Career Opportunities

March 2, 2007

We know how Chris Christie got his job as U.S. Attorney: The Morris County Republican was a Bush “Pioneer,” meaning he raised at least a hundred grand for Bush and Cheney in the 2000 election.

The question, well posed over at BlueJersey, is: How did Christie keep his job while other U.S. attorneys were being ousted from their posts late last year? As you know, the developing scandal has been turbocharged by David Iglesias, who has accused the administration of removing him from his post in New Mexico because he wouldn’t use his power to bring charges against two Democrats just before the November elections.

How does this connect with Christie? Here’s how:

It appears that U.S. Attorneys who prosecute or are in the way of Republicans are getting fired. Christie still has a job.

Christie’s prosecutions of Republicans were all before the passage of the amended USA Patriot Act that gave the Bush administration new powers to replace at will. In fact, they were fairly early in his tenure.

This brings up the question: how many US Attorneys were leaned on to use their office for political gain? And how many of those gave in to the pressure in order to keep their jobs?

Again, this is all conjecture, and the fact that Christie was not forced out in no way suggests that he got or acceded to political pressure.

But over the past seven months his office has been leaking more information against Democrats than in the past.

In September, Christie issued a subpoena on a non-profit regarding their rental of a building from Democratic Senator Bob Menendez as he was in a rough campaign with Tom Kean Jr. The subpoena came in what appeared concert with the Kean Jr. campaign’s post-Labor Day push on corruption issues, and knocked Menendez off message for weeks.

The subpoena was not issued quietly, either . . . there was a lot of press regarding the subpoena – including comments from Christie – before the election and then a seeming silence since then. This could be simply a loss of interest after an election, but there has also been no move on Menendez. There was a very public subpoena and then it quieted down.

Recently Christie has been ratcheting up the pressure. He issued subpoenas on the NJ Legislature, including the Office of Legislative Services, leaders of both houses (controlled by Democrats), and the Majority and Minority offices for each house. This is in an effort to identify if there were corrupt deals made to issue “Christmas Tree” grants in recent budgets. The targets will, most likely, be Democrats as they have controlled the legislature for the past few years.

This week we hear that Christie has sent subpoenas to Governor Jon Corzine’s office covering Jim McGreevey (D), Dick Codey (D) and Corzine. Not Whitman or when the Republicans controlled the entire government and produced their own Christmas Tree items.

The subpoenas for the legislature came right while the Democrats were making noises about passing major tax reform and corruption reform legislation, blunting the political gain to be made and bolstering the Republican press release machine.

The subpoena for the Governor’s office came just after he released a budget proposal that included no new taxes for the first time in years, and increased aid to schools along with a new tax relief program. But the positive political benefit from that was again blunted by the subpoenas and the related taint of corruption.

There is surely no fire here, and maybe only a scent of smoke from far away. But the actions and subpoenas of the past seven months are exactly what a US Attorney who was told to put pressure on the Democrats would start doing. Every time a Democrat starts gaining points, hit them with a subpoena. Every time a Republican needs to score points, make an announcement.

I’ve praised Christie several times for his apparent willingness to go after miscreants regardless of their political affiliation. He’s also a man with his eyes on higher goals: governor, maybe, or senator himself. It will be interesting to see if one of the Garden State newspapers starts pushing to see if there’s a New Jersey angle to this blossoming scandal.

One Response to “Career Opportunities”

  1. Chucky Says:

    When Christie hit Corzine’s office with subpoenas this week the War God & Family News — also known as the Home News Tribune — suppressed the story. For them it’s cheaper to print a brunette fascist than to report the news.

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