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Sunday, July 25, 2010
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
One of the purposes behind Crime, Politics and Policy is to report, analyze and comment on government waste, fraud and abuses. Included in that sphere of negativity is the need to report on hypocrisy, double-dealing and conflicts of interest engaged in by public officials, candidates for public office and those around them. All of these people have the potential, and many have the power, to seriously affect public policy and our lives. And we are often the worse off for it.
In New Jersey, associates of Governor Chris Christie (old code name: Big Boy; new code name: POTUS45) formed this new advocacy group called Reform Jersey Now. A comparison between certain comments by this group's organizers and Christie's own comments while U.S. Attorney show either a degree of rank hypocrisy or a tone-deafness to the problem of the appearance of hypocrisy. An excellent breakdown is provided by that legendarily thin-skinned Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran.
From a purely strategic standpoint, these seem to be mistakes. Some politicians have prospered in New Jersey by capitalizing on New Jersey's lack of a true muckraking, tabloid newspaper to expose such errors. However, elected officials with national aspirations should be conscious of the fact that larger news organizations (and campaign opposition researchers) will chew on these issues.
From this corner, there has been a trend by candidate Christie and Governor Christie to do things with an apparent blindness -- or arrogant indifference -- to the appearance of hypocrisy. The trend line goes from the current Reform Jersey Now solicitations bragging about privatization opportunities for donors (as previously reported by the Star-Ledger), back to the personal loans Christie gave to his top deputy federal prosecutor Michele Brown, and even farther back to the snafu with Christie's accident with a motorcyclist in Elizabeth.
Should Christie stumble in his reform efforts, or have a personal indiscretion, his national prospects will be diminished.
Eric Dixon is an investigative lawyer who is admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey. He can be reached at 917-696-2442 and at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com.