New Jersey governor Chris Christie is oft the punchline for jokes about his waistline. But there may be a good reason for that.
The 52-year-old potential Republican presidential nominee has just been outed spending thousands of tax dollars on Ricky Rozay-esque eating habits at NFL games.
Christie spent $360,000 from his state allowance during his five years in office. More than 80 percent of that money, or $300,000, was used to buy food, alcohol and desserts, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of records released by the governor’s office.
In addition to his $175,000 a year salary, the governor receives $95,000 a year in expense advances, paid quarterly by the state. In the state budget, it is listed as “an allowance of funds not otherwise appropriated and used for official receptions on behalf of the state, the operation of an official residence, for other expenses.”
While Christie returns surplus funds to the state each year, Treasury officials say he does not submit receipts or accounting for the public monies he spends. The governor’s ledger, obtained from Christie under the Open Public Records Act, offers a rare, if partial glimpse of a controversial expense account shrouded in secrecy.
Christie’s most notable spending spree occurred during the 2010 and 2011 NFL football seasons at MetLife Stadium, where the New York’s Giants and Jets play their home games. New Jersey’s governor traditionally enjoys free use of luxury boxes for games and other events at the government-owned venue, but food and beverages cost extra.
On 58 occasions, Christie used a debit card to pay a total of $82,594 to Delaware North Sportservice, which operates the concessions at MetLife. The governor’s office did not provide any receipts, business reasons or names of individuals entertained, but defended the expense.
“The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket or a sporting venue,” said Christie’s press secretary Kevin Roberts in a prepared statement.
The New Jersey Republican State Committee put the money back in the Treasury in 2012 to avoid a scandal and keep the governor’s presidential dreams alive. Good luck with that now.
View the governor’s ledger in full right here here.
Photo: ABC News