January 13, 2014, 1
Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., already embroiled in a scandal over the George Washington Bridge lane closures last September, is also coming under investigation for using relief funds in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy on television ads to promote tourism to New Jersey.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., released a statement Monday that said the Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General is launching a full-scale audit of how New Jersey sent the funds. Pallone sent a letter to HUD in August 2013 requesting an investigation into the spending because Christie’s administration awarded the contract for the television ads to a firm that charged $4.7 million, even though they received a bid for similar work that only cost $2.5 billion. At the time, HUD issued a waiver to the state allowing them to use $25 million in grant money for the television commercials.
“I commend the HUD Office of the Inspector General for investigating whether the state properly utilized taxpayer funds for this marketing campaign,” Pallone said in the statement. “Working with my New Jersey colleagues, we had to fight hard to get the Sandy aid package passed by assuring others in Congress the funding was desperately needed and would be spent responsibly. I also raised concerns that Governor Christie and his family appeared in taxpayer-funded advertisements during an election year.”