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Monday, January 13, 2014

Most NJ voters think Christie knew of Bridgegate, feds probe Sandy relief spending

A majority of New Jersey voters think it’s likely Governor Chris Christie was aware of the Fort Lee traffic lane closures before they happened according to a Rasmussen poll. The poll finds that 54% of likely New Jersey voters believe it’s at least somewhat likely that Christie was aware that traffic lanes onto the George Washington Bridge were being closed as retaliation for the mayor of Fort Lee’s refusal to support the governor’s reelection while 36% think it is unlikely.
As one would expect on a extremely partisan issue there is a huge partisan split in the polling results as 75% of Democrats think it likely that Christie knew while 34% of GOP voters think he did as well as 46% of independents. Regardless of these findings I expect Christie to survive as governor but crippled as a candidate barring new revelations.
Moving to the latest scandal, CNN reports that Christie is the target of an inspector general investigation regarding expenditures of federal monies from the Hurricane Sandy relief fund. In the probe, HUD auditors will examine New Jersey's use of $25 million in Sandy relief funds for a marketing campaign to promote tourism after Sandy decimated the state's coastline in late 2012. The issue is, the governor featured himself and his family in ads to promote tourism on the damaged Jersey Shore. How Obamaesque!

Update: The Obama administration approved of the "Stronger than the Storm" ads. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan even praised their effectiveness when he testified at a senate hearing.
SECRETARY SHAUN DONOVAN: “…There has been an effort in a number of states, not just in Sandy, but historically as well in many, many prior storms to encourage economic development and we did see a small amount of CDBG money that was used for an economic development campaign to encourage people back to the beaches…The evidence that we have seen is that those campaigns are effective in growing economic development in those areas and therefore they actually reduce the cost of recovery to the federal government…The Community Development Block Grant is a very flexible program. This is clearly within the legal boundaries of what Congress has determined the program can be used for and it was demonstrated to us that this could be an effective tool and actually lower the cost to the federal government.” (Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Subcommittee Hearing on Hurricane Sandy, 11/6/13)

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