Tag Archive: David Samson

What’s Happening Today Fri. 01/17/2014

Chris Christie makes his first out-of-state political trip of the year to Florida to hold fundraisers in Naples this evening and Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach on Saturday to benefit the RGA and Gov. Rick Scott. He will spend Sunday in Palm Beach with wealthy donors at Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone’s home. Capitol Soup (“Florida news straight from the Source”) reported yesterday: “The Christie and Scott teams aren’t exactly forthcoming these days. What we do know is there are a series of closed-press fundraisers and no public events, which means either Chris Christie doesn’t want to answer questions about his scandal or Rick Scott just doesn’t want to be seen in public with Christie. We don’t blame either of them.” Not an auspicious start for our governor who is also Chairman this year of the Republican Governors Association.

The Democratic National Committee says, “Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (a U. S. Representative for FL 23) and Florida Democratic Party Officials will hold press events in Orlando on Saturday morning and in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon to respond to Governor Christie’s Florida trip and to discuss Rick Scott’s failed record.”

Subpoenas raining down on current and former Executive Office officials: Among those individuals now (or soon to be) learning they must supply documents to Assembly or Senate Committees are the Chief of Staff (Kevin O’Dowd), Chief Counsel (Charles McKenna), Director of Authorities Unit (Regina Egea), Deputy chief of Staff (Maria Comella), a recently fired Deputy Chief of Staff (Bridget Anne Kelly), and a prior Deputy Chief of Staff (Bill Stepien who left to become Christie’s Campaign Manager and is now jobless). Further down the chain is the Governor’s spokesperson Michael Drewniak, and off the chain are the Port Authority Chairman (David Samson) and a P. A. board member (Pat Schuber).

There are even more subpoenas to be issued that we don’t know about yet. Subpoenas are not synonymous with guilt but they sure are ominous. Here is Christie’s current list of Senior Staff members which seems to undergo continuous revision. Not in my memory has there been a scandal reaching so many members of a Governor’s inner circle, with four key Christie associates already jobless. Two of them are requesting the P. A. to bear their legal expenses.

The newest member of Team Christie is lawyer Randy Mastro, likened to a “legal alligator.” The Asbury Park Press adds more detail to his profile: “Mastro as Deputy Mayor of New York wielded a baseball bat during meetings to emphasize his points. Referring to his “we-hit-them-they-hit-us” approach, the Daily News called Mastro “the only trigger man in town who can make Giuliani look like Mr. Nice Guy.” Mastro will play a key role in deciding which inquiries are “appropopriate” and try to ignore or redact what is “inappropriate.” He and his law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutch will use crisis management techniques of damage control and containment. Not an easy job.

Port Authority answers Rockefeller committee questions but breaks no new ground. The P. A. met its deadline to respond to U. S. Sen. Rockefeller’s questions regarding Bridgegate but it relied largely on information from public testimony. It re-explained what its normal procedures are and stated the procedures were not followed. It refused to speculate “on the motivations taken behind actions at GWB” and said the issue is still under investigation. Sen Rockefeller concluded, “The Port Authority’s response provides zero evidence that the purpose of these closures was to conduct a legitimate traffic study.”  

What’s Happening Today Thu. 01/16/2014

Today attention is drawn to the Senate and Assembly as their new session begins and they establish Bridgegate panels. The Assembly has formed a committe with subpoena power consisting of eight Democrats and four Republicans chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). Its legal counsel will be former U. S. Attorney Reis Schar who prosecuted the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In the meantime Senate President Sweeney has announced the Senate will create its own separate panel, which appears duplicative of time, staff, resources and issues.

It might be more worthwhile to have each committee address separate matters – a two track inquiry. Much attention has been focused on the Christie administration, but equally important (and maybe more so in the long run) is the Port Authority administration which shares culpability. Its staff (naively) implemented the lane closures and did not inform the proper authorities. It’s PR department maintained “radio silence.” Some of its top executives were not sharing information. People appear to have violated procedures, and the result may well be in violation of federal and state laws. The performance of the agency in Bridgegate only highlights broader concerns regarding its overall performance.

