Koch did not influence cap-and-trade pullout, Christie says

BERGENFIELD – Gov. Chris Christie said at no point in two meetings this year with wealthy and influential magnate David Koch did the conservative businessman lobby the governor to pull New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Christie said the two spoke about a “whole range of political and policy issues” – state and federal – in a two-hour get-together at Koch’s New York City office in February.

“Reggie (RGGI) never came up. He never brought it up. I never brought it up,” he said, agreeing that defeating the cap-and-trade initiative has been a major policy goal of Koch’s Americans For Prosperity advocacy group. “I certainly thought he was going to, but he didn’t.”

“He asked for the meeting. I didn’t ask for the meeting,” Christie said. “I had lunch with him. Those were the topics he brought up. He didn’t bring up Reggie (RGGI). I thought he would, but he didn’t.”

“He wanted to know about New Jersey. I told him what we were doing. He wanted to know about some of the national issues. I gave him my view on some of those, if I had one.”

It was at this meeting in February that Koch invited Christie to Colorado in June to be a keynote speaker at Koch’s convention. “When I got there in June, the Reggie thing was already done,” Christie said.

Last week, Mother Jones released audio of the speech, including the introduction of Christie that Koch gave, mentioning the February meeting.

Christie was asked today whether he was being less forthcoming with his scheduling given the controversial and, at times, unpopular reputation of Koch and his brother Charles, billionaire leaders of industry, but the governor blew off the inquiry completely. “No.”

Still, Christie was asked why his travel and scheduling was being kept private.

“If it’s a private meeting, I’m not disclosing. That’s just the way it goes. I’m allowed to get advice and counsel from people that I want to. I’m allowed to meet people that I want to meet,” Christie said. “You’re not entitled to know everything I do. And especially if it’s on the weekend and not at taxpayer expense, I’m not telling you.”

Koch did not influence cap-and-trade pullout, Christie says