Last Thursday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie backers, and there are still a few out there, were given a rare opportunity to celebrate when the Republican Governor’s Association, of which Christie serves as Chairman announced its largest-ever 2nd quarter fundraising totals, raising $26.6m. Christie has proved himself a far more competent party fundraiser than manager of his State, allowing some in the Republican Party to hail his comeback from the George Washington Bridge scandal. Those who are doing so seem to be avoiding the even darker cloud on the horizon for Christie, one which more even than the GWB scandal undercuts Christie’s claims to good governance and fiscal responsibility. This scandal too involves a bridge – the Pulaski Skyway.
For those who haven’t heard of the Skyway before (and really, if you’re not from the Tri-State Area, why would you have?) it is an elevated bridge connecting the northern New Jersey cities of Newark (of Corey Booker fame) and Jersey City. By late 2010, almost a year after Christie had been elected to office as Governor, Christie realized that he had a problem. Having beaten incumbent Governor John Corzine as much because his unwavering opposition to raising the gas tax, as because of Corzine’s immense unpopularity, and Christie’s reputation as a tough-on-corruption US Attorney Christie was faced by the prospect of having to renege on his campaign promise. Among the most prominent reasons for Christie’s dilemma was the crumbling state of the Pulaski Skyway.
However, Team Christie struck on a solution; he and his team decided to cancel a multi-billion rail project between New Jersey and Manhattan, jointly financed by the State and the Port Authority, with loan guarantees and funds provided by the federal government, Christie may have canceled the billion dollar project in revenge against former Senator William Gormley who Christie let walk in a corruption probe. Gormley then worked furtively for Corzine. Gormley, it seems had a law firm making big bucks on the tunnel. Then Christie sought to convince the Board of the Port to finance the Skyway refurbishment with the money they had raised for the purpose of financing the rail project. The Port, in short, would prove to be Christie’s “break in case of emergency” piggy bank.
Of course, there was a problem. The Port is legally barred from financing renovations outside their purview – that being the cross-state bridges and tunnels, the PATH subway, and the region’s airports. In fact, records uncovered by the office of the crusading District Attorney for Manhattan Cyrus Vance, Jr. appear to show Port Authority attorneys informing Christie that they did not believe the provision of Port funds to repair the Skyway to be legally permissible. Christie pressed on regardless, announcing his intention to use Port money to pay for repairs to the Skyway in early 2011, having conveniently avoided informing many Port administrators in advance.
Christie having put executives at the Port in an unwinnable situation bullied the Authority into acquiescing to his demands. On March 29, 2011 the Port unanimously authorized the project calling it, “access infrastructure enhancement” on the theory that the road and others like it “approach and feed into the Lincoln Tunnel”, which, though the Governor seemed not to care, the Pulaski Skyway most definitely does not. The Lincoln Tunnel and the Pulaski Skyway are eight miles apart. However, in the absence of any investigation, the misappropriation of Port funds served only as an irritant to Christie opponents, particularly the Democratic Congressmen and Senators who had fought to pass the federal funding in the days leading up to the 2010 Republican wave.
Unfortunately for Christie someone is looking. The Manhattan DA’s Public Corruption Unit, in conjunction with two SEC bond lawyers seem to be of the opinion that Christie’s actions were highly suspect, and very possibly criminal. That is the Christie legacy for New Jersey, cronyism, creative accounting practices, and self-serving corruption. When it comes down to it, maybe he is perfect for Washington.
I have just seen a poll that shows Senator Cory Booker at 43% with his opponent Jeffrey Bell only 13 points behind. This is not considered safe for an incumbent.
Cory Booker is a charming and dazzling pol who is most famous for...well, being famous. He is the perfect Senator for the Facebook Age. He has vowed to take and post a selfie with every single senator. Presumably he prefers this to the hard work of legislating. As mayor of Newark he got huge "fees" from a law-firm doing business with the City. He claims this ended in 2012. His subsequent filings won't reflect that but they are ...uh...delayed. But Cory champions on for People magazine and the twitter crowd. Call him Senator Kardashian.
Jeffrey Bell is a pioneer of the Reagan Revolution who has worked as a proponent of growth oriented monetary and tax policy. Bell knocked off Senator Clifford Case in a 1978 Republican primary in a stunning upset that was a historical milestone for the American Conservative movement. Bell , a Catholic convert , is above all a man of ideas. Senator Booker seems to be particularly bereft of these.
New Jersey is a blue state and Booker is an incumbent who hasn't been Senator long enough to be blamed for the current mess. At the same time watch this race. It could get interesting. Surely the Senator will debate often with his opponent Jeffrey Bell.
Last November, my book "The Man Who Killed Kennedy- The Case Against LBJ," ripped the facade off our most corrupt and amoral President, Lyndon Johnson. September 11th, my book comes out in a paperback edition with two incredible new chapters.
Here is an excerpt:
"Documented examples of Johnson's brutality have largely been suppressed by the mainstream media. For example, Ted Van Dyk, aide to then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey recalled LBJ’s savagery in 1968.
“In the middle of the night I was shaken awake by David Gartner, a personal aide to the vice president. And Dave said, "Humphrey says get up, Robert Kennedy's been shot." And I said, "David, that's a sick joke." He said, "No, no, Robert Kennedy has been shot."
So I got up and Vice President Humphrey was absolutely distraught; he was just absolutely beside himself with anxiety and concern. And we then received a phone call from Steve Smith (JFK brother-in-law) and Pierre Salinger (JFK Press Secretary) in California. They said, "There's a brain surgeon we trust in Boston. Could you arrange for a private plane to fly him to Los Angeles? Because Robert Kennedy's still alive and there's a possibility of saving him."
Humphrey called up the commanding general of the air force, who happened to be there at the academy. And Humphrey said, "Will you please dispatch this plane?" The general said, "I surely will."
Ten minutes later we received a call from an aide in the White House: President Johnson had canceled the plane because Humphrey had no authority to send it. Johnson called and chewed Humphrey's ass. The fact was, Johnson preferred Robert Kennedy dead. It was one of the most heinous acts I've ever experienced in my life, and it all but broke Humphrey's heart.”
Incredibly, While Robert Kennedy was still in surgery and doctors struggled to save his life, Johnson called the hospital to bark "Is he dead yet, is he dead yet?" This is reminiscent of Johnson calling Parkland Hospital while Oswald was on the operating table and ordering the Secret Service to obtain a confession.
Order now in Paperback - The new UPDATED edition of The Man Who Killed Kennedy the Case Against LBJ- with two new blockbuster chapters
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