Friday, January 17, 2014

Who is Christopher Christie?

U.S. Christopher Christie is one of those annoying people, who actually believes in the things he says.
Although most politicians - Republican and Democrat - in the state fear him too much to take him on as U.S. Attorney, Christie made plenty of enemies on his way to the top - not because he was a mean person, or even corrupt, but because he always stuck to his guns and often said things that were politically uncomfortable to those around him.
Perhaps this is best reflected in his belief that political corrupt criminals are worse than criminals on the street because street thug never pretend to be anything than what they are.
In some ways, Christie's career mirrors Abe Lincoln in that he started at a little known lawyer and had a quick and remarkable rise to power.
Nominated by President George W. Bush on Dec. 7, 2001, Christie was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate two weeks later, and sworn in as U.S. Attorney on Jan. 17 by Judge Joel Pisano for a four year term.
As the head federal cop in the state, Christie runs offices in Newark, Trenton and Camden employing 136 lawyers. He works with the FBI, DEA, AFT, Secret Service, Immigrations and Customs enforcement as well as with the Postal Inspector.
Christie is among the most powerful U.S. Attorneys in the county, and is one of 17 who serve as Ashcroft's Committee on Terrorism.
Christie began his legal career in 1987 when he joined the firm Dughi, Helwitt & Palatucci - a firm with significant political connections in both parties in the state and federal government.
Christie passed the bar for New Jersey and US District Courts just prior to his being hired. In 1993, Christie became a partner in the firm.
From the beginning of his career, Christie took a Republican political road, using charities as a way of hobnobbing with the elite. He became a member of the board for United Way of Morris County, a member of the Family Services of Morris County, and a member of the Morris County Board of Social Services. He also served a chairman of the Morris County Insurance Commission.
Until 2001, he served as Vice Chairman of the Christie Family Foundation, established in 1999 in what may have served as a fundraising vehicle for the election of Bush as President. Christie's withdrawal from the foundation coincided with two events, his appointment as U.S. Attorney, and charges of Stock Market front running filed against his brother Todd by Elliot Spitzer - after which Christie's wife served as vice chairman.
Christie also served on the board of trustees for Day Top Village drug treatment facility from 1998 to 2002 and once claimed Day Top did the most important work in the state.
"No life is disposable," Christie said in this regard.
Christie and his brother Todd, both met their future wives while attending the University of Delaware, from which Christie graduated in 1984 before attending Seton Hall School of Law where he graduated just prior to passing the bar in 1987. Christie received a presidential citation for outstanding student achievement.
He and his wife, Mary Pat Foster, have four children. She was the daughter of a big shot in the stock market. Christie was born in Newark, but was raised in Livingstone, and made his married home in Mendham.
Christie is very closed to his brother Todd and sister Dawn Clark.
His mother Sondra died on May 3, 2004 at 71. She was born in Newark, but moved out of the city when Christopher was born so he could attend school elsewhere.
Like his brother, Todd, Christie is an avid Bruce Springsteen fan and a regular party animal. He also was diehard fan of the New York Mets.
In his senior year in Livingston High School, Christie got his first taste of public office when he serves as class president, although he had earlier at age 14 volunteered for the primary campaign of Tom Kean, Sr.
Some critics of Christie claim he refused to follow the social rules that most good Republicans used to advance up the political ranks.
His own legal partner, Palatucci once called Christie "Crushingly abrasive."
Christie refused to volunteer or civic events or take appoints to various boards. Instead, he used his wife's money and ran for Freeholder.
He was elected in 1994 and served one term from 1995 to 1997, then was rejected by his own team because no one would run with him.
He allegedly because unpopular because he made claims that the other freeholders were corrupt, but later apologized to them for false accusations. He was involved in two lawsuits over election ads, one in which he sued, and other in which someone sued him. While in office, he cut patronage and resuded freeholder salaries, although very conservative Morris County tended to use rich social circles as a means of raising money so pay to play was not a large problem there in the first place.
Christie's rival was a freeholder named Murphy.
Unlike other counties, Morris County has no political bosses so that they have open primaries.
Christie's wife's money helped him beat an incumbent freeholder in 1994, but could not propel him into the state Assembly in a 1995 race.
Christie did get a county code of ethics passed, barring gifts to office holders and established a competitive bid process.
In 1997, he was dumped from the ticket, and though he got a job as the clerk for the freeholder board, his real political involvement centered on lobbying for and raising funds for the election of George W. Bush as president and to some minds, was rewarded for his efforts by being appointed U.S. Attorney in 2001.
Christie frequently met with Dale Florio, a big Republican fundraiser, and Richard Bond, former chairman of the state Republican Party, often through the efforts of Christie's legal partner, Palatucci. Christie first met bond during the 1992 campaign season when Christ serves as a volunteer on Bush Senior's campaign.
They were often seen at Lorenzo's Restaurant where they chatted while puffing on large cigars. Christie also kept in touch with Republicans through a Pfizer Program.
In 2000, Christie served as Bush's campaign counsel for New Jersey. Bush liked to call hi "Big Boy," because the Christie family managed to raise a lot of money.
In July 1999, Bush skipped a trip to a day care center in heavily Democratic Newark to meet with supporters at a hotel near Newark Airport. Christie was among the 1,000 people who greeted the soon-to-be president. In that election, Christie raised more than $300,000 for Bush.
In 2003, Bush even came to Morris County, where he had overwhelming support in his 2000 run for president.
Christie's appointment as U.S. Attorney in 2001 was a surprise because he had no experience as a federal prosecutor.
Christie's appointment did not go without question especially by the New Jersey Federal Bar Association.
His whole legal career was in civil law with a concentration of securities law and appellate practice. This was ironic considering the fact that his brother was driven from his job on Wall Street by charges of irregularities for which his company later paid a hefty federal fine.
Todd is the ghost in the machine, and the power behind Christie's fundraising success. Todd, was chief executive office of Spear, Leed & Kellogg and was even nominated to serve a term on the New York Stock Exchange board of directors before he suddenly resigned. He said the resignation was for personal reasons. But Spitzer had raised allegations of front running, which is making personal deals ahead of the clients. His firm was fined $240 million and the matter evaporated.
While no firm connection was ever established between this front running activity and funding of President Bush's campaign, the Christie Family charity - which Todd funded in cash deposits - suddenly ceased to see the massive amounts of money that went through it.
Republicans frequently use such charities as a means of raising political funds. The Christie Family Fund frequently donated to other charities connected with prominent republicans, who in turn were very generous to the Bush Administration. While the fund remained active after Todd's leaving Wall Street, it appears to have ceased active operations after the 2004 Presidential election, indicating that it was no longer needed to make contacts with other prominent Republicans.
The scandal, however, may have derailed Christie's own political aspirations since he had once been touted to run for New Jersey governor. But apparently, prominent Republicans used this to edge him out of the running in favor of Tom Kean, Jr.
Christie's record of accomplishments has become more and more clouded with the recent allegations of U.S. Attorneys being fired elsewhere in the county. Did the White House order U.S. Attorneys throughout the county to target prominent Democratic candidates?
If other U.S. Attorneys were fired for disobeying such instructions, can we assume Christie - who is very loyal to Bush - obeyed willingly?
This may explain the batch of Christmas gift investigations currently being conducted and the strange investigation of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez during a critical election last year.

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