Tag Archive: Chris Christie

NYC TV Picks Up Christie Story

Brian Thompson from NBC-4 earlier today asked Governor Corzine about questions being raised about US Attorney Chris Christie. Presumably this may run on tonight’s news.

    Brian Thompson: “Governor, on this U.S. attorney situation going on right now, there have been some intimations, including by a columnist for the New York Times, wondering if what Chris Christie did right before this past election – subpoenaing certain records having to deal with Senator Menendez may have been the manifestation of the politicization that is being seen elsewhere in the government. How much of a concern do you have that indeed your choice for U.S. Senate may have been caught in the greater web of White House politics?”

    Gov. Corzine: “First, I think I’ve said – almost as often as I have on other subjects that I think what the U.S. attorney is doing with regard to official corruption in the State of New Jersey is an important contribution to making sure that people serve the public’s interest, not their own. I think that he has been a very positive element of that. As I said at the time, I didn’t think the timing was…it was awkward timing. And I still think it was awkward timing. But I don’t think that is indicative of the politicization, but I thought it was awkward. You have your choice of whether you wanted to wait 60 days or not, and that’s, that’s a choice he made. But my own view is that he has been a very positive contributor to how we have stemmed…”

    Brian Thompson: “But you’re not ready to say though that the hand of the White House may have been involved?”

    Gov. Corzine: “I would have no reason to know. I don’t know whether the U.S. attorney has had conversations about that. You’ll have to ask him, not me. I don’t…I haven’t been invited into Karl Rove’s office or other people’s offices, so I don’t…I would have no reason to know.”

It’s good to see reporters are starting to ask questions, though I’m not sure what’s gained from asking Corzine. Hopefully they’re also asking similar questions of others.

It’s A New Week — Call Your Congressman

Congressman
Response
NJ2: Lobiondo No Answer
NJ3: Saxton No
NJ4: Smith No answer
NJ5: Garrett No Answer
NJ7: Ferguson No
NJ11: Frelinghuysen No

Over the past couple weeks we have been noting that there have been quite a few US Attorneys fired by the White House for not being political enough, and that our US Attorney is still employed after issuing subpoenas that have the appearance of partisan politics. [1, 2, and 3

The story has been gaining legs, and the questions about US Attorney for New Jersey Chris Christie are being asked.  Paul Krugman of the NY Times wrote a piece about it last week, and today we have a letter to the editor in the Home News Tribune asking similar questions.

Part off the story is that certain Republican members of Congress in Washington and New Mexico called their US Attorneys to put pressure on their offices to speed partisan investigations.  Blue Jersey is working to get our Republican delegation on the record by calling their offices and asking a direct question: “Did you call US Attorney Chris Christie or his office to inquire any investigation into Democratic politicians?”

We have Mike Ferguson (NJ7) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ11) on record as saying no, but two others haven’t answered and two others haven’t gotten a call from a constituent that we know of.

Today we’re going to suggest that you call your legislators and Executive Director Tom Wilson of the NJ Republican Party, as well, to get their answers.  Numbers are below.

This is how we can make change as Blue Jersey, folks!  Let’s get them all on the record.

Action Alert: Call Your Republican Congressman

Congressman
Did You Call?
NJ2: Lobiondo  
NJ3: Saxton  
NJ4: Smith No answer
NJ5: Garrett No Answer
NJ7: Ferguson No
NJ11: Frelinghuysen No

Last week as the US Attorney scandal was bubbling up to the surface Blue Jersey noted [here and here] that the issue was not only with those who were fired for not bowing to political pressure, but to those who may have and thus kept their jobs.  An example to be explored was New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who issued and spoke publicly about a subpoena helpful to the Tom Kean Jr. campaign against Senator Bob Menendez last fall.

Looks like others are picking up the scent.  Paul Krugman in today’s NY Times:

Mr. Christie’s actions might have been all aboveboard. But given what we’ve learned about the pressure placed on federal prosecutors to pursue dubious investigations of Democrats, Mr. Menendez’s claims of persecution now seem quite plausible.

In fact, it’s becoming clear that the politicization of the Justice Department was a key component of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a permanent Republican lock on power. Bear in mind that if Mr. Menendez had lost, the G.O.P. would still control the Senate.

Then Krugman makes the point that generated today’s Action Alert:

refused to soft-pedal investigations of corrupt Republicans.

In the last few days we’ve also learned that Republican members of Congress called prosecutors to pressure them on politically charged cases, even though doing so seems unethical and possibly illegal.

