New Jersey Governor Chris Christie can breathe a little easier now that a federal audit released on March 6, 2014, concluded that his administration did not violate any laws or rules when Christie awarded the no bid contract to AshBritt Inc. who employs former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm in Washington.
Although vindicated, there may be trouble ahead for municipalities that also used the contractor to clean up debris from towns devastated by Super storm Sandy. Any town that used the contractor after the 60 day emergency period may have possibly violated rules set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who promised to reimburse towns for the cleanup, but if those towns violated the 60 day rule they could be on the hook for having to return the money to the federal government.
The Christie administration which has been pounded by the media and political enemies for the George Washington Bridge controversy and the Sandy Clean up investigation issued a report in which it stated that Democrats were wrong to attack the administration in a “rush to judgment” over the Sandy investigation.
The report from the Christie team also stated that “at the time, many Democrats jumped on this AshBritt news as some sort of breaking scandal. Led by some of the same partisan Democrats that are attempting to politicize various issues today, a feeding frenzy ensued. Now, with the release of this independent third-party report from the IG, we learn that the partisans were wrong.”
Christie has taken a beating in the polls and has been late night comedy fodder since the two separate investigations began and is correct in its claim of political agendas and a rush to judgment by those who oppose Christie and in an effort to knock him down as a potential Presidential candidate. It’s also not just Democrats that want to see Christie fall; you can bet your bottom dollar that his rivals in the GOP were drooling with anticipation of his demise.
If the “Bridge Gate” investigation exonerates Christie and there is no smoking gun, this could backfire on democrats, if history has taught us anything it’s that the media loves to build somebody up, then tear them down, but then likes to put them back up again, if you don’t believe me ask President Bill Clinton. Christie is not out of the woods yet, he still has Bridge Gate and accusations about Sandy relief money and the "Stronger then the Storm" tourism commercials that needs to be cleared up but this audit is a big first step.
As for the poll numbers, it was inevitable that Christie would not hold such high numbers forever, accordingly anytime they started to come down, it would have been played out as a negative implication by his opposing forces.
Mark Twain once said “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”, if Christie comes out clean on “Bridge Gate” his political ambitions will not have died, but the Democrats and those who oppose him in the GOP should at least fear his resurrection.