Christie Faces Probes, Smears Like He Inflicted On Foes

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on January 20, 2014

Misconduct allegations mounted over the weekend against embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie despite his attempt to blame the George Washington Bridge scandal on underlings.

New Jersey's U.S. Attorney office met Jan. 19 for several hours with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding her claim against two top Christie aides. Zimmer has alleged that the aides threatened last spring to hinder federal relief for her city's Hurricane Sandy damage unless she supported Christie's picks among Wall Street investors for a Hoboken redevelopment plan.

Chris Christie and Barack Obama via WikimediaChristie is shown at left with President Obama in a photo courtesy of Wikimedia as they toured flood damage in 2012 just days before Obama's re-election. Christie's joint appearance and thanks to Obama were widely reported as bipartisan cooperation, but angered some conservatives.

The new allegations and the media blitz parallel those that Christie orchestrated previously in his career against others. He created a public image as a GOP corruption-fighting legislator and U.S. attorney on his way to winning his state's governorship in 2009.

Update: Rob Kall writes on OpEdNews, Governor Rod Blagojevich's Defense Attorney Compares Chris Christie's Situation to Blago's... and It's Not Pretty.

I discussed that history with New Jersey radio host Bob Carson Jan. 19 in an hour-long interview on his public affairs show, Carson's Corner, which can be heard here, among other places. In 2009 and 2010, we had examined these same Christie tendencies in previous Carson's Corner shows at a time when virtually all of the rest of the state's media had bought into Christie's image as a blunt-talking reformer fighting for the ordinary citizen.

We focused then as now on the unfairness and duplicity in Christie's overblown "Big Rig III" probe. As New Jersey's U.S. attorney under the Bush administration, Christie's groundwork for the probe swept him to the governor's office.

Christie hired more than a dozen of his former federal colleagues from the U.S. attorney's office for state posts, thereby illustrating how the so-called "loyal Bushie" brand of political back-scratching flourished under his supervision.

The Justice Integrity Project also reported evidence that the more than 40 indictments had been packaged by federal prosecutors to help him win office, not as impartial justice, as described in previous stories excerpted below.

Michael ChertoffMore currently, a state legislative chairman issued 20 subpoenas last week for Christie associates and their organizations to describe why authorities inflicted traffic gridlock on Fort Lee for four days last September on the New Jersey side of the bridge across the Hudson River to New York City.

One of those ordered to testify is David Samson, a Christie appointee who heads the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that controls bridge operations.

Samson hired for protection Michael Chertoff, right, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary and former New Jersey U.S. Attorney. Among other jobs, Chertoff is founder of the Chertoff Group, which received a $1.2 million security contract from the Port Authority.

So he has close experience in cozy arrangements, as described in a special section about Chertoff's career in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters. Chertoff is also an attorney with Covington and Burling, and it is in that role that he is representing Samson.

MSNBC host Steve Kornacki has reported that the Christie administration used its Port Authority appointees to pressure developers to increase their support for the GOP governor's 2013 re-election campaign and future prospects. Kornacki also broke the Zimmer story.

Additionally, the Washington Post post reported in its print edition Jan. 20, Christie’s early ad too tough for Jersey. The report by David Fahrenthold disclosed that Christie's first run for political office achieved success by using inaccurate television ads to smear his opponent.

For a 1994 race for the county board in Morris County, Christie's television ad against his GOP opponent "ran more than 400 times on cable TV before the June GOP primary," the Post reported. "That 1994 race was New Jersey’s introduction to the brash and confident Christie, whose hardball tactics have repeatedly surprised people — even in a state that thinks it invented hardball. But in Morris County back then, people thought Christie had learned the downside of playing so rough: That ad helped get him into his first elected office but then helped get him out of it. He was sued for defamation, required to apologize and then defeated at the polls after just one term."

The Post story noted that Christie's GOP opponent from 1994 forgave the governor before he died in the belief that Christie had gone on to become a good governor. 

Paul FishmanChristie and his aides have denied wrongdoing, as for example, in a Newark Star-Ledger column, Top Christie official calls Hoboken mayor's storm funding claims 'absurd.'

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger for the Washington Post, wrote that MSNBC should be embarrassed, not Christie.

New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, a Democrat at left, is responsible for helping sort through facts involving any federal investigation.

