Over the weekend, photos of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enjoying the beach with his family infuriated constituents, to whom beaches were closed over the Fourth of July thanks to a government shutdown over a budget dispute. Though Christie probably couldn’t care less, he’s now being hit by an official complaint with the State Ethics Commission.
NJ.com reports that West New York attorney Mario M. Blanch lodged his complaint based on the “Plain Language Guide to New Jersey’s Executive Branch Ethics Standards,” which states that no one in the executive branch can obtain a “special benefit” because of their position:
“The governor and his family hold no special privileges over the residents and citizens of the state of New Jersey,” the complaint says. “By using the park, ‘in direct contravention to the shutdown,’ (Christie) utilized his position as governor ... to obtain benefits for himself and his family that members of the general public could not enjoy for themselves.”
Since Christie straight-up told reporters, “Run for governor, and you can have a residence there,” in regards to his time on Island Beach State Park, it’s fair to say he used his position to get a private beach weekend.
The decision to shut down state parks and beaches was a huge inconvenience to the good people of New Jersey: a Cub Scout group had to break camp and leave Cheesequake State Park; planned fireworks displays had to be suddenly moved; and a 5k fundraiser for the Special Olympics was cancelled, which cost them an estimated $40,000 in donations.
Blanch told NJ.com that, like everyone else, he was enraged by the photos of Christie enjoying himself to detriment of the state. He wants the ethics committee to force Christie to “pay restitution in an amount of the fair market value of renting a private beach in New Jersey during the July Fourth weekend.”
“The governor’s actions are unfair, outrageous, and completely unethical,” Blanch said. “Gov. Christie should plop himself somewhere else, because New Jersey does not need politicians who only care about themselves.”