We know from former conservative attack dog David Brock that there was a coordinated attack on Democrats and progressives in the 1990s that continues to this day.  We know from Matthew Continetti that Republican members of Congress participated, including the K Street campaign.  In other words, this is not an isolated incident.

There are six Republicans representing New Jersey in Congress, and they need to be on the record whether they called Chris Christie about the investigation and subpoena issued last fall to the non-profit group that rented a house from Bob Menendez.

Please call or write yours (numbers after the jump) and ask, “Did you or your office contact Chris Christie with regard to the subpoenas issued last September on the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, or any investigation related to Senator Bob Menendez?”

Put the answers you get — with the name of the person who gave you the answer — in the comments below.  If they all answer, “No” then we have them on the record.  If they refuse to answer, then there may be fire.

What Kind of Democrats Suck Up To Chris Christie?

During last year’s Senate race, New Jersey learned exactly what kind of partisan hack George W. Bush appointed to be our US Attorney. Just days ago, Huntsu gave us an outstanding bio of Christie and his partisan use of the US Attorney’s office during the race.

Chris Christie is a former Republican Freeholder from Morris County who had the honor to be a Bush “Pioneer” in the 2000 election.  Pioneers are people who raised $100,000 or more for Bush Cheney 2000.  After Bush took office in 2000, Christie was appointed US Attorney for New Jersey.  Christie was also widely rumored to be a leading Republican candidate for Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat, and is the leading Republican to take on Jon Corzine for Governor in 2009.  In short, he has been a powerful and long-time partisan Republican, and has aspirations to enter politics again as a Republican some day in the future.

Today, in a press release that attempts to draw Senator Loretta Weinberg into a “scandal” that the BCDO is trying to claim involves her, presumed BCDO-backed Assembly candidate Ken Zisa has nothing but kind words for proven Republican partisan Christie.

“Where there’s subpoenas, there’s fire,” Zisa said. “Mr. Christie is known for treading carefully and deliberately. After months of denials, Weinberg, Johnson and Huttle will now have to contend with a full throttle federal probe of their most full throated supporter.”

What is Ken Zisa, Hackensack’s Chief of Police, doing wiping his feet on the entire idea of presumption of guilt? “Where there’s subpoenas, there’s fire?” You mean, ‘guilty until proven innocent?’ I thought it was the other way around in America.

And since when has Christie been “known for treading carefully and deliberately?” Didn’t that myth get blown out of the water last fall when he abused his power to turn the US Attorney’s office into an arm of the Kean Jr campaign?  Again, back to Huntsu.

In September, Christie issued a subpoena on a non-profit regarding their rental of a building from Democratic Senator Bob Menendez as he was in a rough campaign with Tom Kean Jr.  The subpoena came in what appeared concert with the Kean Jr. campaign’s post-Labor Day putsch on corruption issues, and knocked Menendez off message for weeks.

The subpoena was not issued quietly, either.

“The big issue of the subpoena is that, while ordinarily they are kept confidential, it was quickly known by everybody that this was issued,” said Rick Thigpen, a Democratic strategist. “You would certainly wonder was there anything so significantly pressing that it couldn’t wait till after the election.”

In fact, there was a lot of press regarding the subpoena – including comments from Christie – before the election and then a seeming silence since then.  This could be simply a loss of interest after an election, but there has also been no move on Menendez.  There was a very public subpoena and then it quieted down.

I’m not sure which is worse – Ken Zisa’s glowing comments about partisan hack Chris Christie coming from a Democrat, or his comments about the presumption of guilt coming from someone in law enforcement.

New Jersey and Reality TV

Alan Sepinwall has noticed that reality shows features Jerseyans that don’t made the state look good.  So, for those of you worried about Antonella on American Idol, I’d like to point how well New Jersey did today on reality shows.  Just imagine how embarrassed the people of New Mexico, Arkansas, California, Washington, Maryland, and more states feel as their U.S. Attorneys General testify to the House and Senate that they were fired after not bending to political pressure from the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans.  Good thing that New Jersey’s Chris Christie didn’t get fired, so we won’t see New Jersey trashed again on TV.

More on The US Attorneys Story

I’m doing this as a new diary simply because the previous one about US Attorney Chris Christie is so long that this update would get lost in the mass.

That diary raised questions about whether Christie had received or acceded to political pressure to investigate Democrats during last fall’s elections.  As many as US Attorneys have been fired or pressured to do so in the past few months, and some of them say it was because they refused to use their office politically to benefit the Republican Party.

Now Talking Points memo reports that the House Judiciary Committee sentsubpoenas the fired US Attorneys, and a lot more information may come out.