  • Track 1 (Senate): The Port Authority: Investigate its exorbitant toll increases, wisdom/fairness of its investments in NJ, its cover up, its PR departrment and others ignoring requests for information from citizens, legislators and the press, its excessive number of political appointees, appointees from different sides of the Hudson not working well together, “culture of fear” indicated by key PA managers, role  and membership of the Board of Commissioners, procedures for  conducting lane closures and/or traffic studies, and its management structure (Why did Executive Director Patrick Foye say he could not fire Christie appointee Deputy Director Bill Baroni?  And what has to be done to ensure the procedures there work as they should?). Most of these issues are not criminal in nature but get to the heart of what appears to be a dysfunctional agency that needs significant reforms – and one which receives billions of dollars from NJ residents. This investigation would be more far-ranging than the efforts of U. S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)

  • Track 2 (Assembly): Bridgegate/NJ: Investigation of Gov. Christie, his Executive Office members (and some of their reportees), political appointees, election campaign officials and anyone else who appears involved in planning, implementing or covering up Bridgegate. Find out the who, when, how, why and what in this debacle. Some of this effort may uncover criminal and impeachable activities.

    To his credit NY appointee Executive Director Patrick Foye brought the lane closures to an end in September. He was right on point when his Deputy Bill Baroni, in an e-mail said, “There can be no public discourse,” and Foye responded, “Bill that’s precisely the problem, there has been no public discourse on this.” Foye further vowed, “I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision which violated everything this agency stands for.” Nonetheless four months later we have not heard what he discovered. Instead, The office of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman (NJ) announced that it had opened a preliminary inquiry after a referral from the inspector general at the Port Authority.  

    Read about the “Hall of Infamy,” Rep. Pascrell’s new bill, and the Governor’s schedule today below the fold.

  • What’s Happening Today Mon. 01/13/2014

    Today Gov. Christie is probably putting the finishing touches (after a massive rewrite?) of tomorrow’s State of the State Address. In the opening comments of last year’s address he said, “Just three months ago, we were proceeding normally with our lives …  Then Sandy hit.” His entire speech was about Sandy, the indomitable spirit of New Jerseyans, what his administration was doing about it, and how he was leading the way.

    Tomorrow I doubt he will say, “Just four months ago we were proceeding normally with our lives … Then Bridgegate hit.” It is unlikely his entire speech will be about lane closures and the subsequent cover up. Christie has to be extremely careful about what he says as another 1,000 pages of e-mails will soon be released and Transportation Committee Chair John Wisniewski has said he is about to release document and appearance subpoenas to former Campaign Manager Bill Stepien and former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly. New Jerseyans may have an indomitable spirit but they are being sorely tested by the revelations of nasty politics at play.

    Hopefully Christie will tell us what his administration is doing about this callous abuse of power and how he is leading the way. In his press conference on Thursday he said, “I’m not completed with those interviews yet, but when I am, if there is additional information that needs to be disclosed, I will do so.” Beyond the four close associates who have already lost their jobs, there are six other inner circle Christie colleagues who received Bridgegate e-mails at different points and could be complicit in a cover up (or of providing Christie with knowledge, before or during the lane closings, which he has denied). They are David Samson, Michael Drewniak, Charles McKenna, Maria Comella, Regina Egea, and Christina Renna. Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd, who has not been mentioned in the emails, served as Bridget Anne Kelly’s boss and hence seems either complicit or incompetent.  

    Regardless of what Christie says tomorrow he also stated during the Thursday press conference, “My promise to the people of the state is that if there’s any other evidence that comes forward that requires action to be taken, I will take it.” Let’s remember that statement and hold him to it.

    In the State of the State speech he will undoubtedly pat himself on the back regarding Sandy and jobs, neither of which is as rosy as he might portray it. He continues to seek tax reduction. He staunchly wants to “ensure each and every child receives the quality education they deserve,” which means more vouchers and charter schools. He might rail against the New Jersey Supreme Court and blather about reducing the size of government.

    Christie can be full of surprises so tomorrow he might try to divert attention away from Bridgegate toward some new media-worthy proposal. He has built up a brand (himself) and he he will try to burnish it. He also knows his speech will garner national attention. While he addresses concerns about New Jersey he will continue to promote himself as the ideal Republican candidate for the presidency. Not an easy task now.

