Thursday, August 28, 2014
NJ WATCHDOG: 'Christie slept here' is state secret
For immediate release:
“Chris Christie slept here” is not a historical marker. It’s a state secret in New Jersey, according to the governor’s lawyers.
The attorney general’s office is trying to block release of records that identify which hotels Gov. Christie stayed while traveling on state business at taxpayers’ expense. The lodging receipts are among the documents sought by a New Jersey Watchdog reporter in a public records suit against the governor’s office filed in Mercer County Superior Court.
“In the opinion of the State Police, releasing that information could put the governor’s physical safety in danger,” argued Deputy Attorney General Todd Wigder last week in a brief to Judge Mary C. Jacobson.
How could records of past trips from 2012 and 2013 possibly jeopardize Christie’s present and future safety? Well, those reasons are also secret, detailed in a hush-hush certification by Kevin Cowan, acting State Police captain.
Cowan’s statement will “reveal exactly the tactical decision-making that cause them to deem this information confidential in the first place,” wrote Wigder. “This can only be done under seal, for the court’s eyes only.”
Concealing the records from the public could hide possible abuses by Christie, who has argued that he is exempt from his administration’s travel rules for state officials.
Wigder is asking Jacobson to accept the Cowan certification as evidence without allowing the plaintiff a chance to review it and respond. The judge is tentatively slated to consider the motion in court on Sept. 19.
Before taking office as New Jersey governor, Christie already had a reputation as a high-rolling traveler when taxpayers are footing the bill.
The full story is now online at http://watchdog.org/166913/christie-travel-secret/.