Christopher Christie's campaign wants the Corzine administration to release all documents related to a forensic review of a hedge fund that Gov. Jon Corzine invested that was conducted last year by the state Attorney General's office.
Republicans maintain that two hedge funds, Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and TPG-Axon, are related. Democrats say a Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) report confirms no connection between the two groups. Corzine in an investor in TPG-Axon and TPG has ownership in four New Jersey casinos. State officials are not permitted to have a personal financial stake in casinos.
The GOP campaign says Hoover's, Dun and Bradstreet, and the Wall Street Journal -- all prominent financial news publications -- have reported that TPG-Axon is a subsidiary of TPG. The two share an office and personnel, but TPG maintains an internal firewall exists between the two funds.
"No matter how you slice it, Jon Corzine is partnered with people who hold a casino license. Corzine needs to release any and all documents that shed light on the casino license holders relationships with TPG-Axon," stated Campaign Manager Bill Stepien.
Stepien says that the DGE's letter to the state Casino Control Commission "references a number of other reports including a financial analysis of the license applicants and also reports detailing the 'credentials of the initial individual qualifiers' involved with license."
"We need to know if the Attorney General's office ever investigated the role that TPG, and those who exercise control over it, play in TPG-Axon," added Stepien.
The Corzine campaign strongly denies any connection between the governor and TPG's casino investments.
"Governor Corzine does not own casino stock. None of his investments are managed by anyone who has a casino license. He can't profit one penny from the casino business because his investments are not connected to it in any way," said Sean Darcy, Corzine's spokesman. "Not a single one of the 22 jurisdictions that regulate Harrah's casinos lists a financial connection between TPG and TPG-Axon. In fact, casino regulators in New Jersey conducted a forensic audit of TPG and nowhere in its filings was there a single reference to TPG-Axon."
Darcy has maintained that Christie is using the hedge fund story to deflect attention controversies involving the Republican candidate's campaign.
"Unlike Chris Christie, who repeatedly failed to disclose his financial interests and failed to pay his taxes, Governor Corzine has disclosed his investments in a fully transparent way," Darcy said. "It is clear that Christie and his fellow Bush Republicans still don't want to answer to the fact that Mr. Christie didn't pay his taxes and ignored ethics laws by failing to disclose details about a real - not imagined - conflict of interest. Chris Christie has a well-established pattern of having one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else, and now his campaign is desperate to do everything they can to distract away from it."
State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) says that casino laws were drafted to prevent "even the appearance of conflicts."
"Governor Corzine should immediately release any documents showing ties between these units, including any exchange of fees or services," Bucco said.
The DGE documents list David Bonderman and James Coulter, both TPG founders, has being authorized to make decisions related to casino licenses issued last year to four Atlantic City casinos: Harrah's, Caesar's, Bally's, and Showboat.
The DGE is part of the Department of Law and Public Safety, which is the office of the state Attorney General.
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"And here was Christie — a tell-it-like-it-is, straight-talking, no-nonsense Jersey guy — telling about 60 members of the media what he really thought. 'Governor Branstad is a role model for me,' Christie gushed, referring to his 67-year-old counterpart from Iowa."- The New York Times
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