Christie can use campaign funds for some legal fees
February 11th, 2014
02:25 PM ET
2 months ago

Christie can use campaign funds for some legal fees

Updated 7:31 p.m. ET, 2/11/2013

Trenton, New Jersey (CNN) – Gov. Chris Christie got some good news Tuesday.

He can use campaign funds to cover the cost of complying with subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and a state legislative committee to his reelection committee.

They are investigating suggestions top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams around the George Washington Bridge last year in Fort Lee to punish that town's mayor for not endorsing the governor for reelection.

The decision by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission also allows the reelection committee to raise money to pay for legal fees and other costs associated with complying with the subpoena.

It does not cover the governor's personal legal fees or former employees of his reelection campaign.

The scandal involving access lane closures to the nation's largest bridge over a work week last September has roiled the Christie administration and clouded any potential presidential bid by the two-term governor.

In a new development, New Jersey State Police said on Tuesday that three helicopter flights Christie took during the period of the lane closures never went over the bridge.

Christie has said he didn't know about the traffic gridlock until after it occurred and learned about it from media reports.

State lawmakers leading the investigation of the bridge scandal have subpoenaed the State Police aviation unit asking for more information.

In a separate development, a law firm for Christie's office has requested documents from the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee and his staff.

Attorney Randy Mastro sent the open records request to Mayor Mark Sokolich's office on Monday.

The firm asked for any and all documents from August 1 pertaining to the access lane closures.

Mastro also asked for communications between Sokolich's office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as any documents pertaining to requests for an endorsement and conversations with Christie's re-election campaign.

The Port Authority operates the nation's largest bridge and is where a top Christie appointee embroiled in the scandal worked.

In addition, Mastro is seeking documents related to the lane closures that the mayor and his staff may have provided to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets.

An official from Sokolich's office told CNN they have forwarded the request to their counsel for review.

Mastro sent a similar request to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, also a Democrat, related to her claims that members of Christie's administration held Superstorm Sandy recovery funds hostage in exchange for approval of a real estate development project in that city.

Zimmer's office declined to provide documents. In a letter, Zimmer's lawyers questioned the appropriateness of the governor's office "investigating itself" when there is already a federal probe underway.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is also looking into Zimmer's allegations as well.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Steve Kastenbaum contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. xray vision

    Still wants to call the shots, sorry pal, you can act like you want the truth, but we know better.

    February 11, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein

    What are they digging for? Or is the request just to make the mayor of Fort Lee look questionable? It makes one wonder.

    February 11, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    They can ask, but they have no authority to demand anything. Imagine that you accuse somene of a crime to the local prosecutor's office. The prosecutor launches an investigation, which results in your being subpoenaed. Here's the good part. Now the prime suspect in the crime hires an attorney, who sends you a letter requesting that you turn over to him the same stuff that you turned over to the prosecutor. This is what is going on here.

    BTW, I think the people who have not complied with their subpoenas by trying to claim 4th and 5th Amendment protections have a weak argument in that regard. They used their personal cell phones and other personal devices for government business, which is why we have laws that prohibit people from conducting government business on personal phones and email accounts.

    February 11, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Christie hired a legal bigshot whose specialty is "crisis management" and the residents of NJ are paying him $650 per hour to engage in this kind of nonsense in an attempt to manage CHRISTIE'S crisis...not NJ's...CHRISTIE'S.

    February 11, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. gb0423

    so this is Christie's idea of the internal investigation he said he had called for?....clearly his legal team is preparing a defense.

    February 11, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. gb0423

    Good for Mayor Zimmer in telling those attorneys to take a hike...

    February 11, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Isn't this call interfering with evidence ?

    Sounds like a great way to have the cleaning people straiten up the house after a crime .

    February 11, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. xray vision

    Why are we paying for this again? Its only a matter of time, tick tock .

    February 11, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    I don't have the legal expertise of a bagger, but this sure looks like tampering and impeding a federal investigation. Krispy knows how to get all evidence thrown out. His real problem will be the Sandy relief funds.

    February 11, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations(RICO)

    The governor's administration falls into that category.

    February 11, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Are the tax payers paying for Krispy's defense? Where is the outrage?

    February 11, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Tampa Tim

    Are the tax payers paying for Krispy's defense? Where is the outrage?
    ------------------------------
    That fact just came out this morning, along with his $650 per hour fee. I don't think any print media has published on it, yet.

    February 11, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Racketeering under federal law includes a number of criminal offenses, including: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE; OBSTRUCTION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION; OBSTRUCTION OF STATE OR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT; WITNESS TAMPERING; RETALIATION AGAINST WITNESS; INTERFERENCE WITH INTERSTATE COMMERCE, BRIBERY/EXTORTION.

    February 11, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. CB FL

    What he is trying to do is stop any other mayors from coming out against him. Knowing they will be harassed by his so called internal investigation.

    February 11, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. CB FL

    It is time for the bully to get a bloody nose. Then a orange jumpsuit.

    February 11, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Racketeering under federal law includes a number of criminal offenses, including: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE; OBSTRUCTION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION; OBSTRUCTION OF STATE OR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT; WITNESS TAMPERING; RETALIATION AGAINST WITNESS; INTERFERENCE WITH INTERSTATE COMMERCE, BRIBERY/EXTORTION.
    --------
    That was this week's leagal brief with Dutch from Bad Newz. Now back to New York and Brian Williams.

    February 11, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    Mayor Mark Sokolich's office should remind Attorney Randy Mastro that there is an ongoing criminal investigation and advise him to refer all requests to the Fort Lee City Attorney's office, or to a private law firm if there's one working on the case.

    February 11, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Tell him to go take a hike, like the Mayor of Hoboken did!

    February 11, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |