I once wrote a diary entitled,"The Manifold Lies of Paul Ryan,"which was a comprehensive list of media reports that fact checked "Lyin' Ryan." Now, we have a new candidate for the Pinocchio of Politics and that would be my own Governor, Chris Christie. The Bergen Record has inspired me this morning to start another listicle based on Christie's long and prodigious history of fabrications.
Columnist Charles Stiles from the Record gets the ball rolling as he recalls how Christie claimed that he was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney which was not true - two other governors had already done so. This is a silly, small lie but illustrates that Christie is almost pathological in his sketchy relationship with the truth.
False claims and inaccuracies, like this one, sometimes padded Christie’s speeches, attacks or monologues as he rose to national fame. When the truth came to light, it rarely caused him much embarrassment or trouble. The public was more inclined to embrace Christie’s bold, big picture views than quibble with the details. For years, Christie has captivated the public with his raw candor, humor and fury. And when he scored a string of impressive successes, his popularity — and credibility — soared. He backed up the boasts with results. But now Christie’s credibility — and his career — are in the shadow of a scandal.http://www.northjersey.com/...
1. First Big Political Lie
When he ran for Morris County Freeholder in 1992, he claimed his opponents were being investigated. He lied; they lost the election and later sued him. Christie was forced to retract his statements as part of the settlement.
2. Race to the Top
You can certainly understand why Chris Christie threw his education commissioner, Bret Schundler, under the bus last week. After all, it was Schundler’s department that botched the state’s “Race to the Top” application, costing New Jersey five points on its application — the difference between $400 million in federal money and nothing.3. Todd Christie
But Christie, the state’s first-year governor, didn’t just fire Schundler for incompetence: He called him a liar. Loudly and repeatedly. He felt this necessary because when the news of the botched application first broke last Wednesday, Christie publicly blamed the Obama administration, claiming that Schundler had supplied the data that was missing from the application — budget numbers for the years 2008 and 2009 — in advance of his formal hearing with the federal Department of Education. The real blame, Christie insisted, was with Obama’s army of inflexible bureaucrats.
“That’s the stuff the Obama administration should answer for,” he thundered. “Are you guys just down there checking boxes like mindless drones, or are you thinking? When the president comes back to New Jersey, he’s going to have to explain to the people of the state of New Jersey why he’s depriving them of $400 million that this application earned.”
This argument quickly unraveled when a videotape of Schundler’s hearing was released, showing that the education commissioner and his team were blindsided by the error and unable to provide the missing data. When that tape emerged, Christie changed gears, branded Schundler a liar and fired him.
“Don’t lie to the governor. That’s the message,” he declared.
But there’s a problem with that version, too: Schundler didn’t lie to Christie, and now he’s going public with e-mails that prove it. The e-mails, between Schundler and Christie’s communications director, show that Schundler was upfront with the governor’s team about his failure to provide the feds with the correct data. And in a separate personal account of last week’s events released with the e-mails, Schundler describes a phone conversation with Christie on the morning that Christie blasted the Obama administration:
At one point, Christie was questioned about his hiring of David N. Kelly, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Two years earlier, Kelly had investigated a stock-fraud case involving 20 traders, including Christie’s brother, Todd. Fifteen were indicted; Todd Christie and four others were not. When pressed about the arrangement, Christie said that his brother “was found not to have committed any wrongdoing, both by the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission.” It was a questionable answer. While Todd Christie was spared from criminal prosecution, the SEC did bring a civil complaint alleging that he and others at the firm had engaged in fraudulent and other improper trading practices. The matter was settled without Todd Christie denying or admitting any wrongdoing. But the settlement also maintains that he conducted trades “which generated thousands of dollars in customer harm,” and that he violated stock exchange rules. http://www.northjersey.com/...4.ARC Tunnel
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey exaggerated when he declared that unforeseen costs to the state were forcing him to cancel the new train tunnel planned to relieve congested routes across the Hudson River, according to a long-awaited report by independent Congressional investigators.http://www.nytimes.com/...
