Christie flights triple since Coptergate

helicopterUPDATE: Ledger now featuring this story along with a fresh quote from Christie: “We’ve only used it for business purposes. When I have to use it for political purposes, we make sure we pay it back.”

(Huh? Why does he ever have to use state resources to further his own political position? And why is he allowed to borrow against state resources for political purposes?)



Bloomberg/Business Week put some numbers to Chris Christie’s routine commandeering of the $12.5 million state police helicopter this morning. Ordinarily, we might trust a governor to make his own decisions about how to motor around. But this is New Jersey. We’ve had a governor who nearly killed himself speeding without a seat belt. Now we have one who squires around in a chopper, frequently using that 55-foot Homeland Security resource – designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political or family events. And that’s something the public should nose into, particularly when the governor in question styles himself fiscally responsible, and tells other public workers to tighten their belts and seems to think his constituents laze around waiting for government cheese (which offends us and Tom Moran, too.

Over at Bloomberg, they requested documents, and pulled out the calculators. Whole Christie Airborne for WrestleMania as Helicopter Flights Triple, is worth reading. But I’ll summarize:

Christie choppers to announce WrestleMania (Feb. 16):

  • 36 minutes

  • Cost: about $1,500

  • Time saved: about 36 minutes

  • Other Christie copter trips same week: to NYC for speech to pro-Israel group, Super Bowl rally for NY Giants, Caldwell “Town Hall” where he urged towns to cut costs.

    “Christie, 49, a first-term Republican who has slashed lawmakers’ spending requests and criticized officials who abuse taxpayer-funded perks, has more than tripled his use of state helicopters since June, when Democrats chided him for using the aircraft to get to political and personal events.”                  –Bloomberg

    Christie use of state chopper over 9 months:

  • 64 trips total (reported) = about 1 every 4 days

  • 5 stops to Mendham home or vacation house (each, 50 mi from State House)

  • Crew has to fly anyway. But chopper operating cost = $2,500/hr

  • Half the flights: bill signings, announcements, swearing-in events, speeches, “Jersey Comeback” events. Trips for Hurricane Irene = 3. NYC trips for interviews, receptions, meetings = 9. Trips to comfort family of soldier killed in Afghanistan = 2 (same soldier, arrival of body, then funeral)

    Total cost of Christie state helicopter use since taking office: $217,000.

    Christie actions taken during this time:

  • Asked public workers to cede negotiated benefits to trim government

  • cut out $1B added by Dems in $29.7B budget for schools, police & tax credits for working poor

    What Christie did that makes people pay attention to the chopper

  • Flew it to his kid’s high school ballgame (riding 300 yards in a SUV (taxpayers) instead of the deluxe golf cart made available (free), then Princeton for Iowa GOP bigwigs.

    Below the fold Fun facts! GOP ponies up (not much, only after public outcry).


    Just another dad at a school baseball game…

    Fun facts:

  • Fun fact to know about New Jersey: 5th-smallest U.S. state

  • Fun fact about Pennsylvania: 6x the size of NJ. GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has used state police chopper 6 times since taking office, half those flights to inspect flood damage
  • Fun facts to know about Christie’s passengers: None. Passenger names besides Gov. Christie and LG Guadagno are blacked out. We don’t know if passengers were personal friends, political cronies (Romney?) or on official NJ business.
  • Chopper history: McGreevey choppered more (277/1st yr), so did Kean ‘n Florio (Corzine paid own way, post crash more liberal use of choppers was advised).

    Reimbursements to the state, from:

  • NJ Republican State Committee: $994.97

  • PA Republican State Committee: $746.23

  • Romney campaign: $$ Mystery $$. Romney campaign has not replied to requests for figure for Christie trip to Parsippany Romney event
  • Christie flights triple since Coptergate

    UPDATE: Ledger now featuring this story along with a fresh quote from Christie: “We’ve only used it for business purposes. When I have to use it for political purposes, we make sure we pay it back.”

    (Huh? Why does he ever have to use state resources to further his own political position? And why is he allowed to borrow against state resources for political purposes?)



