U.S. representatives Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) and Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) teamed up to craft legislation to curtail the power of U.S. attorneys in appointing federal monitors, so it was no surprise when they responded today to Christie’s announcement that he would resign at the end of this month.
The congressmen separately jabbed at the departing U.S. Attorney, with Pallone augmenting Pascrell’s chief complaint with his own worry abou Christie’s politicization of his office.
“I remain concerned that Christie has engaged in improper political activities in recent months while still serving as the U.S. Attorney,” said Pallone. “Numerous press reports have highlighted aggressive political outreach by Christie and his political lieutenants in order to develop a campaign infrastructure for a possible run for governor. In an effort to allay these concerns, I hope Christie agrees to release his private and public schedules for the last two years so that the public can make its own judgment regarding any possible political activity by the U.S. Attorney.”
Vexed about Christie’s awarding a $52 million federal monitoring contract to former Attorney General John Ashcroft Pascrell, Pascrell mostly struck to the script in his comments.“There is no question that U.S. Attorney Christie has effectively prosecuted public corruption throughout the state,” said Pascrell.
“Regrettably, the U.S. Attorney will leave office without having answered my concerns regarding his treatment of corporate offenders. “After repeatedly avoiding Congressional inquiries into questionable practices used by his office, I was surprised that Mr. Christie’s resignation letter touted the use of deferred prosecution agreements,” said Pascrell.
“If Mr. Christie has become more open to discussing the $52 million no-bid monitoring contract he awarded his former boss, I would welcome his participation in the ongoing House investigation.Perhaps now as a private citizen, instead of a Justice Department employee, Mr. Christie will choose to testify before Congress, as John Ashcroft did earlier this year.”
Pallone put the exclamation point on that concern.“With his impending resignation, Chris Christie can no longer hide behind the Justice Department and should agree to testify before Congress on questionable deferred prosecution agreements that he arranged while U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey,” Pallone said.
“The House Judiciary Committee wants to hear why Christie chose his former boss, then attorney general John Ashcroft, to serve as a federal monitor in a medical implant case where Ashcroft’s firm stood to collect over $52 million in legal fees.Christie should also explain to Congress why the use of deferred prosecution agreements increased so dramatically on his watch.”