The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released this week, found that while Mr. Christie said that state transportation officials had revised cost estimates for the tunnel to at least $11 billion and potentially more than $14 billion, the range of estimates had in fact remained unchanged in the two years before he announced in 2010 that he was shutting down the project. And state transportation officials, the report says, had said the cost would be no more than $10 billion.
Mr. Christie also misstated New Jersey’s share of the costs: he said the state would pay 70 percent of the project; the report found that New Jersey was paying 14.4 percent. And while the governor said that an agreement with the federal government would require the state to pay all cost overruns, the report found that there was no final agreement, and that the federal government had made several offers to share those costs.
Canceling the tunnel, then the largest public works project in the nation, helped shape Mr. Christie’s profile as a rising Republican star, an enforcer of fiscal discipline in a country drunk on debt. But the report is likely to revive criticism that his decision, which he said was about “hard choices” in tough economic times, was more about avoiding the need to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which would have violated a campaign promise. The governor subsequently steered $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to the state’s near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax.
5. Blaming the Sandy screw-ups on Obama.
"The federal government cannot be blamed for the HGI contract and its subsequent termination.The federal government cannot be blamed for a balky application process that left Sandy victims wondering about their status."Christie took 10 months to implement federal Sandy aid: http://www.nj.com/...
The federal government didn't grant 6 million dollars to a Belleville senior center or fund a luxury apartment complex in New Brunswick, two areas that were not hard hit by Sandy.
The federal government didn't waste Sandy aid money on promotional ads featuring his family.
The federal government didn't withhold Sandy funds to Hoboken for political reasons.
6. Fort Lee Lanes
During the show, which aired this month, Christie repeated his claim that approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge feed into tollbooths “dedicated” to Fort Lee. The argument that the lanes gave Fort Lee residents a special, unfair perk has largely been discredited during legislative hearings into the lane closings. Those lanes are used by thousands of motorists from the surrounding towns in Bergen and Hudson counties. If anything, the daily flow of bridge-bound traffic from neighboring towns has been a historic source of frustration for Fort Lee. http://www.northjersey.com/...7. David Wildstein relationship
In his marathon January press conference, Christie claimed “I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time,” (http://www.msnbc.com/...) but then a photo surfaced of Christie with Wildstein at the recent 9/11 memorial in NYC.
8. Teacher, police and firemen pensions
"Literally, lies after lies from this utter fraud of a man. Start at the header of this blog with Chris Christie's promise to teachers and other public workers from his 2009 campaign:9. Christie tells two different stories about Bridgegate
* I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. In fact, in order to ensure your retirement savings are safe, I believe we must prioritize the protection of pension fund dollars and investigate the cause of Jon Corzine’s large investment losses to our pension system. Currently there is a $34 billion deficit in the State’s pension fund, which threatens the retirement and lifeline of so many teachers. We must do better for our teachers, future teachers and retirees. As Governor, I will work to close unfunded liabilities and make sure our state lives up to its promises, unlike Jon Corzine. I will not raid your pension fund to cover budgetary shortfalls like previous governors of both parties have done. One of the changes I will bring to Trenton is responsible management, investment, and oversight of state pension dollars. [emphasis mine]
That was the first lie; Christie did, in fact, change teachers' and cops' and firefighters' pensions, increasing our payments and getting rid of cost-of-living increases. Then he didn't follow up on his promise to "close unfunded liabilities" . . ." http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/...
In February, Christie told a radio audience that he instructed his chief of staff and chief counsel to look into the lane closures as soon as he heard about them in October. However, in a December press conference Christie told reporters he hadn't investigated
the lane closures and he wasn't going to.
This is just a start. Please feel free to add more examples in the comment section with links if you have them. Once the list is more solid, I'll tweet it around. (I'm @njedwina on Twitter.)