From 2002 to the end of 2008 during the Bush administration, Christie Christie held the same powerful office in charge of all federal civil and criminal litigation in the state, with strong influence also over FBI and other federal investigations.

Christie won success via the nation's increasingly politicized justice system, which the Justice Integrity Project has reported as veering from its ostensible mission into becoming a political spoils system. Christie had scant special distinction for the post aside from Republican fund-raising and other party loyalty. He was a protégé of Bush senior advisor Karl Rove, and President Bush nicknamed him "Big Boy."

Against all odds, former New Jersey assemblyman Louis Manzo successfully defended himself from an unfair and illegal corruption indictment in the Big Rig case.

Last week in an exclusive interview, Manzo predicted that Christie has enough political skills and insider ties to survive the current investigation. Manzo has written a biography of Christie scheduled for release late this spring, Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie. [Editor's note: This book title changed after this column appeared.]

Building in part on Manzo's forecast, I predict that Christie will use his skills and positions, which including chairmanship of the republican Governors Association, to remain viable also, but ultimately will fall short of his goal of becoming the 2016 GOP nominee.

Supporters of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush can be expected to help prop up Christie for the short term and happily watch his troubles overwhelm his campaign down the road when it is too late for Wall Street and the party's center-right to coalesce around another candidate aside from Bush.

As for now, WABC-AM host Geraldo Rivera asked former New York City Police and Corrections Commissioner Bernard Kerik about the situation in a wide-ranging interview covering Kerik's career and views. Our project has documented that Kerik, a Republican once closed to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Bush, was treated unfairly in a federal prosecution primarily by a Democratic-appointed judge and prosecutors. They put Kerik pre-trial on corruption charges into solitary confinement and otherwise forced him into a guilty plea amid a witch-hunt atmosphere by a metro New York media that had formerly lionized him.

Released from prison last year following his term, Kerik is currently looking for work. New York's most decorated police officer in history has been advocating sentencing reform in his spare time with the view that mandatory sentences he saw imposed on others.

Regarding the current investigations of others in New Jersey, where Kerik lives with his family, he said, "Somebody's lying, and in a lot of trouble."

 

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Other Justice Integrity Project Columns 

Justice Integrity Project, Christie Faces Probes, Smears Like He Inflicted On Foes, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 20, 2014. Misconduct allegations mounted over the weekend against embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie despite his attempt to blame the George Washington Bridge scandal on underlings. New Jersey's U.S. Attorney office met Jan. 19 for several hours with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding her claim against two top Christie aides. Zimmer has alleged that the aides threatened last spring to hinder federal relief for her city's Hurricane Sandy damage unless she supported Christie's picks among Wall Street investors for a Hoboken redevelopment plan.

Justice Integrity Project, How Christie’s Bridge Scandal Helps Jeb Bush Win in 2016, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 12, 2014. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a big winner so far in the political scandal and cover-up engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Justice Integrity Project, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 21, 2011. In a major setback for the U.S. Justice Department and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a federal appeals court last week dismissed federal bribery and conspiracy charges against two New Jersey Democrats targeted in a trap set by Christie. Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly pointed to the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” case as one of the nation’s most scandalous political prosecutions of recent years.

OpEdNews, Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 3, 2010. The Justice Department this week resumed its massive New Jersey political corruption "Bid Rig III" case with a trial that continues the self-inflicted damage from its 2006 political purge of U.S. attorneys.

 

Related News Coverage

Christie Administration Bridge Scandal

Sam Adam Jr.Update: New Republic, Chris Christie's Entire Career Reeks It's not just the bridge, Alex MacGillis, Feb. 12, 2014. Has there ever been a political reversal of fortune as rapid and as absolute as the one just experienced by Chris Christie?  even post-Bridgegate, the prevailing interpretations of Christie fundamentally miss the mark. He has been so singularly successful at constructing his own mythology—as a reformer, a crusader, a bipartisan problem-solver—that people have never really seen him clearly. Over the past three months, I talked to more than 50 people who have crossed paths with Christie throughout his career—legislators, officials, Democrats, Republicans, lawyers, longtime New Jersey politicos. (Christie himself didn’t respond to a detailed request for comment.) The problem with Christie isn’t merely that he is a bully. It’s that his political career is built on a rotten foundation. Christie owes his rise to some of the most toxic forces in his state—powerful bosses who ensure that his vow to clean up New Jersey will never come to pass. He has allowed them to escape scrutiny, rewarded them for their support, and punished their enemies. All along, even as it looked like Christie was attacking the machine, he was really just mastering it.

