It’s Only a Game: Is Chris Christie the “Mojo Man” and More for the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, and the NFL?

Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey

Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey

By Elaine Magliaro

Mark Arco (NJ.com) said that images of the governor of New Jersey celebrating the Dallas Cowboys’ win on Sunday night “created a stir among sports fans on social media.” Barry Petchetsky (Deadspin) wrote that “underripe tomato” Chris Christie was seen “hugging and bouncing and groping in the owner’s box” throughout the exciting football game. He added that because Christie is “still technically in charge of the great state of New Jersey, some folks want to know exactly how he got there, and how much public money was involved.”

Christie’s spokesman Kevin Roberts said that the governor had attended three games at the invitation of Jones. Roberts added that Jones invited the governor—and picked up the tab.

Arco:

“Governor Christie attended the game last night as a guest of Jerry Jones, who provided both the ticket and transportation at no expense to New Jersey taxpayers,” Roberts said.

Christie, his wife and their four children attended the game.

Jones paid for Christie and his family to attend the games, including footing the bill for the private jet that shuttled the Christies to Sunday night’s game, Roberts said.

As is always the case, New Jersey taxpayers paid for the governor’s security detail provided by the New Jersey State Police.

David Sirota (International Business Times) wrote that some people have questioned why Christie’s “favorite team isn’t a New Jersey local like the Jets, Giants or Eagles.” Sirota added, “But Christie’s bromance with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also raises an even thornier question: In accepting owners’ box seats, is the governor complying with New Jersey’s tough ethics rules banning gifts and favors to public officials?”

Arco reported that Christie’s office “cited The Code of Conduct for the Governor, adopted under former Gov. Jim McGreevey, in Executive Order 77, which says the governor ‘may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.’”

David Sirota:

New Jersey’s executive branch ethics rules warns state officials that there’s “a zero tolerance policy for acceptance of gifts offered to you … that are related in any way to your official duties.” The ethics rules specifically prohibits public officials from accepting access to entertainment events from any person or entity that public officials “deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business.” The rules define one form of restricted gift as “admission to an event for which a member of the general public would be charged.”

In his role as governor, Christie has had myriad high-profile dealings with the National Football League – many of which have proven highly profitable to the league (and, by extension, Jones). Under Christie’s watch, New Jersey officials delivered almost $18 million of taxpayer money to the league to offset costs associated with the 2014 Super Bowl. That included $8 million worth of sales tax breaks, plus millions more in security costs the state picked up for the league. All that was on top of New Jersey property tax breaks that benefit the league.

Sirota said that International Business Times requested a comment from Governor Christie’s office “about his repeated appearances in the NFL owner’s box after his state gave the league millions of public dollars.” He added that it isn’t “clear if the governor is reimbursing the league for the cost of the luxury box seats. If he is, says Craig Holman of the ethics watchdog group Public Citizen, he may be relying on the part of New Jersey’s ethics rules that allows politicians to accept gifts as long as they pay back the cost of such gifts.”

Holman said that reimbursement for access to owners’ boxes was rare. He added that it “smacks of the Jack Abramoff-style of gift.”

Sirota dug a little deeper into the Christie/Jones connection:

Less than two years before Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tickets and travel to NFL games, government documents show Christie personally pushed the Port Authority to approve a lucrative contract for a firm part-owned by Jones. Christie nonetheless accepted the gifts from Jones, despite New Jersey ethics rules barring gifts to public officials from persons or entities that those officials “deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business.”

Sirota continued by saying that Governor Christie and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced on March 19, 2013, that they had selected “Legends Hospitality LLC to operate the observation deck on the top floor of One World Trade Center.”

Sirota:

The next day, the Port Authority board — which is appointed by Christie and Cuomo — specifically cited the governors’ announcement in voting to approve the contract for the company, which is jointly owned by the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Checketts Partners Investment Fund.

Yesterday afternoon, Arco reported that the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) had “filed a complaint with the New Jersey State Ethics Commission over Gov. Chris Christie’s recent trip to Dallas to root for the Cowboys.” Arco said that ADLF “wants the commission to investigate whether the governor violated state ethic rules by accepting gifts from Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones – including a flight for Christie and his family on a private jet.” Arco noted that ADLF “has close ties to American Bridge, a pro-Democratic group that conducts opposition research on Republicans.”

Arco said that ADLF is arguing that “the flight and seats inside the owner’s luxury box at NFL games violated state rules because Jones is a part-owner of a hospitality company – Legends Hospitality – that was awarded a lucrative Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hospitality services contract, according to published reports.”

