After vetoing a bill that would have had an independent entity audit the costs of Sandy cleanup, Governor Christie asked the State Comptroller, Matthew Boxer, to determine whether AshBritt, a company steeped in GOP influence is performing ethically and effectively. Boxer will also audit other companies involved in Sandy recovery.
Boxer, an attorney, was appointed by Jon Corzine to a six year term which will expire in January, 2014 – the same time that either Christie is sworn in for a second term or more hopefully, Barbara Buono is sworn in as Governor.
I’ve met Matt Boxer a few times, and I believe he is a man of integrity and some of the work that his office has done has helped save money and improve efficiency among state agencies. But this is not about Boxer’s efficacy in his job.
There are two problems with appointing Boxer to evaluate AshBritt.
First, Boxer is a high-ranking member of the Christie administration. Given the political and ethical allegations against AshBritt, even if Boxer’s investigation is impeccable, there will always be a shadow over the conclusions. Only an audit team truly independent from Christie’s influence would have the credibility that is required in this situation.
Second, auditing Sandy relief is a big job. We’re talking about billions of dollars here. Has anyone in the mainstream media asked whether Boxer’s existing staff has the resources to handle this? Will additional auditors be added to his office? Or will other investigations get the short shrift, enabling other financial shenanigans and inefficiencies to go unreported? Why aren’t the mainstream media asking these questions?
If the Governor can’t stand the heat of a truly independent investigation, perhaps he should get out of the kitchen.