As his involvement in Bridgegate is being examined, there's more bad news for NJ Governor Chris Christie: His family's appearance in NJ tourism ads—made with federal Hurricane Sandy relief money—is now the subject of a federal audit.
The Bergen Record reports: "Rep. Frank Pallone said Monday that the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is following up on his request for a full analysis of the state's use of relief funds intended to promote economic development after the October 2012 storm." However, Pallone, a Democrat, and other critics had complained last year that the ads were basically reelection ads for Christie.
The Record also reports: "Pallone pointed out that In an August request to the inspector general, Pallone cited reports that another firm had bid more than $2 million less to do the ad campaign. That firm's proposal did not include ads featuring the governor and it did not get the contract. Christie's administration has said the firm that won the contract, East Rutherford-based MWW Group, developed a promotion campaign that included more than just TV ads, including a ribbon-cutting on a boardwalk in Ocean County that set the world record for the longest ribbon and was covered on network television."
Senator Rand Paul (R), no fan of Christie's, said at a Homeland Security hearing on Sandy recovery last fall, "Some of these ads, people running for office put their their mug all over these ads while they’re in the middle of a political campaign. In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. Do ya think there might be a conflict of interest there?"
Pallone insisted he wasn't being political, telling CNN yesterday, "This was money that could have directly been used for Sandy recovery. And, as you know, many of my constituents still haven't gotten the money that is owed them to rebuild their homes or raise their homes or to help."
Christie's office hasn't commented yet.