Time magazine has a short excerpt up on its website from a new book on the 2012 campaign. This excerpt from that excerpt focuses on the Republican Veepstakes and the vetting of Governor Chris Christie:
The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.” (Todd also oversaw a family foundation whose activities and purpose raised eyebrows among the vetters.) And all that was on top of a litany of glaring matters that sparked concern on Myers’ team: Christie’s other lobbying clients, his investments overseas, the YouTube clips that helped make him a star but might call into doubt his presidential temperament, and the status of his health.
It isn’t that shocking to see a politician with some skeletons in his closet or allegedly trying to pad the careers/checkbooks of his cronies. Given that Christie isn’t necessarily the candidate I’d like to see emerge from the impending Republican scrum for 2016, I’m not unhappy to see that he might have some problems from his past that will make his candidacy more difficult. I also don’t think that voters should overlook such behavior as this only makes it that much easier for the political class to live, shall we say, differently from the rest of us and often at our expense. So Christie certainly deserves any disapprobation he receives if these claims are true.
All that being said, I’m far more troubled by the legal ways in which the President and Congresspersons are creating ruin in our nation (HT: Smith, A.) – and often to benefit concentrated interests in their corners at the expense of the many. So I wish more time was spent by the media vetting the politicians behind laws like the Farm Bill and so many other forms of legal graft in our system.