Christie’s Cookie Crumbles

The NYT has the story about Chris Christie and Michele Brown we’ve all been waiting for (or rather, half of it).

First, support for the argument that Brown tried to time the big bust of Democrats this summer to benefit Christie’s campaign.

In mid-June, when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors gathered to set a date for the arrests of more than 40 targets of a corruption and money-laundering probe, Ms. Brown alone argued for the arrests to be made before July 1. She later told colleagues that she wanted to ensure that the arrests occurred before Mr. Christie’s permanent successor took office, according to three federal law enforcement officials briefed on the conversation, presumably so that Mr. Christie would be given credit for the roundup.

And–as I suggested would happen the other day–evidence that Brown was deliberately stonewalling on FOIA requests–including the request that exposed Brown’s and Christie’s expensive, taxpayer funded travel.

News of Mr. Christie’s loan to Ms. Brown broke in August, dealing a blow to his candidacy, and he apologized for failing to report it on his tax returns and ethics filings.

Less than two weeks later, Justice Department officials told Mr. Christie’s interim replacement, Ralph Marra, to remove Ms. Brown from acting as coordinator of the Freedom of Information Act requests about Mr. Christie’s tenure because of the obvious conflict of interest, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the communications. Ms. Brown resigned from the prosecutor’s office the same day, the official said.

But this is just the first of what I expect to be several damning revelations over the next few weeks.

Still to come? At the very least, some focus on the bonuses Christie gave Brown. And who knows? Maybe we’ll finally get the explanation for why Christie and Brown traipsed around the country and world together on the taxpayer dime.

49 replies
    • msaroff says:

      The question is whether they were fucking each other, or just the concept of competent non-corrupt administration of the law, as well as the taxpayer.

  1. Teddy Partridge says:

    What possible explanation is there for having your #2 person travel with you everywhere? I mean, what’s the point of having a #2 person if you’re both going to be away from the office at the same time? Shouldn’t the #2 person be at the office, minding the store, while the big (!) boss is traveling to important and glamorous venues?

  2. Teddy Partridge says:

    It’s almost as if Christie has some once-thought-shameful disability they are trying to cover up. Does he have horrible dyslexia? Is he illiterate? Can he not operate a motor vehicle? Is he unable to feed himself?

    I mean, why does he need a minder with him at all times? And, unlike Ensign, why is that professional minder a woman to whom he loaned money?

    • emptywheel says:

      To whom he loaned money, and gave bonuses, and involved in his DPAs.

      Though to be fair, Michele didn’t help him the day he got pulled over for speeding without insurance or registration. I mean, I guess he didn’t drive up a one way and run into a motorcyclist. But he still drove like an ass.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      The author of King of the Mountain, Prof. Arnold Ludwig, had a simple criterion for judging whether leaders were having affairs (large numbers of female conquests is an important alpha male characteristic). He assumed where there’s smoke, there’s fire, i.e., every rumor about sexaual dalliances is true, owing to the great effort made to cover up. I just hope Ms. Brown did not assume the bottom position, or she might not be alive to talk about it.

  3. orionATL says:

    you may be clairvoyant, ew –

    but then again you may just be intensely observant,

    with a nose for news and hypocrisy,

    industrious as hell,

    and one reporter who is willing (and free) to follow a story for several weeks or months (or years).

    the christie story which you have been bird-dogging here at FDL for a couple of months represents the kind of persistent news reporting this country used to have but has been missing for some years (decades, actually).

    could it be that a major media source found its investigative leads at a small-time weblog?

    if so, it would turn the bloggers-as-parasites story on its head, wouldn’t?

    my thanks to you – and to jane hamsher for being your supportive “editor”.

  4. MadDog says:

    Yeah, I smell an illicit affair “breaking news” story as the final Christie governor run coup de grâce.

    I do wonder how long it will be before the TradMed admits that there are Democratic fingerprints all over the “leaks”.

    NJ/NY Dems at a minimum, but twouldn’t surprise me if national Dems lent a hand as well.

    • Teddy Partridge says:

      Well, of course Corzine’s fingerprints are all over the leaks; his campaign did the FOIA requests, right? Until SCLM are willing to do their jobs, oppo research rules the day.

      • emptywheel says:

        Let me make a distinction here. There’s FOIA–and that’s clearly coming from Corzine’s campaign. But there’s a whole lot of other stuff out there that is coming out independently of the Corzine campaign.

  5. orionATL says:

    teddy [email protected]

    how about,

    “is christie rather stupid?”

    personally, i favor this answer, based on several events reported here over time.

    one should never, ever underestimate the possibility that the rightwing in this country include large numbers of intellectually limited individuals.

    i understand that what i am saying is neither polite nor politically correct to say publicly,

    but consider –

    it might, just might, be the case.

    in any event, at some point in our public discussion, persistent republican folly, hypocrisy, and indifference to the public good needs to be addressed in some way other than “oh well, that is his/her opinion.”

