New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended himself Tuesday against a report that he spent $300,000 from his state allowance during his five years in office to buy food and drinks.
"Whenever the Governor hosts an event in his official capacity, the discretionary account is available to pay for those costs associated with official reception and hosting and related incidental expenses," began a statement from spokesman Kevin Roberts, The Washington Post reported
. "The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket, or at a sporting venue."
The original report about Christie's discretionary account came from Watchdog.org's Mark Lagerkvist
Watchdog explained that the governor receives an annual allowance of $95,000 on top of his $175,000 salary to use on "official receptions on behalf of the state, the operation of an official residence, [and/or] for other expenses," according to the state budget.
Christie reportedly used $360,000 of the $475,000 allotted over five years, with the surplus going back into state coffers.
The governor’s ledger obtained by Watchdog under the Open Public Records Act shows that 80 percent of Christie's spending was on food.
Perhaps most notably, Christie spent $82,594 at NFL games — more than $1,400 on 58 occasions at Delaware North Sportservice, which operates the concessions at MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Jets and Giants.
"The New Jersey Republican State Committee reimbursed the Treasury in March 2012 for Christie’s purchases from 'DNS Sports,'" Lagerkvist reported. "Since then, the governor has refrained from using his expense account at MetLife and other sports venues."
Regarding those purchases, Roberts stated that "in early 2012, the Governor made the decision that costs associated with hosting at the sporting venues were better paid with non-state funds, and those expenses incurred during 2010 and 2011 were reimbursed by the NJGOP. This week, to ensure this remains the case in full, the NJGOP reimbursed the Treasury for an additional $3,367.22 to deal with an accounting anomaly."
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