New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) on Wednesday continued his attack on challenger Chris Christie (R) for his contact with Karl Rove while he was mulling a run for New Jersey governor. During an appearance in Newark, Corzine said, “I’m under the impression that U.S. attorneys are supposed to be free of politics,’’ adding, “If politics comes into play, then the whole basis of justice is called into question. Are the actions taken dependent on the fair administration of justice, or were there political issues? People have to have faith that the judgments that are taken by our courts, by our prosecutorial system, are such that everyone is treated equally under the law.’’ Read the newjerseynewsroom.com article here.
Corzine also released the following ad:
Christie’s campaign responded that the gubernatorial candidate did not act improperly in talking with Rove four years ago, The Associated Press reports. Christie spokeswoman Maria Comella said, “It is not surprising that as the Bush Administration was winding down, Mr. Rove inquired about Chris’ future plans,” adding, “In this informal conversation, Chris discussed with Mr. Rove the fact he was being urged to run for elected office and Mr. Rove in turn offered to recommend people who could help Chris reach a decision if he eventually seriously considered running for office.”
The campaign also released a statement Corzine made during a 2005 gubernatorial debate in which he said, “There have been as many Republicans as there are Democrats that have been brought to justice by Chris Christie and I think that he doing a great job.’’
The Associated Press reports that under the Hatch Act federal employees are barred from organizing political meetings or assembling campaign staff. According to Erica Hamrick, deputy chief of the Hatch Act Unit in the Office of Special Counsel, the guidelines also apply to preliminary political activities that start up a candidacy. She said, “Any kind of preliminary activity that leads to formally becoming a candidate can be considered candidacy in terms of the Hatch Act and would be in violation.”
We spoke with Hamrick who said that she was speaking in general terms and not specifically about the Christie-Rove matter. She added that she “cannot confirm or deny” whether her office is investigating Christie and Rove’s exchanges.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported on how the governor’s race has gotten ugly recently filled with legal probes and scandals.