    Bloomberg/Business Week put some numbers to Chris Christie’s routine commandeering of the $12.5 million state police helicopter this morning. Ordinarily, we might trust a governor to make his own decisions about how to motor around. But this is New Jersey. We’ve had a governor who nearly killed himself speeding without a seat belt. Now we have one who squires around in a chopper, frequently using that 55-foot Homeland Security resource – designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political or family events. And that’s something the public should nose into, particularly when the governor in question styles himself fiscally responsible, and tells other public workers to tighten their belts and seems to think his constituents laze around waiting for government cheese (which offends us and Tom Moran, too.

    Over at Bloomberg, they requested documents, and pulled out the calculators. Whole Christie Airborne for WrestleMania as Helicopter Flights Triple, is worth reading. But I’ll summarize:

    Christie choppers to announce WrestleMania (Feb. 16):

  • 36 minutes

  • Cost: about $1,500

  • Time saved: about 36 minutes

  • Other Christie copter trips same week: to NYC for speech to pro-Israel group, Super Bowl rally for NY Giants, Caldwell “Town Hall” where he urged towns to cut costs.

    “Christie, 49, a first-term Republican who has slashed lawmakers’ spending requests and criticized officials who abuse taxpayer-funded perks, has more than tripled his use of state helicopters since June, when Democrats chided him for using the aircraft to get to political and personal events.”                               –Bloomberg

    Christie use of state chopper over 9 months:

  • 64 trips total (reported) = about 1 every 4 days

  • 5 stops to Mendham home or vacation house (each, 50 mi from State House)

  • Crew has to fly anyway. But chopper operating cost = $2,500/hr

  • Half the flights: bill signings, announcements, swearing-in events, speeches, “Jersey Comeback” events. Trips for Hurricane Irene = 3. NYC trips for interviews, receptions, meetings = 9. Trips to comfort family of soldier killed in Afghanistan = 2 (same soldier, arrival of body, then funeral)

    Total cost of Christie state helicopter use since taking office: $217,000.

    Christie actions taken during this time:

  • Asked public workers to cede negotiated benefits to trim government

  • cut out $1B added by Dems in $29.7B budget for schools, police & tax credits for working poor

    What Christie did that makes people pay attention to the chopper

  • Flew it to his kid’s high school ballgame (riding 300 yards in a SUV (taxpayers) instead of the deluxe golf cart made available (free), then Princeton for Iowa GOP bigwigs.

    Below the fold Fun facts! GOP ponies up (not much, only after public outcry).


    Just another dad at a school baseball game…

    Fun facts:

  • Fun fact to know about New Jersey: 5th-smallest U.S. state

  • Fun fact about Pennsylvania: 6x the size of NJ. GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has used state police chopper 6 times since taking office, half those flights to inspect flood damage
  • Fun facts to know about Christie’s passengers: None. Passenger names besides Gov. Christie and LG Guadagno are blacked out. We don’t know if passengers were personal friends, political cronies (Romney?) or on official NJ business.
  • Chopper history: McGreevey choppered more (277/1st yr), so did Kean ‘n Florio (Corzine paid own way, post crash more liberal use of choppers was advised).

    Reimbursements to the state, from:

  • NJ Republican State Committee: $994.97

  • PA Republican State Committee: $746.23

  • Romney campaign: $$ Mystery $$. Romney campaign has not replied to requests for figure for Christie trip to Parsippany Romney event
  • Christie flights triple since Coptergate

    UPDATE: Ledger now featuring this story along with a fresh quote from Christie: “We’ve only used it for business purposes. When I have to use it for political purposes, we make sure we pay it back.”

    (Huh? Why does he ever have to use state resources to further his own political position? And why is he allowed to borrow against state resources for political purposes?)



    Bloomberg/Business Week put some numbers to Chris Christie’s routine commandeering of the $12.5 million state police helicopter this morning. Ordinarily, we might trust a governor to make his own decisions about how to motor around. But this is New Jersey. We’ve had a governor who nearly killed himself speeding without a seat belt. Now we have one who squires around in a chopper, frequently using that 55-foot Homeland Security resource – designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political or family events. And that’s something the public should nose into, particularly when the governor in question styles himself fiscally responsible, and tells other public workers to tighten their belts and seems to think his constituents laze around waiting for government cheese (which offends us and Tom Moran, too.

