Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Geoff Mulvihill
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Traffic passes through the toll booths at the George Washington Bridge, in Fort Lee, N.J., on Saturday. The September lane closings near the George Washington Bridge that caused huge traffic jams and now threaten the rise of Republican star Chris Christie violated federal law, a chief official said in an email ordering the lanes reopened. The Sept. 13 email was among thousands of pages released Friday by a New Jersey legislative committee investigating the scandal.
The Associated Press
He also faces renewed interest in the state's use of $25 million in federal money for an ad campaign to promote New Jersey tourism after Superstorm Sandy. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, announced Monday that the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will audit the campaign.
Christie and his family appeared in the ads. His administration chose a politically connected public relations company over another firm that had bid $2 million less. The winning bidder proposed using Christie in the ads, while the other did not.
Revelations about the contract caused a bit of a flap in New Jersey last year as Christie was seeking re-election.
Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie, derided the timing of Pallone's announcement and noted that the ad campaign was part of a plan approved by the federal government.
"Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly," Reed said in a statement. "We're confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history."
Reed also noted that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan praised the use of some money to promote a return to the state's beaches, a major tourist attraction and economic driver for New Jersey.
Ian O'Connor, a spokesman for the inspector general's office, said the audit is being done at the request of Congress. He would not comment further. Pallone had requested an investigation in August.