Category Archives: no-bid contracts

Was Christie A Pay-to-Play "Pioneer"

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.

Here are the Facts:
Chris Christie was a George W. Bush Pioneer and helped raise over $350,000 for Bush. Gannett News Service, in 2003, asked, “What motivates a ranger or pioneer?” One of their answers was, “there’s political patronage as well. Three of Bush’s 21 New Jersey pioneers in 2000 won presidential appointments. Former Republican congressman William Martini was named a federal judge, Internet communications executive Clifford Sobel was named ambassador to the Netherlands, and former Morris County Freeholder Christopher Christie was named New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor.” The Star Ledger, in 2004, also indentified Christie as a Bush Pioneer. According to the New York Times, “He became counsel to the Bush campaign in New Jersey in 2000, while joining Mr. Palatucci to raise more than $350,000.” The Washington Post and Bergen Record have also reported that Christie helped raise $350,000 for George W. Bush [Gannett News Service, 11/7/03; Star Ledger, 11/19/04;New York Times, 7/21/04; Washington Post, 11/27/02; Asbury Park Press, Bergen Record, 10/10/02]

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

Christie is recklessly calling for tax cuts without a plan to pay for them – just like Bush. The Philadelphia Inquirer opined, “Christie, incredibly, says if elected he will cut income taxes and corporate taxes across the board. Sound good? You bet it does. But as this governor’s race progresses, Christie will need to fill in a few gaps of his own. He stands to inherit the same conditions that have been battering New Jersey’s economy for the past two years. For example, how would Christie balance the state budget while lowering revenue further through tax cuts? Corzine will have cut the budget in absolute dollars two years in a row. That’s unprecedented in any state, and especially in New Jersey. Tax cuts would require even deeper budget reductions by Christie. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but Christie was deliberately vague during the Republican primary campaign about how he intends to achieve even bigger savings in Trenton…. coasting time is over for Christie. Now, he must tell voters with specificity how he would tackle the same long-term problems more effectively.” [Philadelphia Inquirer 6/7/09]

The number of unemployed Americans has increased by more than 7 million since the recession began. According to the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.2 million.” [Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit

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Filed under Chris Christie, Corzine'09, John Ashcroft, New Jersey, no-bid contracts, pay-to-play, President Bush, U.S Attorney General