    Over at Bloomberg, they requested documents, and pulled out the calculators. Whole Christie Airborne for WrestleMania as Helicopter Flights Triple, is worth reading. But I’ll summarize:

    Christie choppers to announce WrestleMania (Feb. 16):

  • 36 minutes

  • Cost: about $1,500

  • Time saved: about 36 minutes

  • Other Christie copter trips same week: to NYC for speech to pro-Israel group, Super Bowl rally for NY Giants, Caldwell “Town Hall” where he urged towns to cut costs.

    “Christie, 49, a first-term Republican who has slashed lawmakers’ spending requests and criticized officials who abuse taxpayer-funded perks, has more than tripled his use of state helicopters since June, when Democrats chided him for using the aircraft to get to political and personal events.”                               –Bloomberg

    Christie use of state chopper over 9 months:

  • 64 trips total (reported) = about 1 every 4 days

  • 5 stops to Mendham home or vacation house (each, 50 mi from State House)

  • Crew has to fly anyway. But chopper operating cost = $2,500/hr

  • Half the flights: bill signings, announcements, swearing-in events, speeches, “Jersey Comeback” events. Trips for Hurricane Irene = 3. NYC trips for interviews, receptions, meetings = 9. Trips to comfort family of soldier killed in Afghanistan = 2 (same soldier, arrival of body, then funeral)

    Total cost of Christie state helicopter use since taking office: $217,000.

    Christie actions taken during this time:

  • Asked public workers to cede negotiated benefits to trim government

  • cut out $1B added by Dems in $29.7B budget for schools, police & tax credits for working poor

    What Christie did that makes people pay attention to the chopper

  • Flew it to his kid’s high school ballgame (riding 300 yards in a SUV (taxpayers) instead of the deluxe golf cart made available (free), then Princeton for Iowa GOP bigwigs.

    Below the fold Fun facts! GOP ponies up (not much, only after public outcry).


    Just another dad at a school baseball game…

    Fun facts:

  • Fun fact to know about New Jersey: 5th-smallest U.S. state

  • Fun fact about Pennsylvania: 6x the size of NJ. GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has used state police chopper 6 times since taking office, half those flights to inspect flood damage
  • Fun facts to know about Christie’s passengers: None. Passenger names besides Gov. Christie and LG Guadagno are blacked out. We don’t know if passengers were personal friends, political cronies (Romney?) or on official NJ business.
  • Chopper history: McGreevey choppered more (277/1st yr), so did Kean ‘n Florio (Corzine paid own way, post crash more liberal use of choppers was advised).

    Reimbursements to the state, from:

  • NJ Republican State Committee: $994.97

  • PA Republican State Committee: $746.23

  • Romney campaign: $$ Mystery $$. Romney campaign has not replied to requests for figure for Christie trip to Parsippany Romney event
  • Comments (5)

    1. Swamp Watch

      One duty of those state helicopters is for medical emergencies and emergency assistance – so Christie’s reference to Governor Corzine is deeply ironic because by using the state helicopter for politicking and family fun Christie is ensuring that the state helicopter would be unable to respond to car accidents and medical emergencies like the kind Governor Corzine suffered.  

      Reply
    2. deciminyan

      Christie’s use of the chopper for personal and political gain is a blatant misuse of state funds. Sure, getting there in a black SUV may take a bit longer, but it’s a lot less expensive. And if our lazy governor has work to do, buy him a laptop with an air card along with a cell phone, and he can work from the SUV while travelling across the state.

      Reply
    3. True Sue

      The helicopters are normally used for state business. McGreevey, who has taken a total of 272 trips while  in  office, has also used it 14 times for personal trips, including once for a trip for a New Jersey lawmaker’s wedding.Or  his trip to Ireland in that cost in excess of $70,000 – despite assertions by the administration at the time that it would cost only $20,000.

      McGreevey went on the trip with his wife, Dina, eight government officials, and three state troopers on the governor’s security detail. The governor flew first class, and while there, stayed in a $400-a-night suite and used the services of a chauffeur in a Mercedes-Benz.

      Reply

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