In part, the complaint that was filed said, “… Given Mr. Jones’ own personal business relationship with the Port Authority which is partially controlled by Governor Christie, it appears Governor Christie’s acceptance of gifts from Mr. Jones violates (state ethic rules).” The complaint also claims that Christie “violated the state’s Conflicts of Interest Law that prohibits state officials from accepting gifts when the person has reason to believe it’s an attempt to influence them.” It alleges that the Governor of New Jersey “also violated the state’s Uniform Ethics Code… which has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for accepting gifts.”

Arco added that the complaint was filed despite the fact that the Port Authority had issued a statement claiming that the lease agreement with the company came following “a highly competitive procurement process.” Christie’s office reportedly “dismissed the complaint as partisan politics.”

Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the governor, said, “Is anyone surprised pro-Hilary PACs like American Bridge and partisan organizations like the DNC are using the Governor’s support of a football team for a political hit?”

Sirota:

In 2010, Christie cited the New Jersey ethics code in revoking public officials’ special access to tickets at the arenas owned by New Jersey. However, he retained the perk for himself. A year later, under political pressure, Christie reversed himself and reimbursed the state for costs associated with using a state helicopter to attend his son’s baseball games.

Sirota also noted that records for the year 2013 had surfaced. They reportedly show that more than $15,000 were “charged to a state credit card for Christie’s trip to that year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.”

The Chris Christie/Code of Conduct/NFL Tax Breaks/Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboys/Port Authority story is a complicated one. I tried to present it as clearly as I could. Not sure if I succeeded.

I’m just wondering if anything will come of the questions that have been raised by some people and the complaint that was filed???

SOURCES

Chris Christie Pushed Port Authority To Give Contract To Jerry Jones’ Firm (International Business Times)

Chris Christie Gets Luxury Box Seats After NJ Gave NFL Big Subsidies (International Business Times)

So What’s The Deal With Chris Christie And The Cowboys? (Deadspin)

Dallas owner Jerry Jones paid for Chris Christie’s trip to root for Cowboys, including private jet (NJ.com)

Group with ties to Hillary Clinton files ethics complaint against Chris Christie for Dallas trip (NJ.com)

Jones: Gov. Christie ‘part of our mojo’ (ESPN)

This entry was posted in Conservatives, Corruption, Hypocrisy, New Jersey, Politics, Sports, States, United States and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to It’s Only a Game: Is Chris Christie the “Mojo Man” and More for the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, and the NFL?

  1. bettykath says:

    Gee, Elaine, you think there’s something wrong with a governor providing a contract for a buddy who provides private plane service and box seats for a football game? Or for a buddy to give a governor buddy the private plane service and box seats for a football game when he’s managed to get you a contract that more than pays for the goodies?

  2. bigfatmike says:

    Dear Jerry,

    I understand you are looking for friends to help you celebrate the success of your wonderful cowboys.

    Well, I am not a governor, but I am very friendly and I will even ride a Greyhound to get to the game if you will just provide the ticket.

    Your friend,

    BFM

    PS I don’t eat very much either.

  3. blouise17 says:

    Blouise14 is ready, willing and able to go though she can’t step foot in Green Bay.

    Perhaps Christie should have a family conference call with Bob McDonnell, Ex-Governor of Virginia.

  4. eniobob says:

    I was going to single out a item or two but take your pick here’s what the home folks are saying about several related stories Mr Jones and the Governor.Home folks are POed to say the least,Enjoy !.

    http://www.nj.com/chris-christie/

  5. pete says:

    cowboy? that hug looks more like a reverse cowgirl.

  6. swarthmoremom says:

  7. Carterbo says:

    With that red sweater Christie is wearing, he looks like a murder scene.

  8. buckaroo says:

    I think he should take up golf & demand nothing less than a fully equipped modern Boeing aircraft with all the bells & whistles. After all comfort is most important when seeking to cheer on “America’s Team.” in Lone Star style

  9. Elaine M. says:

    Chris Christie’s trip to Dallas on Jerry Jones’s dime raises ethics concerns
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/01/06/chris-christies-trip-to-dallas-on-jerry-jones-dime-raises-ethics-concerns/

    Excerpt:
    The sticky issue is that the governor of New Jersey, along with the governor of New York, controls the Port Authority, and Legends Hospitality, a company in which Jones has an interest, has been given a license to run an observation deck atop One World Trade Center, which is operated by the Port Authority. The New York Yankees and Checketts Partners Investment Fund own Legends, along with the Cowboys, and the company’s One World Trade Center deal is expected to produce $875 million in revenue over 15 years for the Port Authority. The Yankees’ Randy Levine, a board member of Legends Hospitality, said Jones was not involved in the negotiations with the Port Authority for the observation deck contract. Levine did, though, tell the Wall Street Journal that Jones’s family is a “significant” investor…

    Jameson Doig, an emeritus Princeton University professor who wrote a book about the Port Authority, said Christie’s relationship and receiving of gifts from Jones “sends the wrong signal if Christie or any of his top aides appear to have a conflict of interest in their relationship to the Port Authority.”

