I knew about Christie’s little “deal” described here some time ago, but apparently it’s just now coming to the attention of the Washington press:
As the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Chris Christie struck an unusual deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In exchange for not charging the drug-making giant with securities fraud, Christie’s office would require it to fund a professorship at Seton Hall University’s law school — Christie’s alma mater.
The $5 million gift, one component of a larger agreement between the company and prosecutors, was hailed by the South Orange, N.J., school as a cornerstone of its new center on business ethics.
But in Washington, Christie’s superiors in the George W. Bush administration were uneasy about it, worried it could look to the public like a U.S. attorney using his authority to benefit a pet cause.
Christie said the idea was not his, but part of a back-and-forth negotiation between his prosecutors and the firm. In any case, spurred on by the Seton Hall deal and several other out-of-court settlements negotiated by Christie’s office, Justice Department officials ultimately enacted new rules placing limits on prosecutors’ discretion in reaching such agreements.
“It was something you wanted to tamp out before every U.S. attorney in America built a new summer camp,” said one former Justice official involved in reviewing new rules who, like two other senior officials, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations. “It needed to be nipped in the bud.”
Obviously, I did not know that the Bush administration had a problem with this. After all, Christie wasn’t a highly qualified career US Attorney but rather one of the GOP political cronies they appointed because he was a big fundraiser. I assumed they approved of his conduct. This just indicates how corrupt Christie has always been — so corrupt that Bush’s thoroughly corrupt DOJ had to rein him in. (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that his is the sort of thing Romney’s vetting team had on Christie.)
My big question is how in the hell the political press allowed this story to go untold when they were kissing Christie’s ring for the past couple of years? And did the GOP poohbahs and Big Money donors not think to look into Christie a little bit more closely than his appealing (to them) habit of publicly browbeating schoolteachers to see that he had major problems in his past and some serious character flaws that would be disqualifying?
I think it really was another case of the political establishment, including the press, just falling in love with a man they saw as someone who would beat the shit out liberals, which is what they consider to be the essence of leadership. They all would have been so much happier as subjects of an imperial dictator or brutal monarchy.