Responding to a Watchdog.org report accusing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of billing the taxpayers for concessions at NFL games, Christie says that the money actually comes from the New Jersey Republican Party.
Christie said that although he is legally entitled to use taxpayer dollars when he meets with people in his box at NFL games, he decided to have the party pay the expenses.
“Now, as you know we have people in the box at the football game which is where it’s used predominantly . . . we have people from both parties from different interest groups across the state who come to the football games to sit and have private time with me in a conversation,” Christie said, in comments distributed by his press office. “And so I think it’s completely justifiable to use the discretionary funds, but quite frankly in today’s world where everything is kind of twisted and turned to look like it’s something wrong when it isn’t, I just said in 2012 to my folks – listen, let’s just have the state party pay for this. So to the extent there’s anybody there who is political, people can’t make the argument that we’re using taxpayer money for anything that even looks like politics. So that’s why the state party reimbursed for all the costs that happened in 2010–2011 and it’s been our policy every since 2012 to have the state party pay for any entertaining we do in the box, even if it’s non-political entertaining. I just think it was the right thing to do and that’s why we decided to do it.”
Christie is a frequent target of late-night comedians for jokes about his weight, and as a result the money spent on concessions at football games fit into a pre-written narrative about Christie. But in this case, Christie appears to have done nothing improper.