Christie’s AUSAs Still Won’t Respond to Corzine’s FOIA Requests

Jon Corzine’s campaign wants some more information about just what Chris Christie was doing at the US Attorney’s office while he was handing out multi-million dollar deals to his friends. 

So the Corzine campaign has submitted 18 FOIA requests for information on Christie’s tenure as US Attorney. They have submitted them, each time, to the Executive Office of US Attorneys, which keeps kicking the FOIAs down to the NJ US Attorney’s office, where they appear to be routinely ignored. So today, the Corzine took the next step in its attempts to figure out just what Christie was doing at the US Attorney office.

The campaign filed eight administrative challenges – representing 18 separate requests – with the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Information and Privacy. Despite repeated efforts by the campaign to obtain the information, beginning in March 2009, it has repeatedly been told that the failures to fulfill its requests lie with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The records the campaign is seeking from Christie’s tenure as U.S. Attorney include: budgets, travel expenses and schedules – even public ones.

"The United States Attorney’s office has many fine, dedicated, professional lawyers," said Corzine ’09 campaign strategist, Tom Shea. "But, in light of recent reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra is under investigation to determine if he has used the office to help further the Christie campaign, Second Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown has an ongoing financial relationship with Christie and Christie was communicating with Karl Rove about his run for governor from that office, we feel it is even more important we receive the information requested."

The campaign is also seeking details of no-bid contracts Christie awarded while U.S. Attorney, including a $52 million contract to his former boss, ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft. In addition it has demanded Mr. Christie’s communications with former Bush political advisor Karl Rove, and communications between Mr. Christie and current officials in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey since Mr. Christie resigned as U.S. Attorney.

I’m actually somewhat agnostic on this. Perhaps DOJ is not turning over the requested materials for the same reasons DOJ is protecting Dick Cheney’s PatFitz interview–because they’re trying to avoid any appearance of political taint by letting Republicans avoid any scrutiny after the fact. Or it could just be that the people responding to the FOIA heard Christie say he would be hiring a bunch of AUSAs if he won the gubernatorial race, and they’re trying to increase their chance for a swank job by withholding FOIA-able information.

In either case, it stinks.

33 replies
  1. pajarito says:

    What ever happened to President Obama’s transparency in government order, the one that said to be generous in response to FOIA? Presumption to favor release, rather than retention.

    Oh, yeah I get it, the campaign is over.

    • Citizen92 says:

      You can read it here:

      It’s a no-win proposition, now. They should have responded to the FOIA’s back in March, but probably weren’t organized enough to do so. Now, releasing any (incriminating) information potentially would threaten the outcome of the election. We know what BushCo would have done.

    • LabDancer says:

      Which, if so, would put the scenario described by Citizen92 @ 2 on different footing, & could be ‘reported as such’.

      • Citizen92 says:

        I’d like to see Melanie Sloan from CREW dash off a letter to AG Holder asking if Mr. Christie does indeed still “own” the career staff running the USA’s office down in Newark.

    • scribe says:

      Unsurprising – one of the attoreys on the commiittee inv estigaing staff had some close links to Rove and the rest of them and was placed there by the Repugs on the committee.

  2. Boston1775 says:

    And welcome back to another episode of Curb Your Enthusiam...
    Cue the opening music – tuba…
    this video is a classic

  3. rosalind says:

    ot: the rachel bounce?

    “Meet the Press” had its highest total viewer delivery since April this past Sunday, averaging 3,359,000 total viewers for David Gregory’s most convincing victory in months. Sunday’s “Meet the Press” featured Rachel Maddow’s debut on the show.”


    • emptywheel says:

      When I saw she was going to be on I wondered just how long until she got the show. She really does what Russert was always claimed to do: know her stuff, ask hard questions, and stand up to the pols.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh yeah, like that’s going to happen. Immelt has probably already cut a deal guaranteeing Maddow never sits in the Potato Head chair.

  4. MadDog says:

    OT – Just in case anyone missed it, Siobhan Gorman at the WSJ had this today:

    Ex-CIA Director Defends Agency Over Contractor Controversy

    A former CIA director provided a muscular defense of the agency’s use of contractors Thursday, after it came to light that the agency paid private contractors with Blackwater USA several million dollars in 2004 to support a program exploring the use of hit teams to take out al Qaeda targets.

    The Blackwater arrangement didn’t involve formal contracts and was canceled before it got off the ground.

    Plans for a similar program exploring hit teams were later revived under director Michael V. Hayden, who served from 2006 to 2008, but they didn’t involve contractors, according to a person familiar with the matter. CIA Director Leon Panetta canceled that effort in June…

    (My Bold)

    The upshot is that there were several CIA GWOT assassination programs and groups, both outsourced private ones like with Blackwater, and inhouse efforts like the one concocted by Mikey Hayden.

