Chris Christie refuses to release $800,000 in state credit card bills

Governor's office rebuffs media requests

Published January 21, 2015 3:35PM (EST)

  (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office says it won't release records on nearly $800,000 in state credit card charges for his security detail, arguing that releasing the records would put the potential 2016 presidential candidate's safety at risk.

The website New Jersey Watchdog reports that the travel costs of the governor's Executive Protection Unit (EPU) have spiked by 1,800 percent since Christie was first inaugurated governor in 2010. That cost growth isn't particularly surprising given that Christie has travelled the country to stump for GOP candidates in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which he has helmed since 2013. But not all of Christie's traveling has been political or business-related, as his trips to Dallas Cowboys football games attest.

According to New Jersey Watchdog, $793,007 of the EPU's travel costs were charged to American Express cards belonging to Christie's office, which refused the outlet's request for details on the expenses.

“We are unable to provide you with the detail from the American Express card monthly statements from February 2010 through September 2014 because the monthly statements indicate the names of the of the Executive Protection Unit members, the number of Executive Protection Unit members and the location of these members on a day-to-day basis,” Heather Taylor, a records custodian, wrote to New Jersey Watchdog.

However, the website notes, Christie's office could have redacted the names of the EPU members. Instead, the administration seeks to prevent any of the American Express records from becoming public.

New Jersey Watchdog's Mark Lagerkvist wrote that the matter may wind up in court.

By Luke Brinker

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