    “The governor ought to do all he can to avoid that conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict,” Doig, a member of a panel on overhauling the agency’s ethics rules and structure, told the Wall Street Journal.

  10. bigfatmike says:

    ” the sweater is orange, not red as previously reported.”

    Well…. orange is good. An orange jump suit might be just right.

  11. eniobob says:

    ““The governor ought to do all he can to avoid that conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict,”

    Elaine you know what that reminds me of ?And this thing is growing by the day here in Jersey.
    Talking about a different person but get you my drift:

  12. eniobob says:

    “He can’t help it”

    “TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s trip to Texas to root for the Cowboys with owner Jerry Jones has generated quite a bit of heat this week, but there have been plenty of unanswered questions about other times the governor has traveled out of state.

    The governor’s office has provided few details for many of the out-of-Jersey jaunts since taking office, many times claiming security concerns. Here’s a breakdown: ”

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/01/chris_christies_dallas_trip_isnt_only_one_with_unanswered_questions_about_cost.html#incart_river

  13. Elaine M. says:

    Jerry Jones sidesteps Chris Christie’s ethics issues, embraces the mojo
    Posted by Mike Florio on January 7, 2015
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/07/jerry-jones-sidesteps-chris-christies-ethics-issues-embraces-the-mojo/

    Excerpt:
    In the aftermath of New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s orange-sweatered soiree with Jerry and Stephen Jones, a serious question emerged regarding the decision of the Cowboys owner to pay for Christie’s plane fare and ticket to the Lions-Cowboys playoff game.

    Jones co-owns Legends Hospitality, which does business with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As a result, Christie’s acceptance of those gifts raises ethics questions, because he runs the Port Authority along with New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Since the controversy first emerged, the International Business Times has reported that “government documents show Christie personally pushed the Port Authority to approve a lucrative contract” with Legends Hospitality. New Jersey ethics rules prevent public officials from accepting gifts from persons whom public officials “deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business.”

    On Wednesday, Jones appeared on ESPN’s NFL Insiders. And he was asked about the controversy.

    “There has been some controversy out here on the East Coast, the fact that you are picking up the tab for Governor Christie and they are disappointed that he would take advantage of that,” Chris Mortensen said to Jones. “How do you respond?”

    While the question didn’t specifically mention business interests or ethics rules, Jones completely avoided the subject of paying for Christie to come to the game.

    “Let’s be true,” Jones said. “One thing about him, does anyone think he doesn’t tell it like it is and tell the truth? Now, the truth is he’s been a Cowboy fan his entire adult life. He and his wife used to on a vacation use their money to come all the way to Texas to come to a Cowboy game. [They] were so limited on their money that they couldn’t even buy parking. They had to park far enough away to walk without paying. Now, all I’m saying is that’s a Cowboy fan. But more important than anything, and you hit it right, Mort, is the mojo. Let me tell you, if he’s got enough mojo to pull this thing off for this Cowboy team this year, I’m for him being president of the United States. U.S. could use mojo.”

  14. Elaine M. says:

    Chris Christie’s latest indignity: Re-election campaign subpoenaed
    The latest news shows that federal inquiry into Bridgegate scandal has expanded
    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/08/chris_christies_latest_indignity_re_election_campaign_subpoenaed/

    Excerpt:
    Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sustained a major political and legal setback on Wednesday, as it emerged that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed his 2013 re-election campaign.

    The subpoenas, part of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s federal inquiry into politically-motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, concern government meetings that were canceled with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop after Fulop, a Democrat, refused to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. As the Wall Street Journal observes, the subpoenas “are another sign that the yearlong probe into former allies of Mr. Christie has broadened beyond matters directly related to” the Bridgegate scandal.

    Fishman’s subpoenas come one year after Fulop publicly charged that days after he declined to endorse the governor, Christie’s office nixed meetings he was scheduled to hold with administration officials.

    The Journal reports that Fishman’s inquiry has focused in large part on the activities of the New Jersey Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, which functions as a liaison between the Christie administration and lawmakers and is said to have been wielded as a source of political intimidation as Christie sought a second term.

  15. eniobob says:

    Reminds me of what all the Kings horses and all the Kings men tried to save.LOL!

  16. Elaine M. says:

    Potential Christie campaign manager signs with rival
    http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/new-jersey/chris-christie/2015/01/08/rick-wiley-christie-walker/21437079/

    Excerpt:
    TRENTON – A Republican political strategist mentioned as a possible presidential campaign manager for Gov. Chris Christie has instead signed up with a potential rival.

