Gov. Christie Uses Executive Power To Promote His Campaign Interests
Legislature must check Executive overreach and abuse of power for partisan reasons
[“Crazy” Update below]
I’ve been disgusted by the NJ Media’s daily – sometimes twice or three times a day – drumbeat coverage of Christie’s exploits in New Hampshire.
They are giving the Governor a huge platform to spout all kinds of lies, and not just about himself, but about major public policy issues.
The stories are written with little or no context, explanation of the policy issue, or rebuttal by expert sources or pushback by Democratic partisan sources.
The result is that voters are further misled about discredited right wing economic ideas – from austerity, to pensions, to privatization of education, to recycled Reagan trickle down: Neoliberal economic fundamentals: tax cuts for the rich and corporations and regulatory rollbacks and privatization.
The debate is pushed further to the right – Google “Overton Window” – just what Christie’s corporate backers want.
In a refreshing exception to this trend, Matt Katz of WNYC has an important story in today’s NJ Spotlight. Listen to or read the whole thing.
Katz lays out 5 specific issues where Christie is using his broad Constitutional Executive power to unilaterally dictate policies for his own partisan and personal political campaign benefit, and to the detriment of NJ’s best interests and the longstanding preferences of NJ voters.
That is an extraordinary abuse of power (and far worse than NJ taxpayers picking up the tab for his State Police security detail, which has gotten critical news coverage).
Where are the Democrats in pushing back against this gross abuse of power? (the call for Christie to resign is not serious and amounts to a diversion. By calling for resignation, Dems get a cheap political hit without having to do the heavy lifting on educating voters about his radical pro-corporate policy ideas, some of which the Christie-Crats still support. That’s one reason Dems have done so little to challenge Christie’s environmental “dismantling” for almost 6 years).
But Democrats don’t have to lay back and take it –
They have Constitutional power to veto regulations and they can hold oversight hearings and take testimony – including subpoena power – to flesh out the issues and hold the Governor accountable, challenge his moves, and embarrass the Gov. in NH and elsewhere.
How would it look on the campaign trail if a sitting Gov.’s own legislature rebels against his policy proposals and abuse of power? Surely, that would be a story.
Democrats can make it a long hot summer for Christie by holding Legislative Oversight hearings on the various Christie abuses of his Executive Power.
The first place they can start is with their Legislative power to veto regulations –
Gov. Christie bragged (in Iowa) about dismantling climate change and environmental programs – here’s the quote and link
“I spent the last 5 years dismanting the overreach that she [NJ DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson] did in New Jersey and our environmental protection area. ~~~~ Gov. Chris Christie, Iowa, 3/7/15 (video)
There are numerous examples of that dismantling.
Just weeks ago, Christie’s DEP provided another huge example of that dismantling – they proposed a regulation that would dismantle existing flood protections, some enacted by the Corzine/Lisa Jackson DEP, the very protections Christie bragged about dismantling.
Here’s the regulation. Have at it!
Christie a Fiscal Conservative?
Federal taxpayers ponied up over $60 billion in Sandy recovery money – about half of that to NJ.
How would Christie respond to a question in NH about why his Sandy recovery plan puts all that development back in harms way, where it will be destroyed again and require another taxpayer bailout?
NJ is one of the worst states for repeat flood damage claims against the federal flood insurance program, triggering even more taxpayer subsidies.
How would fiscally conservative NH voters feel if they knew that not only is Christie putting all Sandy damaged real estate back in harms way, but that he’s actually weakening existing flood protection regulations? A move sure to trigger even more taxpayer subsidies. Is that conservative governing?
Is Christie A “Conservative Without Conscience”?
There are a lot of practicing Catholics in New Jersey and New Hampshire – I’ve yet to see Christie asked to respond to the Pope’s Encyclical and how that comports with his record on climate change and energy.
The Dems have been in bed with Christie for a long time, but they say they’ve changed their ways.
If so, they need to get off their asses and make this a long hot summer in Trenton.
State Government and the lives of people of NJ are not Chris Christie’s personal toy.
[Update – today’s Bergen Record story gets it exactly backward – the major problem is not that Christie is absent and can’t effectively govern. It’s HOW he is governing.
The bigger problem is that Christie is using NJ to advance his personal political objectives and holding NJ hostage to his political campaign . That is a gross abuse of power that must be challenged.
Michele Siekerka – corporate hack and former Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner
And political hack and former Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner revolving door Michele Siekerka is an idiot – her quote is self contradictory: if Lt. Gov. Guadagno and Chief of Staff Egea are running state government, then by definition Christie “can’t address the issue”:
“Anyone who thinks that he can’t address an issue in New Jersey if he’s not physically here on soil in New Jersey is crazy,” said Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, who is in regular contact with Christie’s staff and Guadagno. “Between the lieutenant governor and his chief of staff, Regina Egea, we’re in very good hands.”
And calling people “crazy” is exactly the arrogant attack mentality of the Christie administration – as others have observed, it reeks.