Chris Christie, a.k.a. “Governor Wrecking Ball,” likes to live large we now know thanks to an intrepid inspector general for the Department of Justice, although it’s not clear if this helps or hurts the political fortunes of the XXX-sized New Jersey gov.
Christie, the rising GOP star who just confirmed his Republican bona fides by killing the cross-Hudson rail tunnel, was found to have routinely violated his former agency’s carefully mapped-out cost-controls on civil servant expenses. A report found that Christie put up at luxury hotels costing double the allowed rate. The survey of travel expense violations by U.S. attorneys politely avoided naming violators. But it singled out “U.S. Attorney C” as the culprit “who most often exceeded the government rate without adequate justification.” The Times notes that the travel records for “C” — who booked himself a $475 a night room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington among others — match those publicized during last year’s tough race by Christie’s defeated rival, former gov Jon Corzine.
All told, the tally on Christie’s extra largesse isn’t a lot of money: He billed taxpayers $2,176 extra on 14 trips. But it’s one of those small gotcha moments for an ex-prosecutor who won fame and acclaim for convicting almost half of New Jersey’s sitting politicians for picking the citizens’ pockets.
It also comes right after a successful national campaign swing by the governor who is already being hailed as potentially stout presidential timber. Christie has insisted he won’t run in 2012 but he got a big grin on his face on Sunday when Meet the Press‘s David Gregory asked him if he was thinking about the White House in 2016:
“I’m gonna need a job, David, after 2013, you know? And so whether it’s going to be being governor of New Jersey or do something else … I’m working the rest of my life anyway, so, it’s going to be doing something, David, so maybe it’ll be that, who knows?”
If so, at least he won’t have to sweat the room rate.