Tag Archive: coptergate

This video announcing Chris Christie was made at your expense.

New Jersey taxpayers, pony up.

This grandiose video was produced at your expense to build DRAMA for Christie’s (actually short and detail-deficient) Budget Address, which mainly concerned a supposed deal on pension reform Christie bragged had been reached with NJEA, which denied it repeatedly during the speech to whoever asked. Make sure you know A VERY IMPORTANT MAN was at this podium today. Big, BIG doings.

And right after the speech? Christie got in the state chopper to fly away so he didn’t have to cross any crumbling New Jersey bridges.* Not that he mentioned the Transportation Trust Fund – – at all.

* No, not really. thwack-thwock-thwock. But you did pay for the video.

How much did Chris Christie’s trip to cheer Dallas Cowboys cost NJ taxpayers? OPRA request: filed.

American Bridge has just asked Gov. Christie’s office to produce information about his Texas trip yesterday, where he cheered the Dallas Cowboys in owner Jerry Jones’ private box (where he did this). They’re seeking, among other things, travel records and expense logs for his air and ground travel, state police and trooper usage, private security expenses for Christie and any member of his family with him.

Read the full letter that just landed in Gov. Christie’s office on the jump page.

In this morning’s News Roundup, we highlighted an APP piece by Bob Jordan about Gov. Christie’s failure to account to New Jersey taxpayers how large a bill we’re all footing for his out of state travel, conducted not on NJ business but for his own political gain:

Christie in his political career and while he was U.S. attorney for New Jersey has been known as a big spender but secretive about how much public money is used for his travel.

Christie strayed outside New Jersey frequently over the past year on Republican Governors Association-funded political trips but there’s been no full accounting of costs incurred by New Jersey taxpayers on those trips. Christie has upcoming political trips to Florida, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, Iowa and Illinois.

It falls to news organizations or ordinary citizens to spend time trying to get Christie’s front office to cough up that info. Those requests, via Open Public Records Act (OPRA) are frequently met with delay or incomplete response.  Read the full OPRA request – below.

Chris Christie, Father of the Year

Today, Gov. Chris Christie was named Father of the Year by something called the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council, Inc.. No, I never heard of them, either. According to their site, men named Fathers of the Year “embody the ideals of family, citizenship, charity, civility and responsibility”. Christie as role model. Let’s review – below the fold.

What did Chris Christie see from his helicopter September 11th? Anything?

From Brent Johnson’s reporting today at Star-Ledger, Christie bridge scandal: Panel looking into whether governor flew in helicopter over Fort Lee:

Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie’s office, confirmed today that the Republican governor did fly in a helicopter from New York City to Trenton on Sept. 11 of last year – the third day of the closures. But asked whether the aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.

Despite full-throated non-denial denials from Gov. Christie, there are lingering questions of What did he know and when did he know it? Wildstein says he knew during, to which Christie responded by moving the goalpost and insisting he didn’t know before. Uh huh.

If all this is from a Wildstein tip, and the reason he says “evidence exists” that Christie knew during, is it enough to suggest that he connected what he saw below him with orders from his own Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly to Wildstein, of “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”?  We know Christie and Wildstein were together for at least part of September 11, 2013, during the lane closures, because WSJ dug up a picture of them together taken that day after Christie said he hadn’t encountered Wildstein “in a long time”. We know (also via WSJ) that Wildstein stood on the NJ side of the GWB on the first day Sept. 9th, watching the traffic chaos his order to Port Authority employees helped create. Was that the kind of thing an operative does to make sure his job is done as ordered? Did he show it off to Christie? We now know, via Christie’s office, that he choppered from NYC to Trenton on 9/11. Was Wildstein or somebody else up there with him? PA Deputy COS Bill Baroni? PA Chair David Samson? Both were with Christie and Wildstein in NYC.

Colin Reed, Christie’s new mouthpiece now that Michael Drewniak seems to be  in some undisclosed location doesn’t say Christie didn’t fly over the bridge. Or that he doesn’t know. He declines comment. Will that continue to be their answer?  

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…

  • Okay, this is just freaky.

    The little-legged Sarah Palin bouncing down the street. The GOP freak show outside Tony Randall’s stately apartment building. Nice work, showing what Christie steps on in the street, and Plus, good job working in Bachmann ‘n Pawlenty. But the best part? What’s on the back of the bus motoring down 5th Avenue past Palin. From the communications shop at the NJ Dems:

    Christie takes copter to beach house while proposing to limit beach access for rest of us

    Why, exactly, would Chris Christie try to hide his trips to the state’s beach house for the Governor in disclosing his copter trips?

    Could it be that the hypocrisy of taking the copter to the shore while simultaneously trying to restrict access to the shore for the rest of us?

    In Chris Christie’s beach access world, he gets to take a copter to the shore for the Governor’s exclusive beach house, on our dime. Similarly, people in places like Sea Bright and Mantoloking get us to pay for their beach replenishment projects – and then get to block us from coming to their beaches.

    Christie’s proposed beach access rules would allow towns to establish their own plans for access largely free of state standards. I’m sure that a town like Mantoloking would be happy for the opportunity to kick out the riff-raff (i.e. middle class).

    The common theme: we pay for the wealthy to have private access to the beach that belongs to all of us. All while they try to hide the ball from us about how we’re paying for it.

    I spent a nice evening last weekend on exclusive North Beach on LBI, which is a really nice place. I hope that I’ll still be able to go there next summer.

    #Coptergate Is Back: Who? Where?

    Oh, pesky facts. Why won’t you just go away? As reported by Jeremy Rosen over at the Courier-Post, documents released by the Christie administration in the wake of Coptergate don’t actually absolve the governor of any and all wrongdoing with respect to inappropriate use of state helicopters. The issue? Missing flight information; unnamed guests and passengers; contradictions between administration documents and other relevant records. Here’s a taste:

    Yet records show Christie’s Aug. 28 Newark meeting with city Mayor Cory Booker and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was surrounded with helicopter flights to the governor’s shore house. Further details of that flight were redacted, so it’s unclear if Zuckerberg or Booker were on board.

    Oh, pesky facts.