OpEdNews, Governor Rod Blagojevich's Defense Attorney Compares Chris Christie's Situation to Blago's... and It's Not Pretty, Rob Kall, Feb. 4, 2014. I interviewed Sam Adam Jr., right, rated one of the top 100 defense attorneys in America, who defended former governor Rod Blagojevich he first time he was tried. I asked him to compare the Blagojevich case with Chris Christie's situation. He did, discussing how the case would be approached by defense and prosecution, and discussing advantages and disadvantages Christie has. Attorney Adam started off commenting, "I see Chris Christie having a lot of problems now under mail and wire fraud, maybe a RICO statutes as well coming down the line." I asked, "What about the criminality of Bridgegate?" Blagojevich defense attorney Adam answered, "Well the truth of the matter is there are so many laws on the books that you can get anybody for anything if you want to.

Here is an individual who also is involved with a law firm that was being used to lobby on behalf of the Rockefeller Group. Now the Rockefeller Group is trying to develop in Hoboken, and he and his firm were out there lobbying for that group."

Huffington Post, Wolff & Samson, Firm At Heart Of Christie Controversy, Has Had An Ally In The Governor, Andrew Perez and Christina Wilkie, Jan. 30, 2014. When the New Jersey-based industrial giant Honeywell Industries threatened to move its headquarters in 2010 unless the state doled out millions of dollars in tax incentives, the company did what many of New Jersey's biggest corporate players do -- it hired the law and lobbying firm Wolff & Samson to press its case. Honeywell paid Wolff & Samson $80,000 in lobbying fees in 2010 to lobby agencies like the Economic Development Authority. It paid off.

Chris ChristieStar-Ledger / NJ.com, Top Christie official calls Hoboken mayor's storm funding claims 'absurd,'Erin O'Neill, Jan. 20, 2014. Top Christie official calls Hoboken mayor's storm funding claims 'absurd.' Guadagno says she has personal relationship with Hoboken mayor, is 'surprised' by allegations. One of the top Christie administration officials that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has accused of threatening to withhold storm aid if she didn't push forward a redevelopment project called her allegations "patently false and absurd on their face." In a statement released this morning, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable said he welcomes a "full and thorough law enforcement review of her libelous claims.” Zimmer claims Constable, as well as Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, told her if she moved forward on a real estate project, the storm-ravaged city would receive more disaster relief funding. Guadagno said she was surprised by Zimmer's accusations. "I deny wholeheartedly those allegations," she said. "I thought we had a good relationship."

NorthJersey.com / Bergen Record, Port Authority study favored politically connected builder for Hoboken redevelopment, Scott Fallon, Jan. 20, 2014. A planning report heavily favored the politically connected builder of a proposed $1.1 billion development that is at the center of a dispute between the governor’s office and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. The mayor alleges that the Christie administration withheld Sandy recovery money from her city because she did not favor fast-tracking the massive project. Of the 10 industrial and commercial properties that the report recommended for redevelopment, nine were owned by a subsidiary of The Rockefeller Group, records show. The Rockefeller Group is represented by the law firm of David Samson, a close Christie adviser whom Christie appointed as chairman of the Port Authority, which paid for the planning study. Michael Sullivan, one of the report’s authors, said Monday that his team did not favor The Rockefeller Group and that the Port Authority had limited involvement in the report’s preparation.

