Well, well, well. Not two hours ago, as I write this, I said I hoped the Corzine campaign would shift away from personal snipes about tangential stuff like Christie’s girth, to more substantial questionable stuff on the guy’s wobbly ethical compass.
Like maybe today’s news that Christie held stock in a company even while investigating them as United States Attorney. Star-Ledger:
Chris Christie bought and sold stock in a travel and real estate company while it was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office he led at the time, according to public records. Christie, now the Republican candidate for governor, purchased shares of Cendant Corp. in 2004 and sold them in 2005, according to financial disclosure reports he filed with the Justice Department. In 2002, his office had renewed an investigation into Cendant, leading to fraud convictions of two of its former top executives in 2005 and 2007.
What I haven’t seen anywhere today is that Cendant’s name also pops up in the list of the seven deferred prosecution agreements Christie was called to testify about before Congress, the day Christie went (briefly) to Washington:
— John Carley. A former Cendant Corp. vice president and Federal Trade Commission lawyer under President Reagan, Carley was on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 New York fundraising team. He oversaw a nonprosecution agreement involving Stryker Orthopedics.
Why do the same names keep popping up in Chris Christie’s history? Why are so many of them Bush insiders, or high donors to marquee Republican campaign’s like John McCain’s? Doesn’t Christie know anybody else?
Christie’s answers today on how he came to be holding Cendant while also investigating Cendant seem a little unsteady to me. He acknowledged he saw Cendant on his disclosure reports, but says his financial adviser bought and sold the stocks without his knowledge. He denies making either decision himself. It all sounds plausible. But given Christie’s incredibly casual attitude towards financial disclosure and to the truth in general when he has something to gain or lose, this deserves all the scrutiny in the world.