U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) today urged federal authorities to investigate GOP gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie for failing to report a $46,000 loan he gave U.S. Attorney underling Michele Brown.
"Add this to the growing list of Christie's capers," said Pascrell. "Is it mere coincidence that Mr. Christie's personal life is again in conflict with his public obligations? A prosecutor at his level should know that once he gave that loan, no matter how well-intended it was, it changed the relationship between Mr. Christie and Ms. Brown. We have a right to know to what extent it changed. At the very least, this is a conflict of interest."
A self-professed fan of the former U.S. Attorney's until the 2006 U.S. Senate election when news leaked from Christie's office about a probe of property owned by U.S. Sen. (and candidate for reelection) Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken), Pascrell has also been on Christie's case about the latter's oversight of deferred prosecution agreements when he served as U.S. Attorney.
Two years ago, Pascrell called for investigations into Christie's awarding a potentially $52 million no-bid contract to a firm owned by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with Zimmer Holdings.
Following the New York Times' story today about Christie not reporting the loan to Brown, Pascrell added his own outrage to that of Menendez, who last week suggested the Senate Judiciary Committee examine Christie's phone conversations with Bush political mastermind Karl Rove, which Christie admitted he had while serving as U.S. Attorney.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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