Wall Street Journal, Justice Goes After the GOP, Harvey Silverglate, Jan. 30, 2014. Investigating Chris Christie's administration, indicting another prominent Republican. Is it political? Is Eric Holder's Justice Department driven by a political agenda, or are the department's recent prosecutorial decisions simply signs of overzealousness? The Justice Department has focused on two prominent Republicans, announcing a corruption indictment of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and launching an active and very public criminal investigation into the antics of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration. In doing so, federal prosecutors have created at least the appearance that they are targeting two men who have been touted as plausible candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Newsmax, Dershowitz: 'The Dominoes Are Beginning to Fall' for Christie, Todd Beamon, Jan. 31, 2014. Alan DershowitzAlan Dershowitz, left, told Newsmax on Friday "the dominoes are beginning to fall" in the spiraling bridge-gate scandal engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and said "I think he hasn't told the whole truth and is in trouble." The U.S. attorney should now subpoena the documents that were referred to in the letter and should sit down and talk to the governor," the former Harvard Law School professor said in an exclusive interview. "The governor so far has not spoken to law enforcement nor has he spoken under oath, so legally, he can lie all he wants," Dershowitz said. "He's not obliged to tell the truth. Politically, he may be obliged to tell the truth, but legally he's not. "But once he sits down and talks to law enforcement, he has to tell the truth, otherwise he can be prosecuted for a crime. The men have known each other since high school, according to news reports, but Christie made negative comments about [former aide David] Wildstein at the Dec. 13 press conference. "Gov. Christie really made his stupid mistake by treating Wildstein the way he did," Dershowitz said. "He provoked him. Christie showed his total ineptness when he said what he said about Wildstein at the press conference." 

Washington Post, For 2016, Hillary Clinton has commanding lead over Democrats, GOP race wide open, Philip Rucker and Scott Clement, Jan. 29, 2014. Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a commanding 6 to 1 lead over other Democrats heading into the 2016 presidential campaign, while the Republican field is deeply divided with no clear front-runner, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was at or near the top of the Republican field in many public opinion surveys last year, is in third place — with the support of 13 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — behind Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) with 20 percent and former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 18 percent.

AP via Washington Post, Christie aide: Hoboken treated no differently, Staff report, Jan. 20, 2014. Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration on Monday pushed back against a claim that Superstorm Sandy relief funding was withheld from a severely flooded city because its Democratic mayor wouldn’t sign off on a politically connected real estate venture. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno strongly denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s claims as “false” and “illogical” on Monday, the day before Christie’s second-term inauguration. And Marc Ferzan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, told reporters in a conference call that Hoboken has been treated no differently than other cities with respect to storm relief funds. Dwayne Doherty, a spokesman for the Manhattan-based Rockefeller Group, declined to comment on the project Monday because it is being investigated by federal authorities and a legislative committee.

OpEd News, Chris Christie'€™s Many Tales From the Dark Side, Jerry Policoff, Jan. 21, 2014. Chris Christie has burst onto the national scene in recent years. Despite having many critics and detractors he has become something of a darling of the mainstream media, and is viewed by many as a potential successful Republican candidate for the presidency. A close look at Chris Christie's career reveals a pattern of entitlement, bullying, vindictiveness, and a disturbing lack of respect for ethics and the rule of law. The Bridge scandal is wholly consistent with Christie's past behavior, and renders his denials less than credible. Only his defensive posture seems to have changed, and perhaps that should be seen as a sign that he fears his past ability to deflect criticism out of sheer bluster and arrogance may finally be wearing thin.

AP via Washington Post, New subpoenas seek to unravel NJ bridge scandal, Jan. 16, 2014. Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s top staffers are among 20 people and organizations subpoenaed in a widening traffic jam scandal that has shaken his administration. Christie’s chief of staff, chief counsel and top communications aide are among those to receive subpoenas Thursday and Friday. The Christie for Governor campaign organization also was subpoenaed, though the governor wasn’t.

Carson's Corner Radio, Interview of 'Presidential Puppetry' Author Andrew Kreig, Bob Carson, Jan. 19, 2014. 

Bergen Record / NorthJersey.com, Port Authority chairman hires former Homeland Security chief as attorney in GWB probe, Shaun Boburg, Jan. 19, 2014. Port Authority chairman David Samson, a Christie ally now embroiled in two controversies, has hired former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to represent him in a widening investigation into lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. Samson was one of 18 people to be issued a subpoena for documents Friday from a legislative panel investigating the politically motivated closures, which were carried out by two Christie executives at the Port Authority in September. Records show Chertoff's consulting firm, The Chertoff Group, received a no-bid contract worth at least $1.2 million from the Port Authority to review the agency's security and provide recommendations. The results of the study, conducted in 2011 and 2012, while Samson was chairman of the agency, have not been released publicly. Chertoff, an attorney at the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling LLP, confirmed on Sunday that he was representing Samson through the firm. Chertoff, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, founded The Chertoff Group in 2009. He is a native of Elizabeth and was the top federal law-enforcement official in New Jersey from 1990 to 1994 and later served as a federal judge for two years before his appointment by former President George W. Bush to lead Homeland Security in 2005.

