The latest Corzine ’09 campaign ad that was released today clarifies the connections between Chris Christie and his “Pioneer” status for his massive political contributions to George Bush, and his subsequently being named as U.S. Attorney—a classic example of pay to play. Once he purchased his office, Christie brazenly awarded his political allies and fellow Bush cronies millions in no bid contracts.
Chris Christie was named U.S. Attorney in return for his Bush fundraising. A Star Ledger editorial, in 2001, decried Christie’s appointment to U.S. Attorney and stated, “What Christie brings to the table is excellent political connections. He has energetically raised money for various candidates, including George W. Bush in 2000, and his mentor and law partner is William Palatucci, a friend of the President and a powerful figure in the state GOP… It is common for U.S. attorneys to have political ties, but Christie’s party links are closer than most. This is a patronage appointment, plain and simple. This is a distinguished position, one of the most important jobs in the state. It should not become a political plum.” The New York times reported that “after the Bush victory, Mr. [Bill] Palatucci sent Mr. Christie’s resume to Karl Rove, the president’s chief strategist. Mr. Bush, who dubbed Mr. Christie ”Big Boy” (an apparent reference to his hulking frame), chose him for United States attorney.” [Star Ledger, 9/7/01; New York Times, 7/21/04]
Christie went soft on crime by refusing to indict companies that ripped off the American public. Chris Christie decided not to indict several companies; instead, he gave them deferred prosecutions agreements. As the Gloucester County Times noted, these “agreements basically let potential corporate criminals go free in exchange for paying millions to have ‘monitors’ oversee their affected operations.” In an editorial titled “Going Soft on Corporate Crime,” the New York Times described deferred prosecution agreements as “cozy deals” and wrote, “Federal prosecutors have been regularly offering settlements to companies for wrongdoing that, in previous administrations, would likely have led to criminal charges. It is another disturbing example of how [the Bush] administration has taken the justice out of the Justice Department…. The cost [of deferred prosecution agreements] to the public and the rule of law is too high. If corporations believe that they can negotiate their way out of a prosecution, the deterrent effect of the criminal law will inevitably be weakened.” [Gloucester County Times, 6/27/09; Associated Press, 6/24/09; New York Times, 4/10/08]
Chris Christie awarded Bush cronies millions in no-bid contracts. “When the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey needed to find an outside lawyer to monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges out of court last fall, he turned to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, his onetime boss. With no public notice and no bidding, the company awarded Mr. Ashcroft an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million…. The New Jersey prosecutor, United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, directed similar monitoring contracts last year to two other former Justice Department colleagues from the Bush administration, as well as to a former Republican state attorney general in New Jersey.” [New York Times, 1/10/08]
Chris Christie is pushing for the same Bush economic policies that wrecked our economy. Chris Christie’s proposed economic policies include Bush re-treads such as tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and opposition to government regulations that protect the public. Christie has pledged to cut income taxes for the “very top of the wage scale.” Christie has also said “it will be a priority for the Christie administration to reduce corporate business tax rates.” While Christie has been vague on specifics, he has consistently voiced broad opposition to government regulations and has said he will “rollback,” “rescind” and “freeze” New Jersey regulations. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance regulations include “consumer protections through the regulation of 16 types of businesses that provide a variety of consumer financial services.” The Department regulates “state-chartered credit unions through on-site examinations and report filings to ensure safety and soundness, as well as compliance with applicable state and federal laws.” [Fox News, Neil Cavuto, 5/4/09; 55 Way Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey, http://www.votesmart.org/speech_detail.php?sc_id=459712&keyword=&phrase=&contain=; Gannet News, 5/16/09; 88 Ways Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_banking/index.htm