The FOIA request has finally arrived and the big revelation is that Chris Christie – drum roll, please – exceeded federal spending guidelines when traveling for work as US Attorney.
On the surface, this actually sounds a bit reckless. Feeding the Corzine narrative that Christie drives recklessly, ignores laws like reporting income and sometimes gets a little hyperbolic in his criticism of officials he has prosecuted.
But a close examination of said travel reimbursements reveals no smoking gun. Which may make some Democrats annoyed who have been watching the ticking FOIA clock on politickernj like that debt clock in Times Square as though we were counting down to Armageddon.
Moreover, all of these expenses were approved. Even the ones that went over the limit. And the US Department of Justice appears to be taking great pains to avoid fueling the perception that there is something scandalous here. In fact, some have privately downplayed the significance of what these records reveal.
Sure, there was the five day jaunt to London that cost Christie and Michele Brown more than $400 per night each for their respective hotel rooms. Christie’s portion of the whole trip wound up being more than four grand. Then there was the Boston trip with its nearly $500 rooms. But according to Christie they were necessary trips for his work as USA – specifically to speak to companies about how to comply with deferred prosecution agreements. The Corzine campaign accuses him of giving out “no-bid” contracts for those DPA’s…but that’s a whole other can-a-worms.
The total cost of roughly 87 trips over seven years was nearly $100,000. But compared to what? And how much of that was over the limit? Sure it may sound high to some, but what the hell do they know having never served as US Attorney???!!
Then there is the issue of mileage reimbursement. Apparently, Christie was reimbursed for 27,000 miles traveled ( mostly around the state and region ). We have already learned that Christie preferred to ( ahem ) drive himself ( see earlier posts ). So what does this say? Again hard to quantify without a strong basis of comparison.
What did jump out a little was that he traveled more in 2008 ( $5000 reimbursed approx. ) his the final year as USA than he did in 2002 ( $2000 reimbursed approx. ), his first year in office. And one of those reimbursements was for a Mets Phillies game in Philly on June 22, 2005.
So, some of these facts are notable and others are not. But I hardly think this is the fatal blow to Christie that Dems had been hoping for.