Chris Christie update: Guv has a terrible Tuesday

He gets heckled at a town hall while a new report links him to Superstorm Sandy recovery corruption

Published March 19, 2014 12:45PM (EDT)

Chris Christie                                 (Jeffrey Malet,
Chris Christie (Jeffrey Malet,

Tuesday was not a good day for the governor. Not only was Christie heckled and baited during a town hall event, but he also saw two new reports, neither of which made him look particularly good. One involved human trafficking during Christie's time as U.S. attorney, while the other described the extremely shady process through which Christie and his family were featured in a federally funded post-Sandy advertising campaign. Put simply, Tuesday's developments had Christie appearing criticized, cynical and corrupt. That's not a good look for a guy hoping to run for president.

Here's a recap of Christie's awful Tuesday:

  • A new report from Alec MacGillis of the New Republic takes us through the hedge maze of Christie-style friendships and politics to explain how the state ended up choosing to pay — with federal funds — for Superstorm Sandy ads featuring Christie and his family during an election year. In some ways, it's your typical tale of government corruption — a Christie ally is placed in a position of authority, makes a decision that seems illogical and yet to Christie's benefit, and then not long thereafter finds themselves with a nice, high-paying gig in the state government. MacGillis' report is not quite a smoking gun, but it's damn close.
  • A new Daily Beast report from Olivia Nuzzi, meanwhile, looks back at an incident during Christie's tenure as U.S. attorney, in which a human trafficker and de facto slaver was given an absurdly light sentence in exchange for sharing info on the corruption of some small-time New Jersey politicians. Christie built his reputation as an anti-corruption U.S. attorney, but this incident, if true, would support the argument put forward by some Christie critics that the current governor only went after small-time political crooks to burnish his reputation while letting the bigger fish swim free.
  • Christie was interrupted by a group of protestors during his Tuesday town hall. The disruptors loudly denounced Christie for his management of Superstorm Sandy relief aid as well as his oversight of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Christie seemed to know the interruption was coming and said it was due to his opponents' frustration over his success.
  • During the town hall, Christie tried to deflect blame for the state government's decision not to let Tesla sell cars directly to customers rather than going through a dealership middleman. Tesla claims the Christie administration had previously promised to let the luxury electric car company sell its product right to New Jerseyans, but Christie said on Tuesday that the fault lies with the state Legislature, not him. They passed a law banning Tesla's intended practice, Christie said, and he has no power to grant Tesla an exemption.
  • Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority pertaining to the decision to award major contracts to firms with ties to chairman David Samson's law firm. Samson is one of Christie's most powerful allies and there are many ties between Christie's government and Samson's law firm.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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