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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Schundler's Silence

Race-to-the-Top-Gate continues. (A brief recap: the last two weeks have seen the fiasco of the missed $400 million in federal education funds, the mystery of who was responsible for removing pages in the application, Governor Christie blaming the federal government for its rules, Schundler warning Christie not to say certain things, Christie says them anyway, then the federal government releases a tape showing Christie was wrong, Christie fires Schundler, Schundler releases various emails and a chronology, Schundler feels defamed... Have we forgotten anything?)

Last week we speculated that Schundler's allegation that Christie and chief of staff Rich Bagger may have pressured him to say or write things to the federal government which they knew were untrue could lead to a federal criminal investigation. Such an investigation would be one possible reason why Schundler is now declining to testify at Tuesday's State Assembly hearings on the application error.  

In such a case, it is possible -- it may be likely -- that Schundler was asked by investigators to refrain from making any further comments (either publicly or privately), and may have received the same advice from his own counsel for perhaps no other reason than a lawyer's abundance of caution.  One thing is clear:  Silence in this type of situation may not win one any public relations points, but from a legal perspective it seems to be prudent, risk-averse advice. 

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