Christie’s AUSAs Still Won’t Respond to Corzine’s FOIA Requests
Jon Corzine’s campaign wants some more information about just what Chris Christie was doing at the US Attorney’s office while he was handing out multi-million dollar deals to his friends.
So the Corzine campaign has submitted 18 FOIA requests for information on Christie’s tenure as US Attorney. They have submitted them, each time, to the Executive Office of US Attorneys, which keeps kicking the FOIAs down to the NJ US Attorney’s office, where they appear to be routinely ignored. So today, the Corzine took the next step in its attempts to figure out just what Christie was doing at the US Attorney office.
The campaign filed eight administrative challenges – representing 18 separate requests – with the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Information and Privacy. Despite repeated efforts by the campaign to obtain the information, beginning in March 2009, it has repeatedly been told that the failures to fulfill its requests lie with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The records the campaign is seeking from Christie’s tenure as U.S. Attorney include: budgets, travel expenses and schedules – even public ones.
"The United States Attorney’s office has many fine, dedicated, professional lawyers," said Corzine ’09 campaign strategist, Tom Shea. "But, in light of recent reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra is under investigation to determine if he has used the office to help further the Christie campaign, Second Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown has an ongoing financial relationship with Christie and Christie was communicating with Karl Rove about his run for governor from that office, we feel it is even more important we receive the information requested."
The campaign is also seeking details of no-bid contracts Christie awarded while U.S. Attorney, including a $52 million contract to his former boss, ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft. In addition it has demanded Mr. Christie’s communications with former Bush political advisor Karl Rove, and communications between Mr. Christie and current officials in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey since Mr. Christie resigned as U.S. Attorney.
I’m actually somewhat agnostic on this. Perhaps DOJ is not turning over the requested materials for the same reasons DOJ is protecting Dick Cheney’s PatFitz interview–because they’re trying to avoid any appearance of political taint by letting Republicans avoid any scrutiny after the fact. Or it could just be that the people responding to the FOIA heard Christie say he would be hiring a bunch of AUSAs if he won the gubernatorial race, and they’re trying to increase their chance for a swank job by withholding FOIA-able information.
In either case, it stinks.