    • MadDog says:

      More OT – And in case anyone missed this juicy bit, from Steve Lowman of the WaPo:

      CIA Outsourcing — Fact and Fiction

      Fact collided with fiction on the 13th floor of the National Press Club building this morning, and it’s doubtful a book publicist could have engineered a better marketing move.

      On the same day that novelist Joseph Finder was moderating a panel discussion on the outsourcing of U.S. intelligence operations to private companies, the front page of The Washington Post reported that a secret CIA program to kill al-Qaeda leaders used the private security contractor Blackwater USA in 2004.

      And who just happens to be the protagonist in Finder’s most recent thriller “Vanished”? Nick Heller, a former Pentagon spy who leaves to join a corporate intelligence firm.

      An 8 a.m. breakfast discussion held on a muggy August morning in Washington promised to be a subdued affair until the news broke last night. Instead, journalists and camera crews filled the room to hear from the panel that had been booked weeks ahead, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Before he began questioning the two ex-Bush administration officials, Finder joked that he found himself in the position of an “enhanced interrogator…”

      (My Bold)

      Does anyone find the timing, the intent, and the sources of Finder’s Daily Beast “exclusive” curious?

      I thought you did! *g*

      • MadDog says:

        Even more OT – And more of Mikey Hayden’s BS today on that panel:

        …A knowledgeable former intelligence officer told the Washington Post, “Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong.”

        In a panel discussion today, former CIA director Michael Hayden scoffed at the idea that US intelligence resorts to contractors to evade responsibility. “We do not go outside the agency in order to deflect responsibility, period,” Hayden said.

        Sources familiar with intelligence contracting say that Hayden’s denial rings hollow. Indeed, Hayden parsed the ‘assassination’ term in his panel discussion today, asserting that killing terrorists isn’t assassination, it’s “killing in self-defense…”

        (My Bold)

        Weasel-wording is Mikey’s only talent.

        • MadDog says:

          And even more OT again – Former CIA chief: gains from torture ‘modest’

          Former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Director General Michael Hayden said today that an internal CIA report expected to be released Monday will show that CIA interrogators did not uncover any imminent attacks, but did develop other intelligence information on Al Qaeda. Hayden made his remarks at a panel discussion on the privatization of US intelligence this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC…

          …Hayden also gave a general description of the effectiveness of the interrogation program included in the soon-to-be released CIA IG report. Hayden stated that six key paragraphs describe how the program achieved ‘modest success’ in learning about Al Qaeda organization and leadership, but did not uncover any imminent attacks…

          (My Bold)

          You might as well let us all down easy now Mikey before Monday’s truth bares all of your lies!

          • MadDog says:

            Compare and contrast.

            Mikey Hayden’s statement at the Joe Finder-led panel today:

            Former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Director General Michael Hayden said today that an internal CIA report expected to be released Monday will show that CIA interrogators did not uncover any imminent attacks, but did develop other intelligence information on Al Qaeda. Hayden made his remarks at a panel discussion on the privatization of US intelligence this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC…

            (My Bold)

            With this from the letter 9 leading Repug Senators sent to AG Holder yesterday:

            …Media reports also suggest that the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, would be the primary focus of the investigation that you envision. As you know, the interrogation of KSM, and others like him, produced information that was absolutely vital to apprehending other al Qaeda terrorists and preventing additional attacks on the United States

            (My Bold)

            Which tale are you gonna believe?

            I thought so. *g*

            • joanneleon says:

              Didn’t Hayden explicitly say, in the past, that the program prevented attacks? Maybe that was the domestic spying program.

  5. Hmmm says:

    Anyone else have the sense a whole buncha info-shit’s about to hit the proverbial fan? Between all this Finder CIA spin-stuff and Ridge dumping on W, it’s a frickin’ deluge out there. Distancing.

  6. joanneleon says:

    Well, if the reason they are not releasing things is because of the proximity to the election, then they’d better make sure the same rules apply for both candidates.

    I think someone should, at least, be investigating Christie’s claim of having people in Justice, and make the names public so that any funny bizdness is obvious.

  7. Peterr says:

    MadDog, the Washington Post has not one but two stories in Friday’s paper that will have you and others here spitting nails.

    Detainees Shown CIA Officers’ Photos, in which the DOJ seems to be going after the detainee lawyers for . . . what’s the word I’m looking for? . . . defending their clients.

    Blackwater Disclosure Adds to CIA Worries, in which Porter Goss spins like his life depends upon it. Or at least his livelihood and possibly his freedom.

