When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stepped into his old high school in Livingston, New Jersey to officially announce his candidacy for president many assumed – given that it was explicitly a political event – that Christie’s campaign would pick up to the tab. But that would be wrong.
A public records request by Blue Jersey writer Steve Stern (who blogs under the handle Deciminyan) revealed that Governor Christie billed New Jersey taxpayers for his presidential campaign kickoff.
Much to my surprise, the facility was NOT rented by the Christie for President organization, but rather by the Office of the Governor. Jim Gilroy, who is listed on state databases as “Aide to the Governor”, executed the contract. The school district quoted a price of $2,992. You, the taxpayer paid for this, whether or not you are a Chris Christie for President supporter.
Of course, your cost was far more. The security, aides, communications, and other ancillary expenses that go with a governor running for public office may be unavoidable. But shouldn’t the campaign have paid for the facility?
The mixture of public and political business is illegal in New Jersey with Governor Christie already plagued by a scandal involving political acts by his staff and his appointees at the New York and New Jersey Port Authority. Christie’s deputy chief of staff was directly involved in shutting down the George Washington Bridge allegedly to punish the mayor of the town of Fort Lee for not endorsing Governor Christie for re-election.
If put to a vote it is unlikely the people who paid for the event would have been happy to do so. Polls show the people of New Jersey both do not want Christie to run for president and want him to resign now that he is.