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This is from The Guardian, who seems to have committed some journalism.

New Jersey grants $1.25bn in public funds to firms that back Republicans

• Most top subsidies since 2012 went to firms that donate to GOP
• Chris Christie appointed close ally to 'bank for business' role
• Critics decry 'gross politicisation' of economic development

Corporations that contributed millions of dollars to the Chris Christie-led Republican Governors Association and other GOP campaigns have received public funding deals worth almost $1.25bn from his New Jersey administration in less than two years.

A review of the 30 biggest corporate subsidies awarded by the state of New Jersey since Christie appointed one of his closest allies as head of the state’s “bank for business” found that 21 went to ventures involving firms that made significant donations to Republicans, or had senior executives who did.

About half made contributions, totalling $1.8m, to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the organisation that works to elect GOP candidates to statehouses around the US, since Christie became one of its senior officials. The New Jersey governor now chairs the RGA.

Others contributed millions more to Republican committees and candidates including Christie himself; 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for whom Christie was a campaign surrogate and senior fundraiser; and state senator Joseph Kyrillos, Christie’s former campaign manager.

Only one of the remaining nine subsidy recipients appeared to be strongly Democratic.

The Guardian’s findings prompted calls from Democratic state legislators and watchdog groups for reforms to the New Jersey economic development authority (EDA), which awards the subsidies and is led by Michele Brown, a close friend and veteran aide to Christie. Some favour barring firms that make political contributions from receiving state funding.

“It seems pretty obvious to me that we don’t have enough safeguards in place to make sure these awards are not going out based upon favouritism,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg, the co-chair of the New Jersey legislature’s select committee on investigation.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, her co-chair, said that Christie should be stripped of his power to appoint the EDA’s chief executive. “It seems to be part a pattern within this administration: the gross politicisation of what up until now had really been straight economic development,” said Wisniewski.

The EDA was in charge of distributing the Hurricane Sandy relief funds.It has been around for sometime. Previously it was staffed by a classic "civil servant": Caren Franzini who was an 18-year veteran of the authority and who had work with both Republican Democratic governers. Then in 2012 Franzini was replaced by Michele Brown who had no prior EDA experience, but who did have prior Christie experience: she was his aide when he was the state's US attorney. And they seem to have had an oddly close relationship. Wikipedia:
On August 18, 2009, Governor Chris Christie acknowledged that he had loaned $46,000 to Brown in 2007, while serving as her superior as the state's U.S. attorney, and that he had failed to report either the loan or its monthly $500 interest payments on both his income tax returns and his mandatory financial disclosure report to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
In case it isn't clear: she had no prior development experience before becoming the head of the EDA.

Heck of a job, Brownie!

Originally posted to SantaFeMarie on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Christie Watch.

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