For immediate release:
While Chris Christie has been vocal during a 19-state campaign trip that ends today, his staff has little to say about who pays for the New Jersey governor’s extensive political travels.
Christie’s office claims it has no records, emails or correspondence concerning the trips – and that it is exempt from the rules that govern other state officials.
“I understand that third parties did pay for some of the governor’s trips…however, our office has not been provided with any such documents,” wrote Christie’s chief ethics officer, Heather Taylor, last month in a response to a request from New Jersey Watchdog.
New Jersey regulations require third-party organizations that fund the travel of state officials must disclose the payment arrangements in writing. The state agency or office is required to retain those records.
“It is my understanding that the Office of Governor is not subject to Treasury Circular 12-14-OMB, so we do not have any records,” stated Taylor. The governor contends he is not bound by state travel rules because of memos state budget officials sent to former governors Brendan Byrne in 1979 and Christine Todd Whitman in 2000.
As chair of the Republican Governors Association, Christie began a six-day road trip Oct. 29 to campaign for GOP gubernatorial candidates running in Tuesday’s election. His itinerary includes stops in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Michigan, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine.
The mission also serves as a pre-cursor for Christie’s anticipated run for the White House in 2016. It gives him opportunities to grab the spotlight, gather support and collect political IOUs while burnishing an image as a straight-talking leader.
But back home in New Jersey, Christie is developing a reputation as a master of double-standards. He campaigned for governor as a champion of “open and honest government,” yet often fights to stop the release of public records.
The story is now online at http://watchdog.org/180818/christie-no-travel-records/.