  6. radiofreewill says:

    EW, I fed this article into the WTF? inference machine – and it came back with:

    “Two crooked public servants doing the wild thing on the public dime.”

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Why would a pair of such ambitious lawyers leave themselves naked to the arguments of their opponents?

    • eCAHNomics says:

      According to Republican Gomorrah author, Max Blumenthal, personal misbehavior is an essential characteristic of people on the authoritarian side of the aisle. Not sure I can do his arguement justice in a sentence, but the attraction of authoritarianism is that it promises salvation if you follow the rules, and all you need to do if you can’t follow the rules is repent. Of course, the repentence (born again) part has to come before you go into politics, and on that front, it’s a little late for Christie.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think the authoritarian follower’s personality tolerates gross hypocrisy because of its greater need for the certainty that comes with following by “faith” alone. As long as their leader provides certainty and imagined or real protection, hypocrisy and lies become irrelevant.

        I suspect the gross hypocrisy – rampant extra-marital sex, illegal drug abuse, family violence and paedophilia – arises out of the drives of the dominator, a character often as much predator as dominator. He doesn’t respect himself and is, therefore, incapable of respecting those who follow him. The queer thing about the authoritarian “ecosystem” is that what was once so illicit that it spelt political death is now a badge of honor. Foley may be out, but Vitter is in, like Flynn.

        Non-authoritarian followers of the Edwards in public life require extended contrition and a demonstrable change of heart to win them back, if that’s even possible.

        Of course, men and women travel together all the time for professional reasons. It is Mr. Christie’s mob boss-like behavior and Ms. Brown’s followership and dedicated servicing of his needs that fuels suspicion. Their peccadillos, if any, would become public owing to their public positions.

        If Christie and Brown were an item, it could be more than politically embarrassing. It could violate their professional responsibility to disclose or recuse themselves from significant legal matters, some of national importance. Because of the inherently hierarchical, missionary-position nature of their superior/inferior jobs, any relationship might well violate sexual harassment laws or workplace rules generally or DoJ policies in particular. It would also be relevant information for the voters of New Jersey before they decide to make Mr. Christie their chief executive.

  8. bobschacht says:

    Hey, is it late enough to talk about Monday Night Football?

    I’m working on this theory that Kyle Orton is being groomed in the mold of Tom Brady by a coach who has Bill Bellicheck on his mind. Whaddya think?

    Did I hear right that next week its the Broncos vs. the Steelers? That should be a good test.

    Bob in AZ

    • emptywheel says:

      Broncos have a bye, then Baltimore.

      Kyle Orton is not a Matt Cassell; he’s managed, but won’t ever have the deep bomb that others have. Though I was enjoying the way Mini-Hoodie (as mr ew and I call McDaniels) was working his presser.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Is the letter “A”, Hester?

      EW’s original title to this comment is fine, as are the questions raised by the known facts. The editorial revisions for the front page, I think, are ahead of known facts.

      Speculation about political opponents may be fun, as long it’s conditional, the alleged hypocrisy reasonably follows what’s known, and conflicts with the opponent’s public pronouncements and professional responsibility. I would amend the front-page title with something less Enquirer-esque than “paramour”. It’s both too blatant and too subtle for Hester Prynne.

  9. foothillsmike says:

    I was married to an AUSA and find Christie’s need for a sidekick preposterous. This guy had his delusions of grandeur. As governor one can only imagine how things would evolve. Is there currently a throne in the NJ governors mansion.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Being one of the TV areas that covers the race, I think that Corzine’s commercials have been effective. Tag line is something like Christie is never there when you need him. Policy oriented slant, which is refreshing. I.E., Corzine seems to be playing the personal attack via leaks, but keepiing his ads on policy. I haven’t seen any Christie ads, perhaps because they are segmenting the market, where Corzine’s appear on less conservative channels & perhaps Christie’s are on Fox & ABC, which I never watch.

      Having said that, it’s another least worst choice.

      • DWBartoo says:

        Ah yes, bolling for lesser weevils.

        We are so very lucky to have the choice.

        Let us spare a moment to consider those societies where they have only awful choices.

        We get to choose between awful AND lousy (it is an added benefit or bonus that so many of our choices are also filthy rich).

        It is part of our special “exceptionalism”.

        We should thank our lucky stars [and give them more perks! So that the poor things don’t have to borrow, in unseemly fashion, from their superiors (cough! cough! … just clearing my throat … ahem!)]


