Christie Campaign Piles Up Debt Over Bridge-gate

Image: Christie Campaign Piles Up Debt Over Bridge-gate

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 08:20 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The bridge-gate scandal is costing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign a bundle of money, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Chris Christie for Governor has forked out $314,000 to date to pay for legal fees for the federal and state investigations into the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge last year.

According to recent finance figures, the campaign has $156,587 in the bank, but listed $264,000 of legal fees as debt.

The campaign commissioned the legal firm Patton Boggs LLP to help investigate the shutdown last September after a federal probe was launched into the legality of the closures, as well as an inquiry by a state legislative committee.

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The firm has billed $160,000 in fees so far, while Stroz Friedberg, an investigations and intelligence firm, charged the campaign $154,000 for fees pertaining to its review of the traffic ban on access lanes to the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., that caused four days of bumper-to-bumper chaos.

The Christie administration hired the Manhattan law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to examine whether the governor knew about the closures beforehand. The firm, which exonerated Christie, has yet to submit its bill, although it will be paid by the state.

The legislative committee, which hired a special counsel for its investigation, has shelled out $488,400 spent in legal fees, the firm’s invoice reveals, according to the Journal.

Two months ago, the state Election Law Enforcement Commission agreed to allow Christie’s campaign to cover the legal expenses on the condition that it did not become the target of a grand jury investigation.

The Christie campaign only received $3,800 in donations in the first quarter of the year, the report added, meaning that it will have to raise money get itself out of debt.

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