On the heels of what was almost certainly the worst week in Governor Chris Christie’s professional career, we found out this morning that the federal government is formally conducting a probe into “whether Christie improperly used those relief funds to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family.”
The Inspector General’s audit isn’t unusual but the timing of the announcement is curious…
Frank “Monkey Court” Pallone and Rand Paul have both publicly questioned the GOP Governor’s use of $25 million in federal Sandy relief funds for TV commercials over the past several months, a charge which I’ve always thought was more than a little ridiculous particularly given the billions of other wasted or unused dollars from the Sandy package. But that’s politics for you.
“Pallone told CNN that the inspector general conducted a preliminary review of the spending and concluded that there was enough evidence to launch a full-scale investigation into the state’s use of federal funds,” reported the cable news network on Monday morning. “The audit will take several months, and the findings will be issued in an official report, he said. Pallone, a 27-year veteran of the House and vocal Christie critic, said this is not about politics.”
Of course it isn’t! Frank Pallone recently said he supports “whatever it takes” to sell Obamacare; I’m sure he meant punitive investigations of its critics, too. All despite the fact that the Obama Administration previously approved the ads at-issue?
The difference now as opposed to when Pallone first asked for scrutiny: Chris Christie isn’t in a position of strength this time around.
Four of his subordinates have already fallen (Kelly, Baroni, Wildstein and Stepien), but his enemies aren’t satisfied. Over the past couple of days, media stories have cropped up questioning the involvement of Regina Egea, Michael Drewniak (the press secretary loathed by the media) and Matt Mowers (a field director in 2013 who recently took the reins of the New Hampshire GOP); I warned you that the media would turn on him at the first logical opportunity. It should also surprise no one that the Governor’s South Jersey Machine allies are enacting greater subpoena powers to further their own legislative inquiries. You can expect long-worn scandal territory from years past to be revisited on a TV near you very, very soon…
Democrats and their allies see this as a win-win situation. Worst case scenario: Chris Christie has a difficult time putting out fires at home AND managing his RGA/presidential campaign-building responsibilities nationally. Best case scenario? They catch a big fish in a big lie.
VIDEO – Obama’s HUD Secretary Praises Gov. Christie (Feb 2013)