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Where there’s a will, there’s a way – even if that way is devious, unethical, and downright sleazy.
All of those adjectives would apply to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fundraising flimflam. His state has a strict (and sensible) law to prevent pay-to-play corruption by banning people and corporations that get sizable state and government contracts from giving campaign cash to governors. After all, such cozy, give-and-get ties between the top state executive and big money contractors would be a crass conflict-of-interest (or, more bluntly, a bribe).
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The ban is clear cut, which just as clearly is a problem for Christie. He’s trying to sack up big bucks to finance what he hopes will be a huge re-election victory this November, thus positioning him to go after the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. So he definitely has the will to take tainted money from fat-cat New Jersey contractors who’re forbidden to give it – but what’s the way?
A ricochet shot, of course. Sure enough, in May, a covey of contractors joined their governor for a fundraiser at a Jersey golf resort and forked over checks of as much as $100,000 each. The checks were not made out to Gov. Slick, but to the Republican Governors Association – an outfit he’s in line to chair if he gets re-elected.
In the first half of this year, Christie and his political cohorts helped the RGA collect nearly $1.7 million from New Jersey donors, including state contractors. And – here comes the ricochet – so far, the RGA has pumped $1.7 million into Christie’s re-election efforts. Neat trick, huh?
“I don’t view it as a workaround,” sniffed a contractor who donated at Christie’s golf resort fundraiser. “I view it as making a contribution to the RGA.”
Sure you do sir, and I view the whole flock of you as sleaze birds.
“Donors’ Funds Sidestep Law, Aiding Christie,” The New York Times, September 18, 2013.