WABC-FM (New York), Hurricane Sandy scandal thickens, Geraldo Rivera, Jan. 20, 2014. The Hurricane Sandy scandal thickens between Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. Geraldo tells you the latest and debates who is lying in this case with Eric Bolling, Peter Swire, Bernie Kerik and more! Listen here.

Washington Post, Christie’s early ad too tough for Jersey, David A. Fahrenthold, June 19, 2014. In 1994, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie (R) ran for the county board in Morris County. His television ad against his opponents was inaccurate and led to a lawsuit. Christie’s inaccurate ad ran more than 400 times on cable TV before the June GOP primary. He won. That 1994 race was New Jersey’s introduction to the brash and confident Christie, whose hardball tactics have repeatedly surprised people — even in a state that thinks it invented hardball. But in Morris County back then, people thought Christie had learned the downside of playing so rough: That ad helped get him into his first elected office but then helped get him out of it. He was sued for defamation, required to apologize and then defeated at the polls after just one term. In office, Christie focused on some of the issues that have defined his career. He pressed for stronger ethics rules, called for lower taxes and attacked cronyism in the county’s business dealings. Former colleagues on the board said he was hardworking, confident and sometimes contentious. But Christie continued to make enemies outside the chamber, by starting a new campaign just months after the old one ended. He ran for the state assembly. That 1995 campaign fizzled in part because of lingering anger over the 1994 ad.

MSNBC, Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges, Steve Kornacki, Jan. 18, 2014. Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc. The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants. In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported. “The bottom line is, it’s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the City of Hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer,” she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki.

Washington Post, The scandal is MSNBC, Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 18, 2014. The New Christie Scandal. The bridge scandal started out as a test for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Now it has become a test for the media. MSNBC, which long ago stopped being a news outlet in the sense of going out to find facts and is largely indistinguishable from Democratic Party talking points, has been going 24/7 since the bridge story broke. No surprise. But then Saturday MSNBC decided to throw even the pretense of journalism overboard. It ran with a claim from Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken claiming Christie withheld Sandy relief funds to gain approval for a business development. Christie’s office put out a quick denial of the allegations, as did the developers. MSNBC says the mayor has a personal diary that corroborates her claim — a diary that has yet to be released, reviewed or verified. Rather than, you know, investigate the story, MSNBC threw it out on the air hoping others would follow. The Hill had the good sense to note this mayor had changed  her story from earlier claims that the funds were denied for not backing him for governor. Then Saturday afternoon Christie’s team had enough. It put out a written statement:

MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him, even taking the unprecedented step of producing and airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week. Governor Christie and his entire administration have been helping Hoboken get the help they need after Sandy, with the city already having been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid and is targeted to get even more when the Obama Administration approves the next rounds of funding. The Governor and Mayor Zimmer have had a productive relationship, with Mayor Zimmer even recently saying she’s ‘very glad’ he’s been our Governor. It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television.

In short, the Hoboken mayor  has been all over the place, claiming different things have been for retribution. With no correspondence or other documented communication with the governor, we’re supposed to take a personal diary that could have been written at any point in time as reliable? A professional news operation must be more than simply a bulletin board for partisans.

Huffington Post, Chris Christie: The End Game, Robert Kuttner, Jan. 20, 2014. Let me go out on a limb here. Chris Christie will not run for president, and he is very likely not to serve out his term as governor of New Jersey. The reason is very simple. Given everything we know about Christie's style of governing, it is inconceivable that he did not know what his underlings were up to. This is a man who is an obsessive micro-manager, as well as a vindictive bully. Does any serious person think that he would tolerate senior people who would pull a caper like blockading the George Washington Bridge without keeping the boss informed? Such a person would never have been hired. Because there is no proof of his hands-on involvement -- yet -- much of the press and nearly all of the Republican Party has been content to play along with Christie's game of The Staff Did It. The criticism has been directed at his failure to keep tabs on rogue employees.

