Promoted by Jason Springer: I always love when huntsu stops by to give her take and as usual, she doesn’t disappoint
For all of you who followed our work back when Blue Jersey was the lone voice talking about Chris Christie’s misuse of his office, this one is for you. For all of you who accused us of being on a partisan witch hunt, all I can say is ppppttttthhhhhhpppppptttttttttttt!
We already know Chris Christie used his prosecutorial powers to force corporations into paying his friends millions of dollars to watch over the business, thereby selling Get Out of Jail Cards to corrupt and criminal officers who got to keep their mansions unt deir yachts.
But now we find out that Chris Christie used those same powers and threats to get people fired who had committed no criminal offense or corrupt act.
Three years after being forced out of her high-profile post at the state’s medical school under a cloud of scandal, Vivian Sanks King — once the chief lawyer for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey — was quietly cleared by federal authorities.
In a rare letter last year from the office of then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, Sanks King was notified she “is not a ‘target’ or a ‘subject'” of the criminal probes into wrongdoing at UMDNJ.
So Chris Christie himself says that — in writing — that Sanks King did nothing criminal or illegal. And Christie’s job at the time was to unearth criminal and illegal behavior and punish the crooks. But King not being a crook didn’t stop Christie from forcing her out of her job.
Christie forced Sanks King and three other officials out of their jobs at UMDNJ before he would enter into an agreement that would keep the university from being prosecuted in federal court.
Christie threatened UMDNJ official sthat he would not enter into a deferred prosecution deal with them unless they fired Sanks King, essentially giving them two choices:
- Fire Sanks King, use millions of taxpayer dollars to pay Christie’s long term supporters (and future supporters) to review their work, and protect their careers and reputations by staying out of court (and maybe jail) or
- Keeps Sahks King, get indicted for their criminal acts, lose their livelihoods and reputations, and be ripped apart publicly by the US Attorney.
Needless to say, given that choice people who were engaged in corrupt or criminal acts are probably going to select the first option rather than the second. Loyalty among thieves, and all that.
Christie’s rationale for why it is acceptable for the US Attorney to force someone who committed no criminal or illegal act out of here job is that she was not good at it:
“When we entered UMDNJ in December of 2005, we found a publicly funded $1.6 billion-a-year institution which was violating multiple federal criminal and civil laws, had no legal compliance structure and had lost $400 million in taxpayer money due to fraud, waste & abuse,” Christie said in a statement. “As general counsel, Ms. Sanks King was the corporate officer responsible for insuring that UMDNJ complied with the law.”
Last I saw it was not a federal crime to be bad at your job. In fact, under Christie’s boss — George Bush — incompetence and failure on the job got you the Medal of Freedom.
Sanks King did nothing wrong to fall under the purview of the United States Attorney. The Board of Directors should have fired her, maybe. Or the CEO of UMDNJ. But as US Attorney Chris Christie did not have the authority, the mandate or the power to have her fired.
But he wanted her fired. So he used deferred prosecution agreements as a hammer to force her ouster though he had no right to do so because he was offended by her performance.
Is that someone you want as Governor of New Jersey, a position that is as or more powerful than any public chief executive in the United State shy of the White House?
Not me. Not me.
: And then there’s this, which brings up two points:
“The publicly reported facts that our multi-year criminal and civil investigation uncovered clearly prove she failed in her job and failed the taxpayers of New Jersey who paid her salary,” Christie’s statement said. “Not being charged with a crime is hardly an exoneration of that performance or a justification for continued employment.”
Chris Christie did not work for the taxpayers of New Jersey. Her failure on their behalf had no bearing on his job as US Attorney, and no matter how aggrieved he may have been at this failure it was not his job to set it “right.” By forcing her out of her job admittedly for state issues he misused his power, which is as bad as anything Sanks King did wrong.
Secondly, as clammyc says below, Christie has repeatedly defended his brother Todd by noting he was not indicted for performing hundreds of illegal trades on Wall Street. Christie can’t use a lack of indictment as a shield for his brother and a baton against Sanks King.
Unless, of course, you play by the rules known as It’s OK If You Are Chris Christie.