For the second consecutive week an anonymously sourced national media report has suggested that Governor Chris Christie could be prosecuted for conduct involving the Port Authority of NY/NJ.
A New York Timesreport published on the Gray Lady’s website last evening and in the print edition this morning suggests that Christie could be prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Security Exchange Commission for pushing the Port Authority to fund $1.8 billion in repairs to the Pulaski Skyway. The NYTimes report relies heavily on dozens of memos and emails that investigators reviewed and the NYTimes obtained. Most of the documents mentioned in the story involve Bill Baroni, the former State Senator and Christie’s point man at the Port Authority until his resignation last December.
Governor Chris Christie’s office went on the offensive today, attacking The New York Times and David Wildstein, in an email to friends and allies, according to a report at Politico.
The email reads as follows:
5 Things You Should Know About The Bombshell That’s Not A Bombshell
1. New York Times Bombshell Not A Bombshell. A media firestorm was set off by sloppy reporting from the New York Times and their suggestion that there was actually “evidence” when it was a letter alleging that “evidence exists.” Forced to change the lead almost immediately, the Times was roundly criticized, and its editor was forced to issue this extraordinary statement to the Huffington Post:
Governor Chris Christie’s office released the following statement addressing the allegations made in The New York Times today:
“Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer confirms what the Governor has said all along – he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein’s motivations were for closing them to begin with. As the Governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press and as he said in his January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th. The Governor denies Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer’s other assertions.”
The New York Times is reporting that former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is reentering the political arena with a run for the office of New York City Comptroller. Spitzer resigned the governorship five years ago amid a prostitution scandal involving Ashley Dupree of Monmouth County.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was forced to resign after tweeting nude and nearly nude pictures of himself to young women, and lying about it, is also making a political comeback. Weiner is running in the New York City Democratic Primary for Mayor.
Spitzer and Weiner are hoping that New York voters are as forgiving as South Carolina voters when it comes to personal indiscretions. Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s political career appeared to be over in 2011 after he left his state to be with his Argentinian mistress. Sanford was elected to Congress in May.
“Conservative Victory Project” will support “the most conservative candidates who can win”
With designs on winning control of the U.S. Senate in 2014, a new SuperPac financed by the biggest donors in the Republican Party has been formed to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from they types of primary challenges that resulted in the candidacies Todd Akin, Richard Murdock and Christine O’Donnell, according to an article in The New York Times.
Akin of Missouri, Murdock of Indiana and O’Donnell of Delaware each defeated establishment Republican candidates in Senate Republican primaries and went on to lose general elections that Republicans were expected to win after making public statements considered too far-right and out of the mainstream. Akin and Murdock lost in 2012. O’Donnell lost in 2010.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”D
2014 Senate races in Iowa and Georgia will be the initial focus of the Conservative Victory Project. Senators Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa and Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia have announced their retirements, creating wide open races for those seats.
Preventing the Senate nomination of Iowa Congressman Steve King is an early objective of the project. Last week Harper Polling published a survey indicating that King in favored over the more moderate Republican Congressman Tom Latham in both a multi-candidate and head to head Republican primary for Harkin’s seat. The same survey indicated that Latham would defeat the Democratic front runner, Congressman Bruce Braley, in the general election.
“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”
Mr. King has compiled a record of incendiary statements during his time in Congress, including comparing illegal immigrants to dogs and likening Capitol Hill maintenance workers to “Stasi troops” after they were ordered to install environmentally friendly light bulbs. But he rejected the suggestion that his voting record or previous remarks would keep him from winning if he decided to run for the Senate.
King earned the support of Governor Chris Christie in his 2010 and 2012 reelection races by coming to the former U.S. Attorney’s defense during congressional hearings in 2009 that were designed by Democrats to derail Christie’s gubernatorial campaign against Jon Corzine. However, King voted against the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill last month. Christie declined to say if he would support King in the future at a Sandy related press conference.
NY Times exposes Menendez using his power to steer millions to donor
In defending his friend, Senator Bob Mendendez, against the salacious charges of sleeping with underage Dominican girls for money, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed the allegations because they originated with the conservative website, The Daily Caller.
Two years ago, Dr. Melgen, despite an apparent lack of experience in border security issues, bought an ownership interest in a company that had a long-dormant contract with the Dominican Republic to provide port security. Mr. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that holds sway over the Dominican Republic, subsequently urged officials in the State and Commerce Departments to intervene so the contract would be enforced, at an estimated value of $500 million.
We’ve been little more than an annoyance to Menendez. But now that the mainstream media is putting the senator under a microscope, he could be in real trouble. Yesterday I wrote that Menendez would probably survive his recent scandal unless he was indicted or convicted. Now I’m not so sure. At the very least, his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee could be at risk. There is one Democrat, Barbara Boxer of California, with more seniority than Menendez on the committee. Two Democrats, Robert Casey, Jr of Pennsylvania and Ben Cardin of Maryland have the same Senate seniority as Menendez. They must have ambitions and friendships with Harry Reid too
During the ongoing debate about same sex marriage, in New Jersey and throughout the country, there have been those who have called for government to get out of the marriage business all together.
In New Jersey it is a crime to solemnize a marriage without a license. Anyone who presides over a marriage ceremony for a couple who does not have a license is subject to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Government did not always control marriage, according to Stephanie Coontz, an author who teaches history and and family studies and Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.
