I don’t think there’s much question that the beginning of this campaign is turning out to have been a lot more fun for Chris Christie than the end of it. Let’s not forget, of course, that the race seems at worst tied for Christie. So it’s important not to exaggerate his problems.
But the revelations in today’s Times are really pretty damning when you put it together with all we’ve learned about Christie’s tenure at US Attorney and his relationship with his deputy Michele Brown. Chris Christie would be far, far from the first prosecutor to have used his office as a launching pad for political office. But seldom do you have such detailed and specific evidence for how a former prosecutor used his office by remote control — after he left the job — to game the election contest he was involved in.On the one hand you now have what appears to be solid evidence of multiple cases where Brown took actions at the US Attorneys office to help Christie and hurt Corzine. First, gaming the timing of the big public corruption indictments a few months back. And then second taking over the review of the Corzine campaign’s FOIA requests about Christie’s tenure as US Attorney — documents which ended up being relatively damaging for Christie and which actually included information about Brown herself.
On the other hand, you have the fact that Christie made a substantial personal loan to Brown which he then failed to report. Such a loan may not be unprecedented. But it is highly irregular for a boss and a subordinate in the federal bureaucracy. I would think especially when it’s a political appointee making a substantial personal loan to a career prosecutor.
These were natural charges for the Corzine campaign to have leveled against Christie. And they’ve made a lot of charges. But at this point, it seems very hard to argue that they didn’t come up with the goods.
Here’s our report on a conference call Christie’s campaign held this morning trying — not very successfully — to push back against the latest charges.
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