Christie's New Woe: Inquiry Over Misuse of Sandy Funds

Feds are investigating: CNN
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 7:56 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2014 8:01 AM CST
Christie's New Woe: Inquiry Over Misuse of Sandy Funds
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures as he answers a question during a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Looks like Chris Christie's trouble is just beginning. The latest: Federal officials are investigating whether he misused Superstorm Sandy relief funds. Christie used $4.7 million of the federal funds allotted to tourism marketing to produce advertisements. The problem? Those ads featured Christie and his family—and this during an election year—and cost $2.2 million more than the next lowest bidder, whose ads would not have included the Christie family. New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone asked the feds to review, and he tells CNN the audit will take several months.

"This was money that could have directly been used for Sandy recovery," Pallone says. "And, as you know, many of my constituents still haven't gotten the money that is owed them to rebuild their homes or raze their homes or to help." Meanwhile, the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal continues: Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich initially said he didn't recall Christie even asking for an endorsement before the lane closure; but now he tells the New York Times he does remember a staffer from Christie's re-election campaign making the request; he says he was noncommittal in his response. The Wall Street Journal (whose source says the staffer was regional political director Matt Mowers) adds that another Democratic mayor, Jersey City's Steve Fulop, claims he was also "punished" for refusing to endorse Christie. Fulop says he saw his meetings with several state commissioners suddenly canceled, and has had a hard time scheduling meetings with them since. (More Chris Christie stories.)

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