Chris Christie was allowed to use “secret evidence” to get a judge to rule his security expenses are secret.
Here is an interesting story: “Court allows Christie to hide $1 million in Amex charges.”
Based on secret evidence, a New Jersey court is allowing Gov. Chris Christie to hide American Express bills that show how his state police security team charged more than $1 million to pay for out-of-state travel.
Judge Mary C. Jacobson dismissed a public records suit by New Jersey Watchdog on Friday, ruling that details of past expenses for food, lodging and transportation could create a potential security risk for the governor in the future.
“The court finds the general interest of the public to have a breakdown pales in comparison,” said Jacobson during a hearing in Mercer County Superior Court. As a result, state taxpayers may never learn how the money was spent.
The Executive Protection Unit travel expenses increased with the frequency of Christie’s out-of-state trips to pursue his political ambitions, including his run for the White House. Last year, costs totaled $494,420 as the governor traveled outside New Jersey for more than 100 days. That sum is 22 times more than the $21,704 spent in 2009, former Gov. Jon Corzine’s last year in office.
I find it ironic that Christie is demanding his privacy when he is such an advocate of NSA spying.
As far as I can tell, the secret “evidence” wasn’t really evidence. The judge never looked at the expenses in order to rule whether they should be kept secret for security purposes. Instead, she heard secret testimony from Capt. Kevin Cowan of the Executive Protection Unit. Then she gave a ruling basically saying that, since Cowan promised, the information must stay secret.
Since this was “confidential” testimony, the lawyer for New Jersey Watchdog was not even permitted to cross-examine Cowan.
I’m sure we can all be confident, thanks to the stellar integrity we see at the Secret Service, that government security people are never corrupt and that none of the money was ever misspent on vice or for personal pleasures.
A friend of mine asked a good question about the bigger picture. Why should the New Jersey tax payers be strapped with the cost of their governor incurring non-job-related expenses? Many taxpayers in New Jersey are far poorer than Chris Christie is. They will probably never reach his level of personal wealth and privilege their entire lives. So Christie gets to plunder them for extra security expenses so he can try to capture the Presidency?
In what world is that a righteous thing to do?
I doubt that if Chris Christie were to become the next president his vacations would be any less outrageous, self-serving, and exploitative than the Obama vacations.
You will notice that while Marco Rubio’s house got major press attention—which he paid for out of his own pocket—the media isn’t going after Christie over this much worse behavior.