More Trouble For Chris Christie as Feds Probe Use of Sandy Relief Funds

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 13 2014 10:08 AM

More Trouble For Chris Christie as Feds Probe Use of Sandy Relief Funds

186219793-new-jersey-gov-chris-christie-shakes-a-mans-hand-during
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) shakes a man's hand during a meeting with first responders at Sayreville Engine Company #1 on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy on October 29, 2013 in Sayreville, New Jersey

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Still facing questions about Bridgeghazi, Chris Christie has a new/old headache this morning. CNN reports that federal officials are currently investigating accusations that the New Jersey governor improperly used millions of dollars in Hurricane Sandy relief funds to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Those accusations have been made by Democrats before—and it's worth remembering that at the moment they're just that: accusations—but the fact that the feds are now digging around will breath fresh life into the whole thing, all the more so given all of the attention currently focused on the George Washington Bridge. (Of course, it's also important to note that the investigation originated with a lawmaker on the other side of the aisle, a New Jersey Democrat with a history of criticizing his state's Republican governor.)

Advertisement

Here's CNN with the details of the investigation:

In the new probe, federal auditors will examine New Jersey's use of $25 million in Sandy relief funds for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore after Sandy decimated the state's coastline in late 2012, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone told CNN. ...
Pallone wrote that he was concerned about the bidding process for the firm awarded the marketing plan; the winning firm is charging the state about $2 million more than the next lowest bidder. The winning $4.7 million bid featured Christie and his family in the advertisements while the losing $2.5 million proposal did not feature the Christies.

It was Christie's strong performance in the wake of the superstorm that helped him both sail to reelection in the Garden State and establish him as one of the early front-runners for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. If the feds find Christie misused the relief money, that would obviously change the narrative around one of the governor's signature accomplishments. If nothing else, the probe opens a second front for his critics who are already on the offensive over the bridge scandal.

According to Pallone, the HUD inspector general has already finished a preliminary review of the Sandy spending and decided that there is enough evidence to call for a full-scale investigation. That audit is expected to take several months, however, so it could be summer before the IG's office issues its final report on the matter.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.