It is no secret that Chris Christie is a likely contender for president in 2016. However, should he really be using money from Hurricane Sandy relief to further that ambition? Isn’t that an inappropriate use of relief money?
It turns out the Christie administration turned away a qualified low-bidder seeking to produce the series of TV commercials promoting tourism at the Shore, titled “Stronger Than the Storm.” Instead, Christie’s appointed cronies chose to spend $2 million more for a campaign produced by MWW, a public relations firm based in East Rutherford that’s known for its abundant political connections in both parties.
Why? The governor’s office dances and shuffles around this point, and the woman in charge of this selection process, Michele Brown, wouldn’t comment. But know this: MWW proposed a series of ads featuring the governor and his family, a move that would be illegal in New York state and should be here. The firm with the lower bid, the Sigma Group, did not.
The ads prominently (and unnecessarily) feature Governor Christie and his family in what seems more like a vanity exercise than tourism promotion. It would take little effort to imagine the ads said “Paid For By Christie For Governor” at the end.
Michele Brown is also problematic. She and Governor Christie have a er uh close personal relationship. Having her in charge of the process reeks of politics.
Brown, for the record, worked in Christie’s inner circle at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and is now head of the Economic Development Authority. In 2007, while working for Christie, she borrowed $47,000 from him for personal reasons.
Are we supposed to believe this was a detached and unbiased review? That a Christie loyalist happened to pick the ad campaign that featured the governor and his family, and is set to broadcast in other states where he will need votes to win a presidential primary?
Christie was already under fire for using taxpayer funded town halls as campaign props. Now he is dipping into hurricane relief money for TV spots, not that it would make it any less appropriate if it weren’t the case. However, when raising massive amounts of money does he need to dip into Sandy aid?
If this is any indication what kind of president Christie would be, the picture is not flattering.