Stateside New Jersey: SEC and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to Investigate Governor Chris Christie’s Diversion of Port Authority Funds


Lisa Brennan (Main Justice) broke the news today that “people close to the matter” have said that the Securities and Exchange Commission has joined with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office “to investigate possible misuse of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey funds by Gov. Chris Christie and his allies.” She said that two SEC lawyers from the New York regional office of the Enforcement Division “are examining the manner by which the Christie administration apparently steamrolled the agency’s top in-house counsel into creating a legal justification in 2011 allowing the New Jersey governor to grab $1.8 billion of Port Authority tax-exempt bonds to fix the aging Pulaski Skyway bridge and other neglected state roadways.”

Brennan said that Christie was able to keep his campaign promise not to raise taxes by “re-routing the Port Authority funds to local New Jersey roadway repairs.” She added that this diversion of Port Authority funds made it possible for the governor of New Jersey “to avoid raising gasoline taxes to refill the depleted coffers of the state’s transportation trust fund.” She said that “the justification for the diversion may have constituted fraud. The SEC’s rule 10b-5, issued pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act, authorizes the agency to investigate fraud in the securities markets, including in the offering of tax-exempt bonds.”

Scott Raab, who is doing an ongoing series of stories about Christie and his political problems for Esquire’s Politics Blog, wrote that Christie’s political career “is forever down the crapper.” He said the SEC and Manhattan District Attorney are looking into “Christie Crew’s looting of Port Authority funds originally meant to help build a rail tunnel that would’ve been the nation’s largest infrastructure project — creating thousands of jobs in New Jersey, and easing the commute to and from New York City for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans.

Raab added that the governor killed that tunnel project in order to use the money to fix decrepit, neglected New Jersey roads that the state itself is supposed to repair, with money from its Transportation Trust Fund, which was entirely depleted. Faced with the option of raising New Jersey’s gas tax — the second-lowest in the land — to pay for the road repairs, Christie preferred swiping the tunnel money from the Port Authority.”

Raab said that Christie got help in this matter from his “Port Authority business partner”—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He added that they two men were able “to pull off this heist without either state legislature making a peep. Maybe they didn’t know; maybe they didn’t want to know. Nobody said a word. Never even came up.”


SEC Joins Manhattan DA to Probe Christie’s Diversion of Port Authority Funds (Main Justice)

It’s Time For Some SEC Problems For Chris Christie: Enter the SEC, just one more hungry, patient diner tucking in at Chris Christie’s all-you-can-eat grifters’ buffet. (Esquire)



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13 Responses to Stateside New Jersey: SEC and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to Investigate Governor Chris Christie’s Diversion of Port Authority Funds

  1. rlp152 says:

    Ah, the truth finally comes out. Cuomo is the bad guy.

  2. Mike Spindell says:


    Cuomo is pretty close to Christie in being a bad guy and a bully, but I think he is a little smarter, but not by much.

  3. Blouise says:

    Ah geez … well, at least the republicans still have Cliven Bundy

  4. Elaine M. says:

    Why does Andrew Cuomo seem to get along better with Chris Christie than with Bill de Blasio?
    Bipartisanship, Cuomo-style
    Alex Pareene

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went to Albany this week, to lobby state lawmakers to allow him to implement the tax-the-rich proposal that helped get him elected last November. He met Tuesday with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, the son of a legendary liberal New York governor, and an oft-discussed possible 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee. The two claim to be old pals. Cuomo celebrated de Blasio’s visit by attending a pro-charter school rally and explicitly praising the charter school organization run by an avowed de Blasio political enemy. (That organization, Success Academies, closed all its schools Tuesday and bused students to the rally in Albany.)

    Cuomo’s appearance at the rally seemed a bit like an attempt to undermine the mayor’s big Albany trip, especially as de Blasio was having his own rally at the time, for his pre-K plan. De Blasio wants to fund pre-K programs for New York City children (and after-school programs for middle school students) through a (very purposefully) redistributive millionaire’s tax. This was an idea a lot of New Yorkers seemed to approve of. Not long after de Blasio was elected, Gov. Cuomo suddenly introduced a plan to fund pre-K programs statewide, through the state budget, without raising taxes. This seems much more likely to pass in Albany, where Republicans control the state Senate. Cuomo’s plan would, obviously, only fund New York City’s programs at the discretion of state lawmakers, a fairly suburban and upstate bunch.

    This is Cuomo’s governorship in a microcosm. He outflanks the left, and exerts himself only in defense of the centrist and broadly popular. While he made big, highly publicized moves on gay marriage and gun regulations, Cuomo campaigned (and governed) as a tax-cutting pro-business New Democrat, and he’s been almost totally absent on most of the economic issues that various liberal Democratic governors around the country have begun pushing for. Last month, he shot down Mayor de Blasio’s plan to raise New York City’s minimum wage, arguing that it doesn’t make sense to allow municipalities within a state to set their own minimum wages. (In fact, something like the exact opposite is true. Rent tends to be a bit higher in Manhattan than in Troy.)

