New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie on Friday said he will name former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown to be appointments counsel in his administration, The Associated Press reported. Brown, who was one of Christie’s assistants when he ran the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office, resigned from her job as acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney in August amid several campaign-related controversies.
When he was U.S. Attorney, Christie took out a second mortgage on his home to loan Brown $46,000, but failed the report the information on his financial disclosures and tax returns. Brown also came under fire by the campaign of Christie’s opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine (D), for working to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request that concerned her and Christie’s travel records.
The FOIA records revealed that Christie exceeded his government lodging allowance when traveling as U.S. Attorney, often staying in luxury hotels, and that he approved Brown’s requests to stay in some of the same five-star hotels as he.
In addition, the New York Times reported that Brown assisted the Christie campaign by delaying the U.S. Attorney office’s response to the Corzine campaign’s FOIA requests. As a result, then-interim U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra came under pressure from unnamed Justice Department officials to remove Brown from collecting records for the campaign’s request, the Times reported.
Christie has already named six of his former colleagues from his U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:
- Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office,
- Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office,
- Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office,
- Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel,
- Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel and
- Charles McKenna, to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.