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You KNOW things are heading south for embattled NJ Governor Chris Christie when you hear the latest of his maneuvers and it's a doozy.  Susana Esposa Guerrero, who has worked in the governor’s counsel’s office with all nine of the senior staffers who recently received subpoenas in the George Washington Bridge scandal was named yesterday, in executive session, to take over the leadership of the state's Ethics Commission.

According to Mark Magyar at NJ Spotlights Christie recommended Guerrero to the Commission and she was voted in without any other candidate being considered.

Interestingly, before Christie took over, the Commission used to select its own Executive Director, but as is becoming more and more clear, Christie in power is really controlling at any and every level.  The Commission didn't even announce the appointment.

According to Magyar's article:

Guerrero previously spent eight years working in the law firm of Christie’s most trusted political adviser, William Palatucci, overlapping with Christie’s last four months as a partner at the firm before taking office as U.S. Attorney.

Guerrero did not return four phone messages yesterday afternoon even though staffers said each time she was in her office. But Andrew S. Berns, the Republican Denville lawyer who chairs the Ethics Commission, confirmed last night that Guerrero’s appointment “was formalized today by the Ethics Commission by a vote.”

Berns said the Guerrero appointment to replace Peter Tober, whose nomination to a state Superior Court seat was approved by the state Senate January 4, came straight from the governor’s office. “With these sorts of appointments, there is a recommendation made by the Appointments Counsel in the governor’s office and we have a vote and if the person is successful, they get the position,” he said.

Neither the governor's office nor the Ethics Commission made any formal announcement of Guerrero’s appointment yesterday, but her name was listed as executive director on the staff list on the commission’s website.

Tom Moran of the Star Ledger Editorial Board, in crediting Magyar's coverage said:
A child could understand why this is so wrong. Which helps explain why the appointment was made in a closed-door executive session and never announced by either the commission or the governor’s office.


This commission was rebuilt after former Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned in 2005. It was an attempt to restore faith in the integrity of state government, and a core idea was that the commission should remain at arm's length from the governor’s office.

Until Christie arrived, the commission picked its own executive director after interviewing several candidates. But Christie brought the commission closer under his wing. He recommended Guerrero, and sadly, the commission voted to install her without interviewing a single alternative candidate.

Ask yourself: If Christie wanted a robust and independent watchdog to lift the bar on ethics, would he appoint someone who for years was part of the very team she is supposed to now police?

Moran's closing comment sums things up pretty neatly:
The governor does not want a watchdog with teeth. Which means he must be nervous about what it would find.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

    by dweb8231 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:43:59 PM PST

  •  For a Governor who insisted he knew nothing.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, JVolvo

    Christie sure seems to be looking at every possible venue in NJ and double checking every possible check point to make sure they are manned by his loyalists.  He's hiring lawyers nicknamed "The Alligator", clamming up and generally acting increasingly worried.

    It is becoming harder and harder to believe that these are the actions of an innocent.  Forget the plunging poll numbers....this guy is in deep trouble and he knows it.

    Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

    by dweb8231 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:48:32 PM PST

  •  he had to do it quick (0+ / 0-)

    he vetoed the Sandy oversight bill and said he'd provide his own oversight, thank you very much, and then he didn't but there is still that ethics committee.  He must have needed a new spy there, which is probably an old Christie move, to let everyone know executive session won't keep Christie from being informed.  He isn't going to stop trying to bully the sheep back into the pen.  So, it makes for amusing reading. Nothing he can do can escape notice now.  Ding dong the witch is dead but the commission needs to see a body, otherwise they'll fall in line and hope to get some crumbs.  

  •  that's just typical actually (0+ / 0-)

    this is just business as usual I think

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:10:46 PM PST

  •  He may wan the commision to have teeth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just pointed the other way.  The commission covers the legislature as well as he executive branch.

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:18:08 PM PST

  •  Christie is a 'control freak' type of sociopath. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Christie does a lot in secret... (0+ / 0-)

    ... like 7 weeks ago, when he fired the company that had a contract in the tens of millions to oversee the distribution of Sandy aid, without announcing or explaining.  The administration has yet to acknowledge it, but you have to wonder why the Governor would be firing the company he hand-selected to win an uncontested bid just last year, who have ostensibly "overseen" the distribution of around 2 billion dollars, with no ACTUAL OVERSIGHT except the Governor himself.  The person he placed in charge of the operation has also been silent and has skipped every single one of the hearings related to Sandy aid in the last year - along with every single other representative of the administration involved with the process - after being asked by the legislature to attend.  Chris Hayes did a good story on this.  

    Sandy aid, more like Shady aid, because as soon as it entered the Governor's possession that money has gone dark, and most of NJ is recovering without any state or federal assistance.  It boggled my mind seeing him re-elected in a blowout win, largely supported by NJ Dems for his "handling of Sandy" - which has been consistently terrible, self-serving, and secretive - due to public appearances and campaign-style ads paid for with taxpayer money from the Sandy aid slush fund.  Disgusting.

    I never supported Christie, and now that he's been unmasked as the corrupt patron of NJ plutocrats, my schadenfreude is almost visceral.  His dismantling of the public sector, mass teacher layoffs, and destructive aversion to infrastructure investment were just political reasons to hate him.  As a NJ resident, now the distaste for Christie is personal.

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