    Today: Both the Senate and Assembly hold voting sessions with some 60 bills on each agenda. The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider seven Superior Court judge nominations including that of Robert Hanna, head of the BPU and previous nominee for the Supreme Court. Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee will consider a revised bill making changes to Jersey City’s pension fund. For more information go HERE. Tomorrow both the Senate and Assembly hold their reorganization meetings, and the 215th Legislature Second Annual Session becomes history.  

    Something is Rotten in Drumthwacket

    Conventional wisdom has it that the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge was done by Christie loyalists, most likely with a wink and a nod from the Governor, in order to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (or to punish Senator Loretta Weinberg, if you buy into the Rachel Maddow theory.)

    The problem is that this hypothesis makes no sense. If Christie wanted to punish Sokolich and the people of Fort Lee for supporting Barbara Buono, there would be subtler and more effective ways of doing so.

    Does anyone really believe that a tie-up at the bridge and subsequent jams in the streets of Fort Lee would be immediately pinned on the mayor? Were there any editorials in the local papers on the day of the traffic jam excoriating Sokolich? Are Christie’s minions so incompetent that they think a traffic jam in North Jersey would point back to Sokolich or Weinberg?

    If Christie wanted to punish Sokolich, there are other, more direct ways to do so. His biggest club would be the fiscal one. Reducing state aid to a municipality or school district that he doesn’t like is Christie’s modus operandi. The state’s eminent domain power could be invoked to place undesirable things like high-voltage power lines or sewage treatment plants in the town. Another way that Christie could punish Fort Lee residents is to perpetuate traffic jams by cancelling the ARC tunnel. (Oh wait! He already did that.)

    There’s got to be more to this story than a short-lived traffic jam. Ideally, an independent special prosecutor should be brought in. Speaker-elect Prieto has indicated that he is amenable to extending the subpoena power of Assemblyman Wisniewski’s Transportation Committee. The Governor and his direct reports (Counsel Charles McKenna and Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd) must testify under oath about what they knew and when they knew it. Same for Christie’s mouthpiece, Michael Drewniak. Port Authority Chairman David Samson must testify under oath as to what orders he received from Trenton and what actions he took unilaterally. Until that happens, the stench of lies and obfuscation will permeate Christie’s second term.

    For now, the idea that Christie is taking political retribution on a mayor by creating a traffic jam makes as little sense as the “traffic study” explanation that was perpetrated by Mr. Wildstein.

    Why did Christie meet with Port Authority Chief days before “the email”?

    One thing that jumped out at me in looking over the stories of the newly released 900 pages of documents was this little nugget from Assemblyman Wisniewski, who is leading the investigation (emphasis mine):

    Secondly, the documents submitted by David Wildstein and his attorney are documents they deemed specifically related to the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge as per our subpoena request. Included in these documents is a reference to what appears to be a meeting between Port Authority Chairman David Samson and the governor one week before Bridget Kelly issued the order to cause ‘traffic problems’ in Fort Lee. By submitting these documents, Mr. Wildstein is telling us they are related to the lane closures in some way. The question that demands answering is how?

    In and of itself, this would be a pretty important factoid and some curious timing, given that Christie said yesterday that he doesn’t really know what all 65,000+ state employees are doing.  But in doing his damage control, Christie had this to say about Samson:  

    Christie did say that he met for two hours with Samson, the former state attorney general whom he appointed as Port Authority chairman, and that he was confident that Samson had no involvement in the Bridgegate scandal.

    There is some very curious timing in the meeting between Christie and the Port Authority Chief he appointed and the email from Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff ordering the lane closures.  And now Christie is saying that Samson was not involved.

    If they met just days before the lane closures were ordered and neither of them had any involvement in the lane closures, and there is no traffic study, what went on at that meeting?

    What’s Happening Today Thu. 01/09/2014

    Throughout the course of BridgeGate there have been denials that the lane closings were orchestrated within the Executive Office and that political retribution was the motivation for closing the lanes. With yesterday’s published e-mails the cover up has unraveled. We now know why it was done. We still must learn the “who” – the co-conspirators in this plot.

    Yesterday we found out that Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly gave David Wildstein the go-ahead: “Time for some traffic problem in Fort Lee,” to which Wildstein responded “Got it.” The message would have been without context if there had not been prior discussion about closing the lanes. A little over two weeks later lanes were closed.  

