New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s (D) running mate “continued to insinuate” an improper relationship between Republican challenger Chris Christie and members of the U.S. Attorney’s office Christie formerly headed, PolitickerNJ reported.
Specifically, prosecutor Michele Brown should be removed from any involvement fulfilling a Corzine Freedom of Information Act request about the office, the governor’s running mate, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, has said, the politics blog reported Friday.
On Monday, Christie revealed that while he was U.S. Attorney he loaned Brown — the No. 4 person in the U.S. Attorney’s office and supervised by Christie — $46,000. In addition, he said he’d failed to disclose the loan on his tax returns and financial disclosure forms. He called the omissions an oversight.
Six months ago, the Corzine campaign filed FOIA requests related to Christie’s time in the office, a request which has yet to be fulfilled. Daily Kos reported that Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Thursday said that earlier this year, Christie bragged about “having” U.S. Attorneys in Newark, N.J. at his disposal. Pallone’s comment prompted the Corzine camp to file an administrative challenge seeking to enforce the office’s compliance with its FOIA obligations.
Corzine’s top adviser Tom Shea on Thursday filed the challenges with the Department of Justice, PolitickerNJ reported. Under the act, agencies must respond to FIOA requests within 20 days. However, requests do not need to be completed within this time.
PolitickerNJ reported that Weinberg on Friday said: “Based on what we already know and on today’s report by the Associated Press that Christie is refusing to answer who he’s still in contact with at the U.S. attorney’s office and how informed he is about day-to-day activities there, we are simply saying we need someone not caught up in this controversy to work on the FOIA requests.”
The Christie campaign on Thursday responded in a statement criticizing the Corzine campaign for “[n]ot only … accus[ing] the Obama administration’s Department of Justice of being ineffective and unresponsive,” but for “fail[ing] to see the irony of their righteous indignation over the timely release of internal personal communications.” The Newark Star-Leger reported that Corzine refused to release email communications between himself and former state workers union leader Carla Katz, his ex-girlfriend, as talks regarding a state workers’ contact began.
Earlier this week, acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra, who has been dealing with his own ethics issues, said Corzine’s request was delayed because it requires sorting through a lot of records. In addition, he said that “Michele [Brown] is not in charge of the process;” however, last week he said that Brown is playing a role in fulfilling the request, as some of the documents requested relate to her travel expenses and cases.