    Rick Wiley, a former Republican National Committee political director who did some work for the Christie-led Republican Governors Association last year, has been hired as a national political adviser by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to CNN. He’s likely to manage Walker’s campaign, if he runs.

    Wiley worked from 2013 until recently as a managing director in the Washington office of Mercury Public Affairs, the firm where Christie’s lead political strategist, Michael DuHaime, is a partner. Wiley’s photo and biography were removed from Mercury’s website this week.

    DuHaime confirmed Wiley has left Mercury but said it’s unrelated to his going to work for Walker.

    Wiley began working for Walker about a month ago and has been reaching out to potential staffers as he builds a political operation in preparation for the 2016 race, according to CNN.

  17. eniobob says:

    Precedent:

    “ALBANY — The state’s top ethics watchdog yesterday slapped outgoing Gov. Paterson with a historic rebuke, ordering him to pay a $62,125 fine for taking free World Series tickets from the Yankees — and then lying under oath to cover his tracks.

    The Public Integrity Commission’s penalty — the first of its kind levied against a sitting governor — follows a months-long investigation into the lame-duck Democrat after The Post exposed his freebie trip to the first game of the 2009 World Series.

    Commission Chairman Michael Cherkasky said Paterson’s ethical lapses, his lying under oath and his status as the state’s highest-ranking official justified the harsh fine. ”

    http://nypost.com/2010/12/21/gov-paterson-fined-62k-over-free-yankees-tickets-and-cover-up/

  18. rmac says:

    I think someone is a fatty chaser. She sho’ nuff seems obsessed with fat Chris.

  19. Elaine M. says:

    Before Bridgegate, Chris Christie Used Port Authority As Political Weapon
    By David Sirota
    on January 08 2015
    http://m.ibtimes.com/bridgegate-chris-christie-used-port-authority-political-weapon-1778062

  20. pete says:

    rmac says:
    January 8, 2015 at 5:28 pm
    I think someone is a fatty chaser. She sho’ nuff seems obsessed with fat Chris.
    ========================================

    don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be over to spank your ass from time to time.

  21. eniobob says:

    “The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was under fire. It was 2012 and the agency had just hiked tolls on area bridges and tunnels. Inside a hearing room on Capitol Hill, the Port Authority’s deputy chief, Bill Baroni, was absorbing withering criticism from Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the late New Jersey Democrat.

    Lautenberg carried a reputation as the political nemesis of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who had appointed Baroni to his perch. Baroni swiftly attacked the senator: How could Lautenberg justify his opposition to raising tolls when he had himself enjoyed free passage across area bridges and tunnels?”

    http://www.ibtimes.com/bridgegate-chris-christie-used-port-authority-political-weapon-1778062

  22. Carterbo says:

    So the Post exposes freebies from 2009 against a sitting Democrat which comes as no surprise seeing who operates the company. Are they just as transparent when it comes to the party they favor or are they just an extension of faux spews? Me thinks it’s the later.

  23. swarthmoremom says:

    Robert Costa ‏@costareports 1h1 hour ago

    scoop: CHRISTIE *will* travel to Lambeau Field this wknd to attend the Cowboys-Packers game, pay his own way
    0 replies 94 retweets 30 favorites

  24. Elaine M. says:

    Swarthmoremom,

    That picture is a riot!

  25. Elaine M. says:

    Chris Christie: Jerry Jones And Campaign Donor Benefit From Izod Center Decision
    http://m.ibtimes.com/chris-christie-jerry-jones-campaign-donor-benefit-izod-center-decision-1786230

    Excerpt:
    Chris Christie’s presence in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ private box at a Cowboys playoff game earlier this month raised speculation about the men’s shared areas of interest outside football. It turned out that Jones’ entertainment and concessions company was seeking a government contract to operate a viewing platform at One World Trade Center — a building operated by the Port Authority, whose board members are appointed in part by Christie.

    Now another piece of business has emerged to explain the Cowboys owner’s eagerness to share the New Jersey governor’s company. The Christie administration’s move this week to shutter the Izod Center, the Meadowlands arena that holds sporting events and concerts, could boost prospects for Jones’ business at a competing New Jersey arena, the Prudential Center in Newark. That boost could simultaneously benefit the firm of Christie’s top stadium policy adviser. And the closing of the Izod Center appears also to be a financial boon to a big donor to the Republican Governors Association, which Christie chaired and which backed Christie’s election campaigns.

    “This is another murky deal in the history of New Jersey politics,” said State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat. “This deal was done in the dark of night, and I am very suspicious of what this is really all about and what it is motivated by.”

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