not to email; texts were harder to trace.)
Time will tell if these actions are worthy of a criminal indictment, but at a personal level Governor's Christie's reputation as a man of integrity suitable to be President of the United States is already in tatters.