NJ Newspaper: Christie 'Shenanigans' Lack 'Accountability'

Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 08:54 PM

By Cathy Burke

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An online editorial in New Jersey's largest newspaper Tuesday blasted Gov. Chris Christie for an administration that "runs on Gmail," and belies a 2010 inaugural promise for "accountability and transparency."

Bridge-gate "is an example of the dangerous shenanigans that fester when powerful people grow accustomed to acting without accountability, and doing the public's business with no risk of public scrutiny," the Star-Ledger editorial said.

"As long as the Christie administration hides its policies and people from the public eye — using back channels to plot revenge and conceal their secrets — his promises of accountability and transparency are nothing more than a joke," the editorial said.

The blistering critique came just hours after the Republican governor delivered his State of the State address to Trenton lawmakers, conceding that "mistakes were clearly made" and that "our citizens deserve better. Much better."

The Star-Ledger editorial board noted that Christie's first inauguration promised an "era of accountability and transparency."

But when state legislative investigators released Bridge-gate-related phone and email records last week, "the most damning were those sent from personal phones and email addresses," the editorial said.

"The Christie administration, it's now clear, runs on Gmail," it said, adding that "using private channels for sensitive — even illegal — government business is a common end-run around nosy reporters and pesky open-records laws."

Now facing state and federal inquiries into the political overtones of four days of traffic tie-ups at the George Washington Bridge in September and his use of disaster aid after Superstorm Sandy, Christie is preparing for his second-term inauguration Jan. 21.

The newspaper's editorial told the governor to live up to his 2010 vow and comply with a New Jersey ACLU demand that he order all public employees to use government email accounts and phones when doing the people's business.

"It's hardly more than a baby step toward ending this administration's pattern of obstruction that includes denying public record requests, refusing to discuss its decisions on controversial issues, and hiding top officials – all the way up to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno – from questions," the Star-Ledger editorial said.

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