Chris Christie for president? Only a little more than a year into his governorship in New Jersey, the state’s former U.S. Attorney is described in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine by Matt Bai as one of the most intriguing political figures in America.
Hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers linger on scenes from the Republican governor’s town-hall meetings, Bai says in an article that suggests that at least The Times’ editors are taking his president possibilities seriously. Newly elected governors — not just Republicans, Christie says, but also Democrats — call to seek his counsel on how to confront their own staggering budget deficits and intractable unions.
At a recent gathering of Republican governors, Christie attracted a throng of supporters and journalists as he strode through the halls of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel like Bono at Davos.
While Christie has flatly ruled out a presidential run in 2012, there is enough conjecture about the possibility that Bai said he felt moved to ask him a few weeks ago if he found it exhausting to have to constantly answer the same question.
“Listen, if you’re going to say you’re exhausted by that, you’re really taking yourself too seriously,” Christie told Bai, and then broke into his imitation of a politician who is taking himself too seriously. “ ‘Oh, Matt, please, stop asking me about whether I should be president of the United States! The leader of the free world! Please stop! I’m exhausted by the question!’
“I mean, come on. If I get to that point, just slap me around, because that’s really presumptuous. What it is to me is astonishing, not exhausting.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) again denied he will run for president in 2012, saying in an appearance on Fox News Sunday that his experience, including his time as U.S. Attorney, has not prepared him to run the country.
“I am not arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor of New Jersey and seven years as U.S. Attorney that I am ready to be president,” said Christie, who is nonetheless on the top of many pundits’ lists. “I don’t think you run just because political opportunity is there. That’s how we end up with politicians who aren’t prepared for their jobs.”
Christie served as the state’s U.S. Attorney from January 2002 to December 2008. In the 2009 gubernatorial campaign, the campaign of then-Gov. Jon Corzine (D) raised ethical issues about Christie’s tenure as the state’s top federal prosecutor, questioning his expenses and whether he used his position to avoid traffic tickets.
But Christie handily defeated Corzine and has since seen his profile rise nationally after taking on teacher’s unions and working to reduce state spending.
New York Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman (D) on Wednesday named three Justice Department veterans to his office, the New York Law Journal reported.
Barbara D. Underwood, who served as acting U.S. Solicitor General from January to June 2001 and principal deputy U.S. Solicitor General from March 1998 to January 2001, will retain her position as state solicitor general. She has argued 19 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Underwood also has served as chief assistant to the Eastern District U.S. Attorney.
Nancy Hoppock will serve as executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice. She currently works in the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and chief of the criminal division.
In addition, Schneiderman named three honorary co-chairs to his transition team, including Zachary W. Carter, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, who served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from from 1993 to 1999.
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U.S. Attorneys brought in the biggest financial collection in the Justice Department’s history during fiscal 2010 from actions in civil and criminal cases, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
The 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices located across the nation collected almost $6.7 billion from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010 — an increase of more than 45 percent from fiscal 2009.
The offices secured about $3.8 billion through civil actions in fiscal 2010, mostly from fines and the recovery of federal funds lost to fraud. Restitution, fines and felony assessments from criminal cases handled by the offices brought in more than $2.8 billion during the last fiscal year.
Big health care fraud cases and large criminal restitution cases over the past year helped bring the 57 percent increase in the civil collection and 30 percent increase in the criminal collection from fiscal 2009 to 2010, according to the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office. Attorney General Eric Holder made the fight against health care fraud a top DOJ priority after taking office in 2009.
The U.S. Attorneys’ offices also collected $1.8 billion in fiscal 2010 from asset-forfeiture actions.
“In a time when we all worry about the bottom line, U.S. Attorneys’ offices offer a good return on the taxpayers’ investment,” New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman , vice chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, said in a statement.
He added: “These numbers show that federal prosecution is remarkably cost-effective.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been hitting the campaign trail hard this election season. The former U.S. Attorney, who has been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, appeared at dinners, rallies and other events in support of 19 Republican candidates from Massachusetts to Oregon since becoming his state’s governor in January, Congressional Quarterly reported Tuesday.
The candidates include:
- California gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman (who Christie infamously saved from a heckler).
- New Mexico gubernatorial nominee Susana Martinez.
- Ohio gubernatorial nominee John Kasich.
- Iowa gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad.
- Illinois gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady.
