Chris Christie – Worst abuser of US Attorney travel

Once again, what Christie says should apply to everyone else and what applies to him are exactly the opposite.  Under “Christie’s rules”, seniors, the middle class, public employees, commuters, women and all but a privileged few must sacrifice as part of belt tightening.  But the other side of “Christie’s rules” is that Chris Christie gets to do what Chris Christie wants – regardless of the conflict of interest or hypocrisy.  Lead by example?  Not by a longshot.

Case in point: the just-released report by the US Department of Justice, Inspector General’s office on US Attorney travel that exceeded the Government lodging rate

In terms of the percentage of travel, U.S. Attorney C was the U.S. Attorney who most often exceeded the government rate without adequate justification. The U.S. Attorney provided insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification for 14 of 23 trips (61 percent) that exceeded the government rate.

And that is just from 2007 – 2009.

As always, emptywheel is all over this, just as we mentioned during the campaign as well – even when his expenses were approved by a subordinate, which is Rule number one on avoiding conflicts of interest.  Two of the many egregious examples include a 4 mile roundtrip trip from a luxury Boston hotel to and from the airport – costing $236; and a car service from the airport to his hotel in London (why is a US Attorney is taking overseas business trips again?) costing almost $600.

This was not a one -time thing, or even a few “transgressions”.  I’ll repeat: Chris Christie overbilled the US Government for excessive travel and luxury hotel costs more than every other US Attorney and for more than 60% of his total trips.

More from the report on Christie’s serial abuse:

U.S. Attorney C declined our request for an interview. In a letter to the OIG, U.S. Attorney C’s attorney stated that the U.S. Attorney was unable to provide “any other specific information” to supplement the travel documentation that we had provided to him for review.

In sum, we concluded that U.S. Attorney C did not comply with the travel regulations or show that his lodging costs which exceeded the government rate were appropriate. The U.S. Attorney or his staff did not make an adequate effort to determine whether the government rate was available within a reasonable distance of his meetings. Most of the justification memoranda that we found simply stated that the government rate was unavailable, but provided no substantiation for this claim. In four cases, there was no justification memorandum at all.

Way to set an example, Governor.  I guess when it comes to eliminating excessive government spending, that only applies to everyone else.

Comments (21)

  1. bluescat1

    His travel is  so expensive because the airlines probably charge him for 2 seats, sorry I couldn’t resist that one.

  2. speedkillsu

    120 – 0 …your entitled to a few extras …..even Babe Ruth got his own sleeping birth aboard the Zephyr  

  3. ken bank

    His tab for room service could have paid off the national debt.

    It costs extra for an over-sized bathtub and steel-reinforced king-size bed.

    And I’m sure The Great One didn’t start his day at those cheap breakfast buffets where all they give you is canned juice, stale bagels and danish, a small box of Cheerios, and powdered eggs with crummy sausage links that always remind me of something I stepped on.

    It takes a Big Man to catch all those criminals, and a Big Man needs a Big Breakfast; Champagne and caviar, smoked salmon, fresh bagels, prime angus steak and eggs benedict, only the best for the best lawman since Wyatt Earp.

  4. Senator Loretta Weinberg

    ……and Another Set for Everyone Else!”  MMMmmm where have I heard that before?

  5. speedkillsu

    Twelve of the 14 vouchers involved travel to five cities in connection with the case Christie’s U.S. Attorney’s Office pursued that ended with five companies in the hip and knee replacement industry agreeing, at a cost of $311 million in civil penalties, to new procedures and federal monitoring to avoid federal kickback charges…..Hmmmmm let me guess what 2 new jersey Senators had a hand in this now !  

  6. Rosi Efthim

    I think you struck a troll nerve. Multiple troll nerves.

  7. johnleesandiego

    Chris Christie better enjoy the spotlight while he can … in a few months he’ll just be a $200 question on Jeopardy.  

  8. speedkillsu

     Justice Department audit that criticised Christie for overspending on travel, by $2,176 over 14 trips, Obama’s boys  will have to do better than that ! Hell Corzine spent millions on a super secret report to privatize the tpk and were still waiting to see just how he spent so much !  

  9. Dvd Avins

    Despite the lack of effective oversight, the large majority of U.S. Attorneys rarely or never exceeded the government lodging rate.1 However, a small number of U.S. Attorneys routinely exceeded the government rate, by large amounts, with insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification.

    …we identified five [out of two hundred eight] U.S. Attorneys who exhibited a noteworthy pattern of exceeding the government rate and whose travel documentation provided insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification for the higher lodging rates…

    Every U.S. Attorney we asked to interview consented to an interview except for two, as detailed below….

    During 2007-2009, U.S. Attorney C [Christie] submitted 23 vouchers that included reimbursement for lodging. Of the 23 vouchers, 15 (65 percent) exceeded the government rate for lodging. After reviewing the travel documents and interviewing the U.S. Attorney’s secretary, we found insufficient justification for exceeding the government rate with respect to 14 of the 15 trips. These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.

    For example, U.S. Attorney C traveled outside of his district to Boston, Massachusetts, for meetings with representatives of a defendant company at the Nine Zero Hotel. U.S. Attorney C stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel at a cost of $449 per night, which was more than double the government rate of $220 per night in Boston. U.S. Attorney C’s secretary told us that it was a “coincidence” that these meetings were at the same hotel where she had reserved a room for the U.S. Attorney.

    U.S. Attorney C’s reimbursements for airport transportation costs were also noteworthy. For example, rather than take a taxi from the Boston airport to the Nine Zero Hotel in downtown Boston, a trip of approximately 4 miles, he prearranged a car service to and from the Boston airport to the hotel, which cost the government $236 round trip. In another example of excessive transportation costs, his car service from a London airport to his hotel in central London cost $562 round trip.

  10. Nick Lento

    This is the “great white hope” of the Republican party for 2012. No wonder he keeps on backing off when he is asked whether he’s running for the presidency.

    We are living in strange times. People complain about waste and abuse in government, but they vote for people who waste money and abuse their positions of power. And this story is just the tip of a large iceberg for Christie.

    The guy has a superficially refreshing tough talk attitude that can sound appealing on the surface……but when you dig a little deeper he’s just another self serving machine hack who is a shill for big business interests and the rich.

    The questions re Michelle Brown alone should have destroyed any credibility in Christie.   It’s obvious that his “friendship” with her has resulted, and continues to result to this day, in her receiving more than she would deserve as just a regular employee.

    It’s a pity that John Corzine didn’t have the will to engage in a real knock down drag out fight…..if he did he would have won hands down. Bullies are weak at the core. But that battle is over and the bully won. Now NJ will be paying a heavy price for four years.

  11. DabyTymnAbaby

    The questions re Michelle Brown alone should have destroyed any credibility in Christie.   It’s obvious that his “friendship” with her has resulted, and continues to result to this day, in her receiving more than she would deserve as just a regular employee.


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