Tags: | | Chris Christie | New Jersey contractors | RGA | Republican Governors Association

Report: NJ Contractors Gave to RGA Under Christie

By    |   Monday, 03 Nov 2014 04:54 PM

An investigation by the International Business Tribune found that under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's leadership, political contributions from several state-hired contractors have flowed to fund the Republican Governors Association where he is chair.

In the past year, the RGA has raised about $102 million, with portions of that money going to help fund GOP elections around the country.

"A conspicuous slice of this money has come from companies that have secured contracts from the Christie administration to perform work in New Jersey," the IBT reported in a story by David Sirota, who reviewed tax filings.

"Proponents of tighter campaign finance rules say this is no coincidence. In their telling, Christie is effectively using New Jersey as the goodie bag for companies willing to deliver funds to the association, or RGA, handing out taxpayer-financed state contracts as a reward for those who participate," Sirota wrote.

Among those contributing on behalf of Christie were 15 contractors who helped the state in Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts and who, in the RGA's last quarter tax filings, gave $600,000 to the RGA, the IBT reported.

Neither Christie nor the RGA responded to requests from the IBT to discuss details of the fundraising success. But Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen told the IBT that Christie's approach "completely guts pay-to-play laws."

"This is the perfect storm undercutting the New Jersey pay-to-play rule," Holman told the IBT. "Christie is running the RGA, so government contractors in New Jersey can throw vast amounts of money at the feet of the governor, whose administration is responsible for awarding contracts and subsidies. It completely guts pay-to-play laws."

Christie also came under scrutiny in a Wall Street Journal investigation, which determined he had spent $1.2 million traveling on private jets for his RGA duties. All of that money was spent on one charter company, the Journal noted, as Christie traveled to 37 states and raised his own visibility nationally as a likely 2016 presidential candidate.

New Jersey Advance Media, in reviewing spending, noted that Christie significantly outspent his predecessor Mitt Romney, who had previously chaired the RGA. Citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics, NJ.com noted that while the 2006 RGA travel and lodging budget was about $1.4 million, Christie had more than doubled that during the first half of 2014, spending $3.18 million.

On a recent campaign trip in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, Christie stayed at the chic Peninsula hotel, where his bill was $4,211, NJ.com noted.

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An investigation by the International Business Tribune found that under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's leadership, political contributions from several state-hired contractors have flowed to fund the Republican Governors Association where he is chair.
Chris Christie, New Jersey contractors, RGA, Republican Governors Association
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2014-54-03
Monday, 03 Nov 2014 04:54 PM
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