In a November, 2007 OpEd piece published in the New York Times, Taking Marriage Private, Coontz said that for most of Western history, the government was not involved in marriage. Rather than an ‘institution,” marriage was a private contract between families. If parents approved on a marriage, it was valid. Church or State had nothing to do with it.
For 16 centuries the Catholic Church deemed a couple to be married if they said they were. Not until 1215 did the Church deem that a marriage ceremony had to take place in a church in order for a union to be “licit.” Yet couples married illicitly had the same rights and obligations as those who went to the chapel.
Government didn’t get involved until the 16th century in Europe. Coontz says the European laws were, in part, to protect parental control of marriages.
The American colonies required that marriages be registered, but in the mid-19th century state supreme courts ruled that public cohabitation was evidence of a valid marriage. (Who knew that people cohabited publicly back then?)
In the late 19th century the United States began to nullify common-law marriages and control who could be married.
Marriage, and the laws governing it continued to evolve during the 20th century. Interracial marriages were prohibited for whites, then they were allowed again.
As the entitlement culture emerged, marriage licenses became a determining factor in the distribution of benefits, inheritance, and health care. Coontz said this made sense in the 1950’s because almost all adults were married.
But that is no longer the case. When Coontz wrote her OpEd piece in 2007, she said that half of all adults ages 25-29 were unmarried and 40% of American children were born to unmarried parents. Last week, The New York Times reported that as of 2009, 53% of births to American women under 30 were out of wedlock.
As out of wedlock births have become more common the stigma of “illegitimacy” has faded. That’s one reason sited as a cause of the surge in births outside of marriage. Another major reason sited by the mothers The Times interviewed is the government “safety net.”
The Times reporters Jason DeParle and Sabrina Tavernise spoke to dozens of people in Lorain, Ohio, a blue-collar town west of Cleveland where the decline of the married two-parent family has been especially steep, with 63 percent of births to women under 30 occurring outside of marriage. The young parents of Lorain saidtheir reliance on the government safety net encouraged them to stay single and that they didn’t trust their youthful peers to be reliable partners. Many said they would like to be married — just not right now, and not to each other.
It seems pretty clear that government regulating marriage hasn’t worked. It also seems pretty clear that government entitlement programs have taken a massive toll on both the institution of marriage and the institution of family.
Governor Chris Christie will be named one of the Top American Leaders of 2011 by The Washington Post and Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership tomorrow morning at Ford’s Theater in Washington.
The other honorees are Jared Cohen of Google Ideas, Michael Kaiser, president of The Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, Sheila Bair, former Chair of the FDIC, Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Prize winner and professor of chemistry and physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist.
The Washington Post’s profile of Christie is here.
The event, which will be webcast here at 9AM, will consist of an awards ceremony followed by a discussion moderated by David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, Mary Jordan, editor of Washington Post Live, and Steven Pearlstein, columnist for The Washington Post’s On Leadership website.
Despite his repeated and colorful denials of interest, the Republican calls for and media speculation about Governor Chris Christie entering the 2012 Presidential race is not going away.
In large measure that is because Christie doesn’t seem as though he wants it to go away.
“No, I’m not running. I don’t know what to do short of suicide to convince you that I’m not running. Oh, and thanks for asking, I’m really flattered that you are asking, again and again and again, and that you’re willing to raise hundreds of millions of dollars if I change my mind, but I’m not changing my mind.” That’s an invitation to keep asking. It’s a tease. “No, I won’t do it under any circumstances. I’m not ready. But ask me again.”
By most accounts, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels really wanted to run for president. Yet, when he announced that he wasn’t running because he didn’t want to put his family through a presidential campaign, Republican rain makers and the media stopped asking him to run or if there was any chance that he would reconsider.
That’s obviously not the case with Christie.
As I said in my radio conversation with Bob Ingle last week, the only way I can see Christie running is if his wife Mary Pat becomes convinced that another four years of President Obama would have a more detrimental impact on the lives of the Christie children than a Christie presidency would have, and if New Jersey’s First Lady became convinced that Obama was likely to be reelected if her husband didn’t run against him.
As rehearsed and coached as the Christie family appeared in their Piers Morgan interview, after viewing it I was convinced they had made a family decision that Christie wouldn’t run in 2012. I admired their family unity. I admired a marriage that puts the children first.
Yet, why do an interview like that if you’re not running for national office?
I stopped taking the Christie for President buzz seriously after the Morgan interview. Karl Rove’s vibrations about Christie after Texas Governor Rick Perry stole the limelight from Michele Bachman didn’t make me think Christie was running. Ross Douthat’s New York Times columns, here and here didn’t make me think Christie would run. The Daily Caller and Weekly Standard reports that Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan made an pact that one of them would run made me wonder just a bit.
Something happened today that made me wonder if Christie isn’t getting ready to run. It wasn’t the news that Ryan’s not running, according to The Weekly Standard.
Four times today the Christie’s press office sent out email announcements to the press about something Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is doing, including a video. Usually Guadagno’s public appearances are included in the daily itinerary for the Governor that the press office sends out with little additional mention, if any. Today’s activity was unusual.
The Governor and his team are extraordinarily disciplined. It’s rare that something happens for no reason. If the Governor’s office is intentionally raising Guadagno’s public profile, there is a reason for it.
It makes me wonder if Mary Pat is getting concerned about the Republican field of presidential candidates, our country, and her children’s future.