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.