    Does anyone believe that Kelly would issue such a directive, knowing there would be traffic chaos, without discussing the matter with her boss? If and when she testifies at a hearing she should be grilled on who else knew about the plan and particularly what role her boss Kevin O’Dowd, Chief of Staff, played in the matter. Didn’t he know about it and even give her the order? He had followed Christie from the U.S. Attorney’s office to the State House. He was now the gatekeeper, the giver of orders, conduit and  confidante, carrying out instructions of his boss, being sure that they were followed, and keeping his boss up to date.

    More recently Christie nominated Kevin O’Dowd to be our Attorney General – a position ill-suited for him if he was involved in ordering or covering up the matter. At an Assembly Hearing or a Senatorial confirmation hearing (if he should get that far) he has to be asked what he knew, when he knew it, and whether he issued the go-ahead to his Deputy. Even if one believes O’Dowd knew nothing initially about the plan, once the chaos ensued and the press and legislators demanded answers, the first person he would want to query would be his Deputy Director Kelly who was responsible for liaison with the Port Authority. Thus he should have found out the truth of the matter by mid-September.

    Given O’Dowd’s close relationship with the Governor, does anyone believe that he would not have discussed the matter with the Governor? Received his OK to proceed? Or later informed him that Kelly told Wildstein to go ahead? From September to January all we heard were denials. It is now apparent that at different points in time P. A. Board Chair and Christie confidante David Samson knew what was going on, as did Bill Stepien, Christie’s Campaign Manager. (Read Samson’s denial of any knowledge here, which seems at odds with the published emails.)  Yesterday Christie also denied any knowledge.

    Andrea Bernstein at WNYC reported in December “There was a lot of whispering during Christie’s re-election campaign that he had a ‘naughty and nice’ list, but no one had been able to prove it.” We don’t know who was on the “nice” part but from yesterday’s emails we learned that on the “bad” part Jersey City Mayor Steven Fullop was number 1 and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was number 2. Thus, the bridge closing as political retribution seems so much clearer. The list was out there and Christie operatives knew who was on it and felt empowered to take action.

    Christie said yesterday “Not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.” He goes on to say, “People will be held responsible for their actions.”  So it’s not just “a member of my staff” but its “people” who will be held responsible. The net of co-conspirators in the lane closing and the cover up is growing larger. There are doubts that this conduct was made without his knowledge and he will have a tough time extricating himself from that net.

    Stay tuned for Gov. Christie’s 11:00am press conference today and the Assembly hearing scheduled to start at Noon, which will be televised on NJTV and can be heard here.


    BREAKING: Top Christie aide tied to GWB lane closures

    UPDATE: Read the emails. Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock. It involves Christie’s Dep. Chief of Staff, Port Authority David Samson, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak, and Bill Stepian, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the new head of the NJ GOP.

    Here we go.

    Reporting from Shawn Boburg of The Record tracks the decision – possibly illegal – to create traffic chaos in Fort Lee via sudden GWB lane closures right into the executive offices of Gov. Chris Christie:

    Governor Christie’s deputy chief of staff told one of his top Port Authority executives that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” several weeks before controversial lane closures took place at the George Washington Bridge, according to sources.

    Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote in an email to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures, according to the sources.

    John Wisniewski, who as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee has been the lead on the legislature’s investigations, has already said that subpoenaed documents showed the order to close the lanes came from outside Port Authority. If this is true, it explains many things that before now made very little sense, including why the Port Authority would risk the safety of drivers, first responders and patients carried across the George Washington Bridge via ambulance to hospital or hospice.

    It suggests that the ‘political payback’ scenario of what happened may be credible: David Wildstein and Bill Baroni – Christie’s top men at Port Authority, claimed lane closures were a “traffic study”. But two things stick out here: (1) Closures came 2 weeks after Fort Lee Democratic mayor Mark Sokolich was asked to endorse Chris Christie, as other Dem mayors had done, and he refused (2) Port Authority professionals have already testified that Wildstein specifically ordered that Fort Lee not be advised of what was going on as it was happening. That is very inconsistent with Port Authority’s multi-layered practice of involving all stakeholders in all traffic flow changes, as PA engineers have testified.