    He’s also bad — comically bad — on transit. Like, “did city bus ran over his dog at some point” bad. Most politicians, even in transit-heavy regions, are happy to neglect transit in favor of addressing the needs of drivers, but Cuomo makes it an art.

    This is the governing style of a politician who feels he has no reason to fear irking the city’s liberals, and who therefore focuses mainly on appealing to and delivering for other constituencies. The Staten Island toll reduction was a blatant ploy to win over residents of the only portion of New York City that could be described as conservative. Bronx residents are unlucky enough to be habitual Democratic voters (or non-voters), and so they will have to continue to settle for the reduced transit service the MTA introduced four years ago. This is all rational, if not particularly principled. To put it in nakedly demographic terms: Statewide, minority voters make up just about 30 percent of the electorate, and white Catholics make up about 35 percent. Cuomo is not worried about minority voters abandoning him for a moderate-seeming Republican challenger. The white Catholics, though?

    Cuomo is up for reelection this year. Curiously, he is currently working to make sure Republicans nominate a moderate-seeming Republican to oppose him. There is a depressingly credible theory going around that he is doing this because he is confident he can beat any challenger, but he’s worried that an extremist opponent would depress moderate Republican turnout, thus imperiling the Republican state Senate majority he prefers to work with. (It is not actually a real Republican state Senate majority, because voters did actually elect more Democrats than Republicans, but a few particularly craven Democrats jumped ship to caucus with the GOP in a backroom deal that some people also think was orchestrated — or at least condoned — by Cuomo.)

    There is plenty of evidence of Cuomo’s attraction to working with Republicans. The area elected official whom Cuomo seems to work most comfortably with is not the new mayor of his state’s biggest city, but rather Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey. Cuomo, like many Democrats, did nothing in particular to help Christie’s challenger in the last election. Christie has reportedly described himself as in agreement with Cuomo on “98 percent of the issues.” The two worked closely together following Hurricane Sandy. Both were useful to the other in burnishing bipartisan cred, allowing both men to define themselves as above partisanship and focused on “results.” Of course, one result of Cuomo getting along so famously with Christie is that he allowed Christie to pack the Port Authority, a bi-state agency with an enormous amount of power and influence, with unprincipled political hacks loyal first and foremost to Christie, while Cuomo effectively neglected the agency and seemed to allow Christie to use it as a giant instrument of patronage.

  5. Blouise says:

    Here’s an interesting link eniobob and I enjoyed as we enjoy all things Christie:

  6. eniobob says:

    Best to read before dinner.

    “Meet Chris Christie, father of the year.
    For real. The Father’s Day/Mothers Day Council has selected the New Jersey governor as a national father of the year. He’ll be honored with an award in June, along with shoe designer Vince Camuto.”

  7. Sarah says:

    You know it’s the same in any other field.
    You would think experience teaches us at least anything, but no.
    Feel free to disagree but the world is changing, and we have no control whatsoever over it.
    E.g., imagine Obama had any balls to put Vladimir to his place, but it seems like it’s not happening, welcome world war.
    Great post, thanks!

  8. Elaine M. says:


    I saw that story on Charlie Pierce’s Politics Blog at Esquire. I thought there might have been a typo and that Christie was actually going to get the Fatter of the Year Award.


  9. Mike Spindell says:

    “Meet Chris Christie, father of the year.
    For real. The Father’s Day/Mothers Day Council has selected the New Jersey governor as a national father of the year. He’ll be honored with an award in June, along with shoe designer Vince Camuto.”

    Who knows how many “favors” Christie pulled in to get that award. I suppose though that even crooked felons can be good fathers, but they certainly can’t lead their children by example.

  10. Gyges says:

    I mean, it’s fun to bash Christie and all, but I think what really this highlights is just how ruinous the philosophy of “all taxes are bad” can be for the infrastructure of a community or nation.

  11. eniobob says:

    Elaine and Mike here is something new to add:

    “TRENTON — Next time you buy coffee, a breakfast sandwich or fill up with gas at Wawa, there’s a good chance your money isn’t only going to the convenience store chain.

    It could also wind up in the campaign accounts of New Jersey politicians.

    As the Pennsylvania-based Wawa expands its footprint into North Jersey after dominating the southern half of the state for decades, it has also expanded its campaign giving.

    Since 2012, the company has dispensed at least $21,800 to candidates seeking state office and political committees in New Jersey, according to a review of campaign records. That’s nearly twice as much as in the previous 27 years.

    Yet the stepped-up donations have not gotten the company noticed by at least one recipient. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said he was surprised to learn he received $500 from Wawa in 2013.”

  12. Frank says:


  13. Pingback: Another bridge controversy for Christie?

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