Did Christie Staffers Do Illegal Campaign Work?

Democrats in the legislature are being asked to investigate allegations that Gov. Chris Christie used taxpayer paid staff in his administration as workers for his 2013 re-election campaign.

Christie-inv.jpgIn today’s editorial, nj.com acknowledged that, after Bridgegate, lawmakers are likely feeling investigation fatigue, but said that nevertheless Democrats in the state’s Senate and Assembly are the only government actors to look into claims, which appear to be supported by emails, that Christie’s staff acted on the people’s dime to, for example, secure endorsements (and then compensate with perks, including money intended for Hurricane Sandy relief and Port Authority funds) from mayors, union officials and others.

“There is some gray area here,” reads the editorial. “Officials routinely use staff to arrange political meetings, for instance. But state law forbids the use of state resources for campaign work, and Christie's crew was shameless.

‘It reflects either a lack of awareness of the actual rules or, worse, the intent to skirt those rules,’ said Seton Hall Law professor Paula A. Franzese, former head of the State Ethics Commission.”

Additionally, after Christie’s reelection, it turned out that several of his staff who had temporarily left government to work on his campaign returned to his administration shortly after, with some receiving new titles and salary increases of up to $35,000.