More bad news for Chris Christie as feds investigate ‘Stronger than the Storm’ campaign
Days after the so-called scandal that has been dubbed Bridgegate, in which it was revealed that a top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie intentionally snarled traffic on the George Washington Bridge for political revenge, there’s more bad news for the potential 2016 Republican presidential frontrunner.
Christie’s administration is now being audited over its handling of federal grant money for the cleanup after Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the Jersey Shore, a New Jersey Democratic congressman announced.
New Jersey received a total of about $60 billion in federal aid after Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012. Some of the federal funds were used for a widespread pro-tourism campaign, “Stronger than the Storm,” which prominently feature Christie.
The ad campaign reportedly cost about $25 million.
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. reportedly referred Christie’s spending on the ad campaign to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for review. Pallone says that after a review last year, they found sufficient evidence to justify a full audit.
“We must ensure all taxpayer funds from the Sandy aid package are being spent appropriately,” Pallone wrote in a letter to HUD.
For example, Christie reportedly paid $4.7 million to a public relations firm, rather than another firm which had asked for $2 million less. The more expensive firm proposed featuring Christie in the campaign, and the other firm did not.
“The ‘Stronger Than the Storm’ campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy,” Christie’s office stated in a written response. “We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.”
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