Gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Barbara Buono is questioning Governor Christie amid reports in the Newark Star Ledger on Feb. 6, 2013, that Christie will be holding a fundraiser at the Virginia estate of AshBritt Inc. chief lobbyist Ed Rogers. Mr. Rogers is the head of the lobbying firm founded by Haley Barbour, who initially suggested AshBritt Inc. to clean up debris in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Buono said “there are simply too many questions about how AshBritt Inc., the most expensive contractor, received its contract, particularly now that its lobbyist Ed Rogers is raising money for the Governor.”
According to its website Ashbritt Environmental is a Florida-based, national rapid-response disaster recovery and special environmental services contractor. Since their inception in 1992, they have managed and executed over one 100 disaster projects and over 28 special environmental projects, successfully serving more than 75 clients. They have been directly involved in the debris recovery efforts of 30 federally declared major disasters in 11 states, beginning with Hurricane Andrew. Each of these recoveries was conducted under the authority and oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), positioning them as one of the foremost experts in federally funded and monitored disaster-debris recovery missions.
Buono stated "With each passing day, Governor Christie continues to add more questions about how and why a politically connected, out of state firm was awarded a contract worth as much as $100 million. Now, the Governor is going to hold a fundraiser in Virginia with the chief lobbyist for AshBritt Inc. and a major activist in the National Republican Party. It's clear that we need more transparency and accountability in this process, and as a vice chair of the legislative oversight committee, I will fight to get to the bottom of this to ensure the efficient use of taxpayer dollars for the rebuilding of New Jersey,”.
Buono does raise some questions that deserve answers though, her concerns are valid and Christie would be smart to alleviate the whiff of impropriety and reassure voters that there is no political favoritism or backroom deals on the taxpayer’s dime.