Chiesa will serve until after the election to fill the seat, currently set by the Christie timetable as Wednesday, October 16, after a primary currently set for a date in August. Chiesa has pledged not to seek to retain the office in the upcoming Senate election.
In appointing Chiesa, one day after Frank Lautenberg’s funeral and as his body lies in repose in the well of the Senate, Christie ignores the chance to do something more noble and more in keeping with the sensibilities of his constituents, choosing instead to pick someone high on the Christie food chain. Before Chiesa was New Jersey’s Attorney General, he was Chief Counsel to Christie. He met Christie in the law firm that once bore Christie advisor Bill Palatucci’s name (Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, now known as Dughi & Hewit). Chiesa followed Christie to the US Attorney’s office when Christie had that title; the Christie administration has several former employees from there in high positions. Chiesa headed up Christie’s transition team before the governor was sworn in in January of 2010.
Last year Bill Orr covered the still-ongoing public safety story of New Jersey’s privatized halfway house system, most of which were run by Community Education Centers (CEC). That’s the company run (till recently) by Bill Palatucci , former law colleague of both Chiesa and Christie and still in Christie’s inner orbit .(Palatucci extricated himself from the company even as the sister of a woman murdered by an escaped inmate at one of his facilities filed suit against CEC). There were serious questions about how the law firm all three worked for had set up Education and Health Centers of America as a “non-profit” allowed to contract with the NJ Department of Corrections and then pass the revenue on to CEC.
That same month last year the_promised_land wrote in Blue Jersey about a manuever by AG Chiesa that looked suspiciously political in the 2011 legal challenge to Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera’s election. His noted Chiesa may have been serving his political patron, Christie, in a way entirely inappropriate for the chief lawyer for the state’s interests – and not it’s governor’s political interests. He wrote Chiesa’s maneuvers looked like an effort to try to take out a Democratic Assemblywomen by manipulating legal arguments.
You’ll want to see the other side; what the Chris Christie administration wants you to know about Chiesa. So, below the fold, Christie’s release to press in its entirety.
Here in its entirety, is the release just sent to press following the governor’s announcement, entitled:
Meet Jeff Chiesa
Governor Christie’s U.S. Senate Appointee Has Spent More Than A Decade Fighting For And Defending The People Of New Jersey.
Jeff Chiesa has served as the Attorney General of New Jersey since January 2012. He received bipartisan support from leaders on both sides of the aisle, and was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the State Senate.
Responding To Hurricane Sandy: Chiesa helped lead the State’s Superstorm Sandy response involving handling logistics, rescuing victims from floodwaters, and protecting residents from price-gougers and scam artists. To date, 27 lawsuits have been filed against businesses for alleged fraud.
Chiesa served for two years as Chief Counsel to Governor Christie.
– Historic, bipartisan pension and benefits reform that will save New Jersey taxpayers $120 billion over the next 30 years.
– A 2 percent property tax cap and interest arbitration reform to rein in the cost of government.
– Major education reforms such as the Inter-District School Choice Program and the Urban Hope Act.
– $2.35 billion in tax relief for New Jersey’s job creators.
Chiesa served as Executive Director of Governor Christie’s Transition Team during which he oversaw a comprehensive review of New Jersey government operations.
Chiesa has over 10 years of experience in private practice.
Chiesa graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1987, and earned his Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America in 1990.