The Christie Administration Screws New Jersey Again

I don't necessarily expect this to stick any more than the rest have, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now associated with yet another scandal involving undue influence and control exerted by the governor's office.

The state of New Jersey has been waging a legal battle with Exxon-Mobil for over ten years seeking compensation for damage to the environment, and while the state originally sought $8.9 billion dollars in damage, Christie's office settled for just $255 million or less than 3 percent of the total.

In the courtroom, New Jersey’s experts testified that Exxon was responsible for $8.9 billion in damages to the state’s natural resources, primarily through the destruction of creeks, wetlands and aquatic life. Exxon swung away at the state’s case during trial but never landed a punch, as I saw firsthand as one of the witnesses called by Exxon to testify. The presiding judge — an admired expert in environmental law who had been recalled from retirement for the trial — had been expected to issue his decision soon.

Before the judge could issue a ruling, Christie's chief counsel allegedly intervened and agreed to settle with Exxon-Mobil without the consulting the attorney general or the staff who had spent the last ten years prosecuting the case.

Allegations of interference aside, the settlement agreed to by the Christie administration is clearly at odds with the testimony of experts called by the state of New Jersey.

Serious allegations against Chris Christie are piling up and I for one find this particular allegation to be entirely believable. It's what we've come to expect from Chris Christie, a man who will never be president.

The allegations against the governor's office published by the New York Times (quoted above) were written by Bradley Campbell, the former commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection under Governor James McGreevey.

State lawmakers are now planning to hold hearings into the settlement.