  10. Beerfart Liberal says:

    Of course,Corzine’s gonna win. It’s fate:

    A Democratic governor, struggling with approvals from his own party and trailing his Republican opponent in the polls, was seeking re-election during a summer dominated by news of the death of a music icon. That happened in 1977, the last time a Democratic governor was re-elected in New Jersey. Brendan Byrne won the Democratic primary with 30% of the vote, and came from behind to beat the GOP candidate, Raymond Bateman. Elvis Presley died in August, between the primary and the general.

      • Hoofin says:

        I remember Byrne, and ’77.

        He used to get a hard time from both the Republicans and the Democrats, and wasn’t expected to be re-elected.

        I was at a symposium for the 50th anniversary of the 1947 New Jersey state
        constitution and Governor Byrne was one of the panelists. He told the story about how he was asked whether he would have preferred a unicameral legislature instead of a bicameral one. His answer was “How about No-cameral ?!”

  11. 4jkb4ia says:

    Cheers for Daggett campaign. Runs away. (This is based on one NYT article which has institutionalized motivation to favor the plucky underdog)

  12. JohnnyTable70 says:

    I’m taking odds that the third person who allegedly signed both Christie’s and Brown’s travel vouchers was none other than acting USA Ralph Marra.

  13. Broadstreetbuddy says:

    We can only hope this gets into the news, what with this ongoing national soap opera about a balloon and a boy.

  14. NCDem says:

    Additional records provided in raw form by the Corzine campaign and analyzed by The Times show that Ms. Brown accompanied Mr. Christie on 16 trips, the bulk of them in 2007 and 2008. They were often accompanied by a junior prosecutor, Kevin O’Dowd.

    Writers always have a way of using words in an unusual but unbuttoning manner. I find the word raw to be that way.

    It is not a timeline but it would be neat to know how many overnights Christie took in 2007 and 2008 that were not with Mrs. Brown. The article goes on to say that Kevin O’Dowd was talking to the press. I would like to know if he talked with others after he left the threesome in London a couple of days early while they stayed around to enjoy themselves so to speak.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Mr. Florio started out from and being well-connected in NJ politics. Somewhat at odds with his non-denominational/Methodist college education, he started his professional life as a lobbyist for the ueber-capitalist National Association of Manufacturers and then for ueber-predator tobacco company Philip Morris.

      He’s a made man, and has been a fixture in NJ Republican politics for thirty years. From his bio here, emphasis added:

      Dale J. Florio, an attorney and founder of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, is a public affairs professional with experience at the federal, state and local levels. He is also President of Winning Strategies Communications, Inc. which oversees the marketing of Winning Strategies Advertising, Winning Strategies Public Relations and Princeton Public Affairs Group. Legislative strategy development, direct lobbying and coalition development are Mr. Florio’s specialties. Immediately prior to co-founding the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Mr. Florio managed the $10 million Philip Morris state and local government affairs program throughout all 50 states. He was responsible for development and implementation of the company’s lobbying strategy, grassroots effort and political contributions program. Before joining Philip Morris, he served as federal public affairs representative with the National Association of Manufacturers and as an administrative assistant to a member of the New Jersey General Assembly. In 1979, Mr. Florio was elected as a member of the Borough Council in Somerville, New Jersey. He chaired the Finance Committee of the Council, while serving on that committee for nearly three years. In June, 1992 Mr. Florio was elected Chairman of the Somerset County Republican Organization. In the Spring of 1992, he was nominated by State Assembly Speaker Chuck Hayatian and appointed by Governor Florio to the New Jersey Building Authority. Mr. Florio served as a key advisor to Christie Todd Whitman during her successful primary and general election victories in 1993 and 1997 and was subsequently named to the Governor’s Transition Team. Mr. Florio serves on the Boards of Commerce Bank/Central, Opinion Research Corporation, Innovative Educational Programs, Inc., and the Adult Day Center of Somerset County. He was also a member of the Task Force on the Affordability and Accessibility of Health Care in New Jersey. A graduate of Allegheny College [1977] and Seton Hall Law School, Mr. Florio is admitted to the practice of law in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

      • Hoofin says:

        I am just baffled how the Somerset County NJ GOP managed to avoid the radar of Chris Christie as the so-called corruption fighting attorney general. There was both a Park Commission scandal and an expense padding one in the Sheriff’s office.

        Florio’s lobbying firm, Princeton Public Affairs, is probably at some degree of separation to most of the municipalities in Somerset County. But the public just doesn’t get to know. (I have a feeling it’s due to the bipartisan nature of the outfit.)

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Those who knew him in younger days would find Mr. Florio’s adult life no departure from his earlier one. That his first two jobs were with NAM and Philip Morris says it all. I suspect he was one of the models for the film version of the tobacco obbyist who could sell cigarettes on a cancer ward and testify to Congress about it without missing a beat.

    He does have a certain je ne sais quoi that many find attractive. His 1981 marriage to the daughter of the vice chairman of Bethlehem Steel was announced in the NYT.

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