"Slush fund" is a term that became famous during the Watergate hearings. We'r hearing it again, along with many other Watergate phrases, as Bridgegate unwinds. Apparently, the Christie administration used Federal Sandy aid funds as a slush fund to pay for the $4 million that Christie spent making his "Stronger Than the Storm" campaign ad. We'll probably see it mentioned more frequently, now that those ads have attracted the attention of both New Jersey and Federal authorities.
But I'm not talking about that piddly $4 mill slush fund. I am talking about the behemoth of all slush funds - one so huge that you could probably buy the Presidency and the House and Senate too. It would probably be the largest corrupt scheme, monetarily, in the history of the United States. This slush fund could eventually add up to $2 to 2.5 Billion (yes, Billions), and all of it would be entirely secret.
For the GOP, the most delicious part of it would be that Obama will have unwittingly enabled their planned takeover of the country's governance by giving Christie the money to fund it. I'm not as naive about NJ politics as he is. I'm New Jersey born and bred, and know that we make "the Chicago Way" look like beanbag.
You can follow my reasoning and some of the facts that this "left wing blog conspiracy theory" is built upon, after the jump.
You see, Chris Christie is expecting that the State of New Jersey will receive $20 to $25 billion dollars of Sandy Relief money His appointees control every department that will approve projects, regulations, terms, and the funds disbursal. His judges will adjudicate cases stemming from Sandy grants. His Comptroller and NJ Sandy Transparency team will be the only oversight, now that Christie has vetoed the Independent Oversight plan that the State Legislature passed.
Why had most New Jerseyans refused to mistrust Christie on the administration of Sandy fund? Perhaps because he so obviously loved our "Shore" as much as we did, even breaking down emotionally surveying the damage to the iconic Seaside boardwalk: ("The stand in the middle of the boardwalk that sells sausage and peppers and lemonade is gone. . . . I looked for it today. And the entire structure is gone. . . . It was an overwhelming afternoon for me, emotionally.") How could a guy like that be going to steal from his citizens, when they needed all the relief that could be gotten? It was truly unthinkable -- and probably still is for most residents.
Christie did a great thing for battered New Jerseyans by fighting for rebuilding funds as vigorously as he did.. He lambasted the GOP House when they delayed the amount approved by the Senate, in a very theatrical press conference. The way he handled Sandy Relief was so bipartisan that all New Jerseyans loved him, whether Democrats or Republicans. Even Bruce Springsteen loved him, fulfilling Christie's dream of becoming one of Bruce's BFFs. He even enthusiastically met with President Obama ( though now he denies there was ever a "hug.")
Christie's fervent fight for Federal disaster assistance was the major reason for his landslide election last November. Exit polls showed that Democrats crossed party lines to vote for him; Independents went for him by 2/3 Christie's "crossover appeal" put him at the top of potential GOP Presidential nominees for the 2016 race. Here was a politician who was willing to cross party lines to "get things done," to "make things work." He was so different from those "DC Republicans he rage at! Getting that Sandy relief money has been very good for the "Chris Christie" brand.
How would that Federal Grant money end up in a Christie "dark money" black hole? Well, New Jersey taxpayers have suffered under the added costs of "pay-to-play" politics for decades. Non-partisan Common Cause - NJ which concentrates on pay-to-play issues, estimates that approximately 10% of almost every contract granted by all state entities (municipal, county and state) is kicked back to the politicians who authorize them, through donations to their fundraising committees and PACs, as well as other taxpayer-robbing practices. That 10% is automatically built into bids because both sides of the contracts assume it that the bid must cover the cost of kickbacks.
You can do the math. In the case of Sandy relief contracts, 10% of $25 billion is $2.5 Billion. In NJ, that amount is known as "just the cause of doing business."
In addition, that "perfect storm" of "dark money" political spending is the result of certain conditions possible only in this, my benighted home state:
* New Jersey's sorry history of pay-to-play. Pay-to-Play is so common as to be expected as the method of "getting things done":
* the almost-absolute power of the New Jersey Governor, as created by the 1947 State Constitution. He is described as "the most powerful Chief Executive in the country";
* the 501(c)(4) Citizens United decision. We have already seen dark money issues in the election which put Cory Booker in the White House ; and
* Christie's connections to the biggest movers and shakers in both business and Republican politics.
Part 2 - ? of this diary will cover those topics, as well as the issues such as:
* Sandy aid non-transparency, which is already infuriating state citizens,
* the "pay-to-play for Sandy aid" charges that have already been leveled at the Governor, and the facts that have left many of Christie's "enemies" suspect that Sandy aid grants are being used for punishment;
* the argument that Christie is not so much a New Reagan as the New Nixon - and that he is intended to be "Nixon's Revenge."
All these diaries are an attempt to explain why I consider "Chris Christie", "the GOP Marketing Tool, to be the most dangerous phenomenon in our electoral history - and I have lived through Nixon, Reagan and Bush II. Christie is more than the most corrupt politician ever to occupy Drumthwacket, the Colonial-Era mansion that is the Governor's residence. He is a positive danger to the entire nation, with the potential to become the Putin of a United States that resembles Putin's Russia. Those of us in the State who have been watching his career since he was the Bush administration US Attorney General for New Jersey know just what a threat he is. We already know that Christie will be attempting to stonewall any inquiries that he deems to not be "appropriate," because he is already doing just that. Bridgegate must be followed "wherever it leads". It may very well result in a photo of Christie in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, walking down the steps of the Newark Courthouse after sentencing.
You want a reason for Team Christie to be feverishly working on a Bridgegate coverup? For them to be stonewalling requests in the NJ Tourism ads?For lawyeringg up with a "juiced-up" Guiliani pal? It's because following the money in either of these cases may inevitably lead to a massive pay-for-play i scandal involving Sandy Aid awards.
There you have it: either a dark money fund of up to $2.5 billion, and the Presidency of the United States, or a long term in the Fort Dix Federal Correctional InstitutionInstitution. It's so close to the beach that you can even smell the salt breeze on good days.