After New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his family soaked up the sun on Island Beach State Park, while state-owned beaches were closed to the public due to a government shutdown, a Hudson County attorney filed an ethics complaint against the governor, according to CBS.
Mario Blanch, a West New York attorney, claims he filed the complaint as a private citizen. "The message that it sends to the rest of the state is that the citizens of New Jersey are garbage and the governor is omnipotent. And it’s outrageous. Being the governor of any state, even being the president of the United States, doesn’t give you any special powers over the citizens," he told CBS.
"In accordance with the 'Plain Language Guide to New Jersey's Executive Branch Ethics Standards,' no person of the executive branch may obtain a 'special benefit' as a result of their position," the complaint said, as NJ.com reported. "By using the park, 'in direct contravention to the shutdown,' [Christie] utilized his position as governor . . . to obtain benefits for himself and his family that members of the general public could not enjoy for themselves."
Blanch also said the beach shutdown — which occurred due to a budget impasse — hurt businesses as well as forced families to alter their plans during the holiday weekend. A budget was reached on Monday night, so beaches were technically open for the Fourth of July holiday on Tuesday.
Christie argued that he and his family did not request state services during their stay, NJ.com reported.
Governor Christie was previously swept up in controversy during Bridgegate, the scandal in which his inner circle deliberately engineered traffic jams in the city of Fort Lee in retribution for that town's mayor not supporting him. This newest outrage is being dubbed "Beachgate."
"No person is above the law, and Gov. Christie had no right to plop himself in a beach chair when the general public did not have access to the beach," Blanch said on Thursday. "The governor's actions are unfair, outrageous, and completely unethical. Gov. Christie should plop himself somewhere else, because New Jersey does not need politicians who only care about themselves."
Christie insisted to reporters that he didn't get any sun on the beach. But when pictures of the governor sitting in his beach chair surfaced, he instantly became an interenet meme; meanwhile, Christie's spokesman Brian Murray said the governor didn't get any sun because "he had a baseball hat on."