Chris Christie has made a lot of hay over his bi-partisan political convictions, a record that is largely reliant on his early indictment of Republican Jim Treffinger in spring 2002. At the time, Treffinger was the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for US Senate.
Now Christie has an opportunity to bookend his career as a US Attorney — even if McCain wins it is very unusual for a US Attorney to continue after eight years — by investigating and indicting another leading candidate for the Republican nomination for US Senate: Andy Unanue.
Mr. Unanue appears to have committed voter fraud by maintaining and exercising his voting rights at his parent’s house in Alpine while admittedly living on Central Park West in Manhattan. According to Unanue’s campaign manager, Unanue “votes in New Jersey.”
That is a clear and almost admitted case of voter fraud, something that the Department of Justice — the folks Christie works for — has made a priority over the years. All Christie has to do is get the voter files from Bergen County, see if Unanue voted in the 2006 congressional elections or the 2007 legislative elections, and then impanel a grand jury for the indictment. It’s not a heavy lift.
Think this is a minor thing that is beneath the interest of a United States Attorney? The Department of Justice doesn’t think so:
Department officials defend their record. “The Department of Justice is not attempting to make a statement about the scale of the problem,” a spokesman, Bryan Sierra, said. “But we are obligated to investigate allegations when they come to our attention and prosecute when appropriate.”
And the man who hired Christie (and received a no-bid sweetheart contract worth up to $52 million), John Ashcroft, also considered this a priority:
Combating voter fraud, Mr. Ashcroft announced, would be high on his agenda. But in taking up the fight, he promised that he would also be vigilant in attacking discriminatory practices that made it harder for minorities to vote.
“American voters should neither be disenfranchised nor defrauded,” he said at a news conference in March 2001.
Christie is most likely aware of all this, since US Attorney’s went through special training.
At the same time, the department encouraged United States attorneys to bring charges in voter fraud cases, not a priority in prior administrations. The prosecutors attended training seminars, were required to meet regularly with state or local officials to identify possible cases and were expected to follow up accusations aggressively.
Well, Mr. Christie. Your job is clear, and you can demonstrate your commitment to non-partisan justice by investigating and prosecuting this already admitted case of voter fraud.