    It explains why Gov. Christie ridiculed the press when they asked about speculation he engineered the traffic tie-up.

    It explains why David Wildstein was involved: Wildstein, the founder of PolitickerNJ and its mysterious “Wally Edge” master of insider political gossip, was given a high-level job created for him but without a job description. WSJ reports it was Wildstein who gave the order to close all but one local lane feeding into Fort Lee without informing Fort Lee. Wildstein, who reported Christie’s rise all those years at PolitickerNJ without disclosing he was a personal friend of Christie’s, has already resigned from Port Authority and has been summoned to testify at a legislative hearing tomorrow.

    It explains why no evidence of a “traffic study” has materialized: Wildstein and Bill Baroni, Christie’s highest-level political placement at the PA, claim the lane closures were part of a “traffic study”. That was contradicted by PA ED Patrick Foye days after. Foye says the closures likely broke state and federal law.

    It explains sudden GOP interest in subpoenaed documents: Yesterday, Assembly Republican Whip complained to the press that Republicans were told subpoenaed documents wouldn’t be made available to them until today, one day before the hearing. It was the first interest party leaders have shown in the case, which they’ve mainly ignored, ridiculed or shown indifference to.

    It explains why David Samson has been silent since this story became news: Samson, Port Authority’s Chair (a Christie nomination) and a close associate of Christie who ran Christie’s transition team and traveled with him to Arizona when Christie was installed as Chair of the Republican Governors Assn. Samson was also New Jersey Attorney General (2002-2003), who must know whether the lane closures broke state and federal law (as PA ED Foye said), which may now mean that he is implicated in an illegal act.

    Kelly, who lives in Ramsey, is one of three deputy chiefs of staff to Christie, in charge of legislative and intergovernmental affairs.  

    What’s Happening Today Tue. 01/07/2014

    BridgeGate: Will we or won’t we get answers?: The matter is heating up as we near Thursday’s Assembly Hearing. David Wildstein, Christie’s number two staff appointee to the Port Authority, has been summoned to appear before the Transportation Committee. From previous testimony we learned he ordered the lane closures and told the head of the GW Bridge not to inform the local authorities, which appears to be a violation of the law. Wildstein also told the Director of Bridges, Tunnels, & Terminals he would inform the P. A. Executive Director about the action being taken, but failed to do so. The result was days of unnecessary traffic chaos in Fort Lee for ambulances, fire trucks, school buses, and the general public.

    Transportation Committee Chair Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) has said subpoenaed documents “create the implication that this originated outside the Port Authority.” He added, “Redactions  and a lack of related correspondence among the 900 pages of documents he received last month obscure their meaning and context.”  

    Among the key questions are why were the lanes closed and were others in the administration involved? David Wildstein has some or all of the answers but he has retained a lawyer and may be subject to criminal charges. He could take the 5th Amendment to remain silent, or invoke the infamous Executive Privilege and not comment on communications with the Executive Office.

    Others know or could find out what happened but are saying little or nothing. Port Authority Chair David Samson (a Christie appointee) has refused all comment. P. A. Executive Director Patrick Foye answered some but not all questions at a prior hearing. Former Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni (another Christie appointee) testified (not under oath) that lanes were closed for a traffic study, but Foye said there was no traffic study. Christie who has downplayed the issue is known for browbeating people and could get to the bottom of the matter, but maybe he already has information which is not beneficial to his administration.

    There remain too many unanswered questions. The redactions and the fact that many documents under subpoena have not been produced suggest that ferreting out the truth will not be easy. If, as alleged, Chair Wisniewski has not yet made the documents received available to Republican committee members, he should do so today. The hearings on Thursday are likely to be interesting (and vituperative) but may not be illuminating. Assemblyman Wisniewski has shown determination in his investigation so far but after Thursday will need additional fortitude and legislative leadership support to continue until we get straight answers.  

    One of Many New bills Now on the Governor’s Desk:  

    S2995 (Sponsors: Sens. Weinberg and Madden) intended to counter an increase in discriminatory practices and treatment for the growing number of pregnant women in the workplace.

