Governor of New Jersey
By Elaine Magliaro
On Tuesday, Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had refused “to release nearly $800,000 in American Express credit card bills for the travel costs of his state police security detail.” Lagervist said that Christie’s staff had “rejected a New Jersey Watchdog reporter’s request for the monthly statements, contending releasing the records would jeopardize Christie’s safety.” He added that the denial followed a New Jersey Watchdog report last week, which revealed the travel costs of the Executive Protection Unit (EPU) had “grown by 1,800 percent since Christie became governor in 2010.” According to state records, the expenses “totaled $959,856, not including unreleased expense information for the fourth quarter of last year.”
New Jersey spent nearly $1 million on travel expenses for its state police Executive Protection Unit during Christie’s four years and nine months as governor, according to documents obtained under the Open Public Records Act. Last year, Christie traveled out-of-state on more than 100 days while visiting 36 states, Mexico and Canada, primarily on personal and political trips that were not official state business.
The current average monthly travel costs to protect Christie for a single month are 50 percent more than former Gov. Jon Corzine’s entire final year in office, according to state records. For 2009, EPU’s expenses were only $21,704 – compared with $32,933 per month for the first three quarters of 2014.
Most of Christie’s trips were taken “primarily to help raise $106 million in campaign contributions as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”