Chris Christie has been taking it on the chin lately. He’s down in the polls. Criminal scandals seem to be resurfacing as new ones emerge. Also resurfacing are more stories and details about Christie’s spending during his tenure. The spotlight is on the 82 thousand dollars and change spent at Met Life Stadium during the 2011 – 2012 season on what are described as “concessions” on the bill.
As New Jersey Watchdog reported:
Christie’s most notable spending spree occurred during the 2010 and 2011 NFL football seasons at Met Life Stadium, where the New York’s Giants and Jets play their home games. New Jersey’s governor traditionally enjoys free use of luxury boxes for games and other events at the government-owned venue, but food and beverages cost extra.
On 58 occasions, Christie used a debit card to pay a total of $82,594 to Delaware North Sportservice, which operates the concessions at Met Life. The governor’s office did not provide any receipts, business reasons or names of individuals entertained, but defended the expense.
Yes they did at least try to defend the expense, but the problem is, their explanation makes it worse. And the deeper one looks, it also keep getting worse for the governor.
Yes, as if it wasn’t bad enough that this GOP administration that prided itself so much on it’s budget-balancing budget cuts so harsh the State Supreme Court had to step in and order Christie to raise funding that would demonstrably harm lower income children, but they had to make it worse, and more than once.
In a statement to the media, Christie’s press secretary Kevin Roberts said:
The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket or a sporting venue.
And to add insult to injury, in an email to Forbes after publication of reports of Christie’s waste while he was actively cutting his budget in ways that disproportionately hurt the poor, Christie spokesman Brian Murray wrote:
This was official catering, not the Governor going on a shopping spree.
In other words, “We don’t need to give you any details and we partied upscale — this wasn’t hot dogs, nachos and cokes.”
Really? It was bad enough that Christie is throwing parties for every home Jets and Giants game, but wouldn’t it be better if it was chips and dips? Sure, it would still be bad, but it would at least have shown him to be a “regular guy” or something. Blame it on outrageous stadium prices or something. The smug lack of disclosure along with the kick in the teeth that it was “catered” is just one more sign of how out of touch even the “regular guy” that Christie is supposed to be. A reputation he enjoys still with some, despite helicopter rides on the taxpayer dime, having his children in private schools while he slashes everyone else’s funds (while dressing down constituents telling them “it’s none of their business” as he slashed) and other acts of showing how out of tune he actually is.
And remember, Christie isn’t even a fan of either team; he’s a self-professed Cowboys fan. The vast majority of those games didn’t involve the Cowboys. That means he was throwing parties for teams that he doesn’t even like. And the “home” teams don’t even represent the state, but just rent a corner of their land. The last time I checked, there are no laws in New jersey requiring the governor to whoop it up on Sunday in a luxury box.
In addition, even if one goes to the budget everything is kept vague. It reports the spending as “meant to cover the costs of entertaining and official receptions on behalf of the state, and the operation of an official residence, for other expenses.” That translates for parties at the mansion or stuff for the house when it’s not for Giants and Jets games.
And indeed, after the administration was called out, Christie has found other ways than football games to spend this money. New Jersey Watchdog also reported that Christie did manage to go on some “shopping sprees.” In fact, he managed to go on over 100 shopping sprees to grocery stores and another 11 to liquor stores, despite Christie’s spokesperson’s words above.
Party on, Chris!
So now we have wasteful spending on football parties for teams he doesn’t even like and don’t actually represent the state. This while cutting budgets for everyone else without any details. When called out, Christie shifts that uncut budget money to grocery shopping and booze runs — exactly what they denied, and worse.
Over the years, Christie has managed to rack up over $300,000 in spending on things like groceries and parties. Apparently, the governor can’t put food on the table on a $175,000 per year salary and all the other perks of being head of a state.
And to kick some more sand in the people of New Jersey’s faces, also not known is if the money was spent at the Governor’s Mansion or the family’s home residence, as again — you guessed it — there aren’t enough details to tell where exactly the groceries were bought. The official reporting shows the stores, but not the addresses for chains like Shop Rite that are found all over the state.
This is fiscal responsibility according to the GOP in action, when and where they think people aren’t looking. Even their “every man” representative, the “straight-talking” Chris Christie, turns out to be as snobby and crass about it as the rest of them. They try to come off as “just like you,” but as they say, “look behind the wizard’s curtain and see the cheap-suited con man selling b*llsh*t.”
Of course, someone is bound to step up and say “It is only $300k, a drop in the bucket in the big picture. Plus, it’s not like it’s a crime or anything.” Just remind the party of principle that this isn’t about criminal charges; the governor already has enough of those. This is about principles.