    Stop FEMA Now: This group’s motto is “We must keep flood insurance Affordable.” Member George Kasimos (Toms River) who advocates for Superstorm Sandy victims is going to meet with Sen. Robert Mendez in Washington today to attend a press conference to delay increased premiums. NJ Spotlight wrote a profile on him: Sandy Storm Surge Turns Homeowner into Unlikely Activist.

    Governor Chris Christie: 11:00am, Meeting with Hispanic Community Leaders and at 11:15, Dream Act Ceremonial Bill Signing and Remarks, Colin Powell Elementary School, 1500 New York Avenue, Union City. Gov. Christie  signed off on only half of the Dream Act, approving tuition equality but not state financial aid. It would be interesting to find out if some Hispanic leaders boycott the event.  

    9/11 Memo to Gov. Christie: Not Everything is About You

    Like everyone, I’m still dumbstruck by the events of September 11, 2001. I was in Detroit, not here. Detroit, sharing a river, bridge & tunnel with Canada, is the nation’s most vulnerable area to illegal entry. City was in lockdown. Travel between the two countries at dead-stop. On Woodward Avenue, National Guardsmen on jeeps with rifles on their shoulders.

    But I’ve always believed that September 11 didn’t happen to America, it happened to New York – and also to New Jersey & Connecticut. Because the people who died in the World Trade Center were our people. I can’t imagine what it was to be here. In the middle school, kids throwing up whose parents worked in NYC. The flyers. The smoke and steam visible from our cities on the Hudson.

    With the 10th anniversary coming, felt as deeply near the Pentagon, Christie’s usual bombast seems particularly unwelcome now. In the last few days, Christie has called Mayor Bloomberg, whose city deserves respect right now, a Napolean a dictator and a putz. I realize part of what he’s is after is to get recognition for Donald DiFrancesco, who was ever so briefly sitting as governor when 9/11 happened. That he wants a role for David Samson, Port Authority Chair, and not inconsequentially his appointee. That some of it is wanting to make sure NJ has a role in the commemoration, as we certainly had a role in the loss.

    But, even giving the Governor that benefit of doubt, most of his embarrassing kicking and screaming is simply typical Christie conduct.

    But as we come up to the worst national day in most of our lives, it’s time for the Governor to tuck away his tantrums, and show respect – with his own behavior – for that loss. It’s not the time for ungentlemanly name-calling or jockeying for position. Gov. Christie is the biggest of big wheels – okay, Governor, we all get it, bully for you. But arguing about the program? People died – try to keep your eye on the ball. Grow up a little before September 11, 2011. Try to remember that not everything is about you.

    Postscript: At a presser this morning at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, the Governor denied calling Bloomberg any of those things. I don’t believe him for a minute.

    A Man To Watch: Mike DuHaime – A Key Christie Operative

            He’s a remarkable talent. This guy has a lot of raw talent. He’s just got great judgment. – Karl Rove talking about Mike DuHaime in 2008

    Governor Christie who appears to be his own man, speaking from his seemingly singular gut with ideas that he says are his own, has in fact benefited tremendously from the skills and advice of key advisors. One such advisor is Mike DuHaime, who after serving in key positions in three national presidential campaigns, went on to become the lead strategist for Christie’s victory in 2009. DuHaime’s influence has been recognized in the press by both PolitickerNJ and TIME. He was ranked number 7 on PolitickerNJ’s 2010 Power List following Bill Palatucci, Mary Pat Christie, Jeff Chiesa, Steve Adubato, Rich Bagger, and David Samson. In 2010 TIME listed DuHaime in its “40 under 40” where his comments were indistinguishable from those of his boss: “The most overlooked issue these days is the unsustainable escalating costs of pensions, benefits and salaries associated with a public workforce.”

    This week we heard comments from DuHaime complimenting Christie following his speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington,“He didn’t go seek the attention. He did big things and then went and talked about it. He’s completely turned Trenton upside down.” Duhaime appears confident but self-deprecating, humble, likable and measured – the opposite of Christie. However, he does not act entirely behind the scenes and has spoken in public occasionally helping us to understand his influence better. Among other matters he has weighed in on strategy in the governor’s campaign, Reform Jersey Now, and has been teaching a popular course on “Political Campaigning” at Rutgers with Maggie Moran, his Democratic counterpart during the Christie-Corzine campaign.

    More beneath the fold