Remember Bud Cummins. He was the US Attorney from the Eastern District of Arkansas who got canned so Karl Rove’s opposition research chief could take over the job. Look closely at what he just told the Associated Press …

Cummins, U.S. attorney for Arkansas’ Eastern District from 2001-2006, said Thursday that he and other fired attorneys had “politely declined” previous requests from the committee. He said he “didn’t have any desire to stir up the controversy any further.”

“If given the choice, I’d elect to stay home and mind my own business,” Cummins told The Associated Press. “Now that I’m under subpoena, I’ll go and give cooperative, truthful answers.”

When asked if officials in the Justice Department or White House had asked him to decline the earlier requests, Cummins said he had no comment.

Again, one of those ‘no comments’ that says plenty.

This story may be getting bigger.  Again, we do not know how many US Attorneys got pressure to insert themselves into the political process in close elections, but we do know Chris Christie did insert himself in the Menendez/Kean Jr. campaign at a sensitive time.  We also know he has continued to issue subpoenas whenever NJ Democrats are making good news for themselves.

The House Judiciary Committee should not only subpoena the fired US Attorneys, but also ones who have not been fired.  They should start with ones who publicly investigated Democrats between Labor Day and the November election last fall. 

Unfortunately, there is no one from the NJ House Delegation on the House Judiciary Committee for us to call.

Some enterprising reporter should also ask US Attorney for the State of New Jersey Chris Christie if he received any such political pressure.  Christie has previously denied it, but with mounting evidence that others have been pressured the subject should be raised again.

Chris Christie Still Has a Job

UPDATE: Ooooh!  Congressional subpoenas of the Bush admin on firing US Attorneys.  What fun!

Over the past few months a major scandal has been brewing between the Bush administration and US Attorneys around the country.  Apparently the Bush folks have been pressuring a number of the most qualified folks out of their jobs as US Attorneys, replacing eight of them with party hacks and friends of Bush.  Early indications were that this was a patronage purge to reward friends, but it soon started to expand.

It turned out they could pull this stunt off because of a little-known – actually, almost unknown – provision slipped into the new USA PATRIOT Act by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) at the behest of the Bush administration that made it possible for the White House to install anyone they wanted in the post.  Previously, if the US Senate didn’t confirm the replacement in 120 days the court would appoint a replacement.  The new provision removed the court and allows the Bush folks to stick anyone they want in the spot indefinitely. 

All the Bush folks have to do is appoint someone as interim US Attorney and not submit them to the US Senate and suddenly there are no checks or balances on who can get one of those jobs.

Some of the US Attorneys who were, essentially, fired were the ones who prosecuted such Republicans as Brent Wilkes, former CIA Executive Director Dusty Foggo and former Congressman Duke Cunningham.  The strong suspicion is that these prosecutors were canned for partisan political protection and not for cause.

Then this week the US Attorney who was forced out in New Mexico, David Iglesias, maintains that he was let go because he refused to issue indictments for two Democratic politicians prior to November’s elections.  He suggested that the pressure came from Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM) refuses to say that he did not do the same.

So what does this have to do with New Jersey?  We’ve got a US Attorney, Chris Christie, and he has not been fired.

Quote of the Day

Yesterday, the US Attorney served “a volley” of federal subpoenas on both the Democratic and Republican leadership in the Senate and the Assembly.

“Trenton is on fire,” declared Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole (R-Essex), as news of the subpoenas broke. “This is equivalent to Rome burning.”

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Open Thread: What’s on your minds today, Blue Jersey?

Christie Subpoena Sparks Standoff

This morning, Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman of the Star Ledger report that U.S. Attorney Chris Christie has issued a “broad federal subpoena seeking internal memos, e-mails and other records that the Legislature generates each year when putting together the annual budget.”

The documents are at the heart of an inquiry by Christie that is focused on potential legislative conflicts, and specifically whether some elected officials steered money to nonprofit organizations or institutions that would have benefited themselves, friends or family, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.

…..

The subpoena grew out of a criminal probe of Sen. Wayne Bryant (D-Camden), one of the Legislature’s most influential members and former chairman of the powerful Senate budget committee.

Basically, Christie issued a subpoena for budget-related documents at the Office of Legislative Services, the Senate and the Treasury Department. The controversy came because it extended to “any documents pertaining to conflicts of interest for lawmakers and staffers” — unrelated to Bryant.

The Ledger reporters go on to quote legal and legislative experts on the unusual scope of the subpoenas, and possible conflicts due to separation of powers.

[B]oth sides will appear before U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper in Trenton on Wednesday to argue whether the Legislature can be forced to turn over records it considers confidential.