Some members of the media have been echoing Chris Christie’s long-stated assertion that he is scandal-free. Just one small problem: There is no evidence to suggest that is true.
Unnamed “federal officials” told WNBC on Friday that the New Jersey governor has not yet been implicated in the investigation into Bridgegate being conducted by the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Paul Fishman. A few journalists took that to mean Christie had been exonerated: The Washington Post and the NBC Nightly News initially misinterpreted the report, with the latter issuing a correction immediately afterward. However unintentionally, the reaction was surely what Christie wanted.
The governor’s own playbook for coping with scandal is simple: First, publicly repent. Second, conduct an investigation into yourself that concludes you did nothing wrong. Last, dismiss anyone who continues to ask questions about your involvement in the scandal as politically motivated and remind them that, duh, you already were exonerated by your own attorney.
Mostly, he has been successful. “There are very few people who have been following this who think Chris Christie is being completely honest, but they don’t think his dishonesty moves him into the realm of criminality,” Patrick Murray, a pollster at Monmouth University, told The Daily Beast. Further helping Christie is the constant hounding by the liberal media, particularly MSNBC, and by Democratic lawmakers in Trenton, playing into the belief that—guilty or not—he is the subject of a partisan witch hunt.
But Christie is still very much under investigation by multiple entities, in multiple states, over multiple alleged potential wrongdoings.
In New York, the district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating reports that $1.8 billion, intended for a tunnel project, was illegally used to pay for other projects, as allegedly lobbied for by the Christie administration. The joint State Senate and Assembly committee in Trenton also is still investigating the governor in connection with Bridgegate—though, as The Daily Beast reported, that probe has devolved into a political sideshow and has gone almost nowhere since it began.
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