    • SparklestheIguana says:

      Same article, but the front page title is different. And funnier:

      Disclosure of ‘Targeted Killing’ Comes at a Bad Time For CIA

      When would be a good time?

  8. Citizen92 says:


    Oh, the internets…

    A seemingly well connected Washington lobbyist recently attended an engagement party at Dick Cheney’s new manse. Of course she publicly posted photos. What do we see?

    Well, there’s Dick’s cattlebrand. Wonder if he used it on any of the black site detainees?

    Then there’s the Saddam nesting doll.

    More photos (as long as they stay up) on this site.

    And she also posted a few bonus pics — of Karl Rove ‘finessing’ the election in 04 from the White House.
    Election Night Rove #1

    Election Night Rove #2

    The lobbyist is the daughter of a Utah-based advanceman to the GOP stars. And he likes to take photos:

  9. SparklestheIguana says:

    This is a bizarre statement.…..el.html?hp

    More than a quarter of the intelligence community’s current work force is made up of contractors, carrying out missions like intelligence collection and analysis and, until recently, interrogation of terrorist suspects.

    “There are skills we don’t have in government that we may have an immediate requirement for,” Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who ran the C.I.A. from 2006 until early this year, said during a panel discussion on Thursday on the privatization of intelligence.

    Intelligence collection, analysis, and interrogation of suspects are skills that people in government lack? But the private sector does better? How pray tell, if the government has a monopoly on interrogation of suspects, or at least did until 9/11, can the private sector be better at it??

    I understand that the CIA’s intelligence analysis often failed it, but can it be said that private contractors are better at that?

  10. klynn says:

    OT but interesting news

    Iran has made significant concessions to UN nuclear inspectors days before a highly critical report on the country’s nuclear programme is due to be published, diplomats said today.


    The concessions come days before the publication of a new IAEA report that is expected to be highly critical of Iran’s co-operation with the agency.

    Barack Obama has said that Iran has until the end of the year to show readiness to comply with UN demands, but western officials have said that it should be clear by next month whether the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ready to compromise in the wake of his disputed re-election.

    All these report releases converging…Interesting.

  11. Hoofin says:

    Getting back to Chris Chistie.

    I am from New Jersey, and lived there the better part of 40 years.

    What I can tell you is that Chris Christie was a politician FIRST well before he was any kind of prosecutor.

    His prosecution work had a definite slant of going at people in the opposition party (Democrats). And it was in violation of the Hatch Act. Big time.

    Everyone can debate about “ralease the records!” But in the end, they really should be released so that the public can see before the election! It’s been over 150 days now.

    This man is not governor material. He was ‘created”. He was made.

    This is like putting New Jersey through four more Bush years, even after he’s finally gone.

  12. Boston1775 says:

    On a nearly dead thread I’ll ask a few questions. Hope you guys see this.
    Something bothered me about the Todd Christie donations in the Christie Charitable Trust so I went back.

    -Now I learned that David Kelly, a former US Attorney, refused to indict Todd Christie.
    -So, Todd Christie had a lot of extra cash.
    -By the way, I had a tax person look at the 2001 return and it appears that the Christie Charitable Foundation went back to at least 1998. I think the clue is on page 8 of the pdf.
    – Todd Christie is the major donor – millions – until the 2008 return when Beverly Vollaro donates $145,000.
    – I google her and she is the Senior Warden of St John’s Episcopal Church in Montclair, NJ.
    – She is also pg 9/49
    – She is also in charge of the Capital Campaign for St John’s which has fall $50,000 short of their target of $900,000 to fix up the building, create accessibility, fix or replace the organ, help out the church school.
    – So, they’re short this money that Beverly’s in charge of.
    – And in 2008, she donates $145,000 to the Christie Foundation???
    (pg 17/47 pdf)
    – Then, I look up the current church website:
    – Look who is the Clerk of the Vestry: a David Kelley

    This may be a coincidence.
    I am more than happy to be wearing tinfoil.

    But what’s weird is that I can’t see that the Christie Charitable Foundation ever gave to St John’s. And it gives to a lot of religious organizations.

    Just seems backwards. Why is she giving to this multimillion dollar foundation when her church needs money and she’s in charge of the capital campaign?

  13. orionATL says:

    boston1775 @32

    i am writing to you from the beyond.

    this interests me:

    “-Now I learned that David Kelly, a former US Attorney, refused to indict Todd Christie.”

    what was todd c. alleged to have done warranting possible indictment?

    did former AUSA david kelly work for USA christie?

    how long was kelly an AUSA?

    or is he still there?

    thanks for your hard work and interesting comments.

Comments are closed.