Bergen Record / Northjersey.com, Christie recalls how Obama reached out after Sandy, Melissa Hayes, Oct. 26, 2013. It may be the defining image of Chris Christie in the days after Superstorm Sandy: the governor clasping President Obama’s hand, the president placing his hand on Christie’s shoulder in a moment of shared grief. hat embrace of the president — a Democrat days away from reelection in a race many Republicans believed at the time still close — still has Republicans seething and pundits analyzing how it will affect Christie’s national potential.

Washington Post, Documents show coverup in N.J. traffic shutdown, Philip Rucker and Aaron Blake, Jan. 10, 2014. Gov. Chris Christie’s lieutenants worked furiously to hide the apparent act of political retaliation, though the documents do not directly implicate the governor. Read the documents released Friday. The Fix: 5 big unanswered questions. By our count, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answered 94(!) questions over a nearly two-hour press conference Thursday focused on his administration's push to cause a traffic jam in Fort Lee as a measure of political payback. Still, there are plenty of questions that either didn't get asked or Christie couldn't (or wouldn't) answer. Here's five.

WNYC / NJPR, Mayors: Was Christie Getting Revenge on Me, Too? Sarah Gonzalez, Jan. 10, 2014. Mayors in New Jersey say they're starting to consider foul play on behalf of the Christie administration in light of the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says she had a face to face visit with Governor Christie in the Spring, when he asked her to endorse him for re-election. She told him she would be remaining neutral. “He was quite disappointed, but I wouldn't say that he was angry. He was disappointed and said he would keep asking,” Zimmer said. "And I said, 'We can keep the conversation going but I don't expect to be changing my position.’ And I didn't.” She had applied for a Hazard Mitigation Grant to protect Hoboken from flooding. During Sandy, 80 percent of the city was under water.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Bob McDonnellWashington Post, McDonnell, wife charged; Ex-Va. governor allegedly took gifts, vacations, loans, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Sari Horwitz, June 21, 2014. Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife Maureen were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government. Authorities alleged that McDonnell and his wife received gifts from executive Jonnie Williams again and again, lodging near constant requests for money, clothes, trips, golf accessories and private plane rides. In exchange, authorities alleged that the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governorship to Williams’s struggling company, a small former cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements.

Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show via OpEdNews, Whistleblower Former NSA Exec Thomas Drake On Obama's Speech, Bengazi, 911 and more, Rob Kall, Jan. 20, 2014. After attending a pre-lecture reception, then a one hour lecture, then doing dinner with Thomas Drake, that lasted almost five hours, I got together three days later with Thomas and did what turned out to be an almost 2.5 hour interview. This is the first hour of the interview. From Wikipedia: Thomas Drake is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower.'

Washington Post, Top federal contractor official leaves administration, Joe Davidson, Jan. 19, 2014. Top Obama contracting official leaves for a position with a firm that facilitates federal procurement. 

Guardian, Evidence of 'industrial-scale killing' by Syria spurs call for war crimes charges, Ian Black, Jan. 20, 2014. Senior war crimes prosecutors say photographs and documents provide 'clear evidence' of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees.  Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the "systematic killing" of about 11,000 detainees, according to three eminent international lawyers. The three, former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, examined thousands of Syrian government photographs and files recording deaths in the custody of regime security forces from March 2011 to last August. Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution. The 31-page report, which was commissioned by a leading firm of London solicitors acting for Qatar, is being made available to the UN, governments and human rights groups. Its publication appears deliberately timed to coincide with this week's UN-organised Geneva II peace conference, which is designed to negotiate a way out of the Syrian crisis by creating a transitional government.

Common Cause via Institute for Public Accuracy, 'Net Neutrality' Ruling Poised to Make Web into “Something that Looks Like Cable TV,” Michael Copps, Jan. 14, 2014. The New York Times reports: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out Federal Communications Commission rules that require Internet service providers to give all traffic equal access through their networks.” Michael Copps, a former longtime Democratic FCC commissioner and special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Initiative, released a statement: “The Court’s decision today is poised to end the free, open, and uncensored Internet that we have come to rely on. People depend on the Open Internet to connect and communicate with each other freely. Voters need it to inform themselves before casting ballots. Without prompt corrective action by the Commission to reclassify broadband, this awful ruling will serve as a sorry memorial to the corporate abrogation of free speech.”

 

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