- Wisconsin gubernatorial nominee Scott Walker.
- Michigan gubernatorial nominee Rick Snyder.
- Connecticut gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley.
- Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett, a former U.S. Attorney.
- Maryland gubernatorial nominee Bob Ehrlich.
- Massachusetts gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker.
- Minnesota gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer.
- Oregon gubernatorial nominee Chris Dudley.
- Senate nominee Linda McMahon in Connecticut.
- Senate nominee Marco Rubio in Florida.
- House nominee and former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan in Pennsylvania.
- House nominee Mike Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania.
- Rep. Charlie Dent in Pennsylvania.
- Rep. Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania.
Christie has also campaigned for all New Jersey Republicans campaigning for seats in the House, and will grace the Indiana Republican Party’s annual fall dinner Tuesday night.
A documentary about corruption in New Jersey that will open Friday in select theaters features the state former U.S. Attorney and governor in a lead role.
“The Soprano State, New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption, The Documentary: Part One” produced by Academy Award nominee Steve Kalafer and based on a New York Times bestselling book of the same title documents the history of wrongdoing by state officials and leaders. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who was his state’s U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008, is the hero in the movie, portrayed as “a modern day Eliot Ness,” who went after mobsters including Al Capone as a federal agent, Fox News columnist Jon Kraushar said.
Christie has prided himself on his work to combat public corruption as a federal prosecutor, making his crime-fighting efforts a pillar of his campaign for governor. The film prominently features ex-state senator and former Newark mayor Sharpe James, one of the state’s politicians convicted of a federal crime under Christie’s watch as U.S. Attorney.
“I think [the movie] sends a really important message to the public,” Christie told reporters after the movie’s premier Monday, according to the Hunterdon County Democrat. But he added: “We’ll always have a corruption problem in New Jersey.”
Kalafer told the Hunterdon County Democrat that the response to the movie at the premier “was quite overwhelming,” with audience members expressing shock and anger at times.
“It was time to do an in-depth documentary about corruption in the state of New Jersey,” Kalafer told the newspaper.
See a trailer for the film below.
An U.S. Marshals Service official in the Southern District of New York was sentenced to almost four years in prison for giving one of his guns to a convicted felon and committing perjury, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney announced Thursday.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Antoine Dobson gave his off-duty firearm to Larry Langforddavis and provided false statements to a federal grand jury investigating the crime.
Dobson received a 45-month prison sentence, in addition to three years of supervised release.
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NEW YORK — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Friday told members of the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys that he enjoyed being his state’s U.S. Attorney more than being governor.
Christie, who served as U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008, said at the group’s annual conference that the governor job isn’t bad, but “is worse in a few respects.” The governor said he particularly despises consulting the legislature, raising money and seeing negative press.
“There’s nothing that I will do in the future no matter how long I get to serve as governor or anything else I get do in my career, which will be more rewarding or more fun than the seven years I spent [as U.S. Attorney],” said Christie.
But Christie didn’t disclose all of the enjoyable experiences he had as U.S. Attorney.
He told his George W. Bush administration colleagues they are sworn to secrecy about happenings that occurred the annual meetings. The governor joked that there are “ways of dealing with folks,” who can’t keep a secret.
“This is Jersey after all,” Christie said, drawing laughs from the former U.S. Attorneys. “Don’t forget.”
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney is not overseeing the prosecution of a lawyer who allegedly bribed a state senator, the New Jersey Law Journal reported Thursday.
Paul Fishman recused himself from the case when he became U.S. Attorney in 2009 because he represented a company under investigation in the case while in private practice at Friedman Kaplan Seiler Adelman LLP in Newark, N.J. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York is supervising the prosecution in Fishman’s place.
Eric Wisler, a former partner at the law firm of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole LLP in New Jersey, allegedly used client funds from EnCap Golf Holding and parent company Cherokee Investment Partners to bribe then-state Sen. Wayne Bryant for sway in the New Jersey legislature. Fishman and Friedman Kaplan Seiler Adelman represented EnCap in 2007.
Wisler is charged with 37 counts of wire and mail fraud and one count of offering a bribe.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday named a former U.S. Attorney from the George W. Bush administration to his trade advisory panel.
Obama tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who led the state’s U.S. Attorney’s office from 2002 to 2008, to sit on the 45-member Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He will serve a two-year term.