Christie Jumps Into Hot Water Over Appearance At Cowboys Game

YouTube Screen shot
YouTube Screen shot

It was the climax of a great Lions-Cowboys game when, after the last minute win of the Cowboys, the camera showed the owner’s box as Jerry Jones was jumping up and down hugging folks. There was a familiar figure jumping up and down to get in on the hug with Jones. Like many people, however, I stopped and turned and asked “is that Chris Christie?” It turns out that there is only one Christie and he was in the box that night. How he got there is now raising ethical and legal questions.

First, to Christie’s credit, he has always admitted that he is a Cowboys fan as opposed to taking the predictable and popular route of choosing either the Jets or the Giants. Many in fact have pointed to his honestly as a distinction to Hillary Clinton who suddenly declared that she was a Yankees fan after deciding to run for office in New York. I like the fact that Christie keeps his teams separate from his politics. He is a Cowboys fan and if voters cannot deal with that then, to use the New Jersey vernacular, fuhgeddaboudit.

Now for the more serious question. Christie was flown to Texas, entertained and given unbelievable seats all at Jones’ expense. Christie insists that such gifts are permitted under New Jersey law because the state’s Code of Conduct says that governors “may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.”

A fair point to be sure. However, Jones is not just any friend. The governor of New York, along with the governor of New Jersey, controls the Port Authority. Jones has a stake in Legends Hospitality, a company which has been given a license to run an observation deck atop One World Trade Center operated by the Port Authority. The company’s One World Trade Center deal is expected to produce $875 million in revenue over 15 years for the Port Authority.

Frankly, it is not clear how serious this issue will prove. Jones does not appear to have been involved in the negotiations with the Port Authority for the observation deck contract. However, his family is referenced as a “significant” investor benefiting from the deal.

In addition to the luxury air travel and accommodations, the tickets alone for the seats were worth thousands of dollars — if they were for sale. At a critical game like this one, all tickets were at a premium.

The state law in my view gives Christie the edge. It is clearly written to allow governors to accept gifts from friends and I expect that this trip would not be seen as a direct violation even if it is viewed as violating the spirit of the law.

The separate question is whether there will be political impact like Howard Dean’s famous yell. Will Christie’s jump have the same impact as Dean’s yell? At the time, David Letterman said “Here’s what happened: The people of Iowa realized they didn’t want a president with the personality of a hockey dad.” The question is whether voters in the Northeast will want a president with the personality of a . . . well . . . Cowboy dad.”

What do you think?

57 thoughts on “Christie Jumps Into Hot Water Over Appearance At Cowboys Game”

  1. SteveH, you are by far, the commenter who is the most intolerant of opposing views here. Do you think that this is a Republican/conservative only blog that should be an echo chamber of the same? Every single time a blogger including JT’s himself posts a blogpost that is even the littlest bit critical of Republicans or conservatives you have a negative comment that criticizes and calls into question the legitimacy of this critical ‘speech’ on a blog that is owned by a staunch free speech proponent. Hilarious, Steve.

  2. Inga, intelligent response. Yep, I’m partisan. So are you. Children, grow up.

  3. Christie has a better chance getting elected President of Weight Watchers.

    He is the Democrats favorite Republican candidate. Next to Romney of course.
    No Republican in his right mind would support him.

  4. If Americans can elect W, twice, they can elect Christie. Christie is way smarter. That doesn’t say much for some Americans though, or at least half of them.

  5. LMAO! Steve H. just won’t tolerate anyone even JT casting aspersions on Republicans. Can we spell partisan children? Let’s all spell it together, P.A.R.T.I.S.A.N.

  6. JT: Nice try but flimsy. First of all, you’re way late to the party; he’s been at many Cowboys games this season and the network has shown him during the broadcast; if there was a political dust-up it would have surfaced months ago. Second, Jones is worth $4.2 billion; he’s a lousy football GM but he’s a smart, savvy and ruthless businessman; he’s not the idiot you suggest by implying that Jones would bribe a Governor to rig the procurement process to illegally/unethically award a gift shop/fast food franchise to a small company that Jones has a “significant” interest in. Third, Villanova Univ’s definition of “significant” is more than “1% of any class of [stock]”; Univ of Indiana’s is “$10,000”. What does your source call “significant”?

    Frankly, this article feels like it was written by a team comprised of your weekend contributor who consistently rants about corporate corruption and the other one who consistently demeans and degrades conservatives and Republicans.

  7. The gift from the Cowboy’s owner may be all well and good…shady as it may appear considering his stake in One WTC. My question is who footed the bill for Christie’s security detail on the trip? Someone had to pay for their travel, food etc…

  8. Christie will never be the Republican nominee. That ship sailed when he hugged Obama on the Beach after Sandy.

    His only future is as a Bill Parcells impersonator.

  9. The personal friend element of the ethics law certainly opens the door to many forms of graft. Anybody can be a friend, especially when they are handing over the bribes.

  10. We are all conjecturing here Karen. Christie happens to be the subject of this blogpost. When we speak of Obama’s wrongdoings, is it correct to bring up Bush? Same deal. I dislike the man and his politics are no different than any other RINO. I don’t really care about his politics.

  11. Inga – please provide proof of the “rewards” and his “shady deals.” Otherwise, it’s just malicious gossip because you don’t like his politics.

    There are PLENTY of proven shady deals and pork in DC, on both sides of the aisle. There is no need to make stuff up when we’re so spoiled for choice.

    1. Karen – I think this is just stretching it. And I am so upset with Obama that I could care about anyone one else.

  12. Christie fired the person responsible for Bridgegate, and supposedly cooperated in the investigation.

    I know, it’s unusual. Who ever gets fired in politics, where accountability is a unicorn? Who ever cooperates in investigations? Those responsible for killing honored veterans through fraud in the VA scandal didn’t even get fired. Shinseky resigned, but that’s it.

    Chris Christie is not my favorite politician, and I don’t see him on the national stage. But there are a few things that he does that I do like.

  13. Perhaps Christie is overconfident that his (possible) shady deals will be dismissed the way Bridgegate was. Maybe he thinks he’s untouchable now. Perhaps the reward wasn’t JUST the trip and seats, the rewards may be ongoing.

  14. It doesn’t seem likely to give away tens of millions of dollars to someone for seats at a sporting event, considering Christie has the means to attend on his own.

    But as I said earlier, it’s good to keep a suspicious eye on ALL politicians, all the time.

  15. Nick – many were furious at the publicity stunt with Obama after Hurricane Sandy. I believe some areas have still not been rebuilt. Obamacare was correctly predicted to wreck the finances of the middle class, and Christie palled around with the politician responsible.

  16. @ Nick

    Or Reid met up with some wise guys and a really good left hook. /wink

  17. Maybe the seats and trip WERE the payoff for the contract. Deal first, THEN rewards.

  18. Nick – it’s true that Christie has been open and upfront about the games he attends. That’s encouraging, and I wish more politicians acted that way. Laying your actions open to public scrutiny when you’re in office is a good thing.

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