Washington, D.C. — Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has perfected the art of getting something for nothing, and he barely had to lift a finger to claim his latest prize. Following the latest reports of the governor accepting extravagant gifts from well-heeled patrons — violating his state’s ethics laws in the process — Gov. Christie emerged as the clear choice among CREW’s voters for the title of February’s Scoundrel of the Month.
In 2012, Gov. Christie and members of his family flew to Israel and Jordan for an official trade mission on the private airplane of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. At the time he accepted the free flight, Gov. Christie was considering legislation affecting Mr. Adelson’s business interests. As part of the trip, Gov. Christie and his family also accepted lavish gifts from King Abdullah II of Jordan, including lodging at the Kempinski Hotel valued at $30,000. Ludicrously, Gov. Christie claimed the gifts from King Abdullah were exempt from New Jersey’s ban on gifts to government officials because the foreign potentate is a personal friend of Gov. Christie’s.
“Chris Christie made a name for himself by angrily berating his enemies, but his list of friends is a bigger concern. By applying the label to anyone who can support his expensive tastes, Gov. Christie has created an ethical climate in his state that is decidedly unfriendly to the public interest,” CREW Interim Executive Director Anne Weismann said.
CREW’s complaint against Gov. Christie over the improper gifts came as he faces ethics inquiries on several fronts. State and federal investigators continue to probe whether the governor or his staff broke laws during the politically motivated closure of the George Washington Bridge in 2013. Meanwhile, Gov. Christie’s gift-grabbing also ran afoul of state ethics laws when he accepted free football tickets from the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones — another of the governor’s “friends.”
Nominations are already being accepted for March’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Submit your choices by Friday, March 27. Voting will begin the following week.