On Book Deal, Gubernatorial Hopeful Comes Down on Both Parties

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly counterpart Vince Prieto are negotiating a plan with fellow Democrats that would allow Christie to proceed with a book deal while in office.

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly counterpart Vince Prieto are negotiating a plan with fellow Democrats that would allow Christie to proceed with a book deal while in office. PolitickerNJ

Amid the day-long backroom negotiating in Trenton over two bills that would enable New Jersey governor Chris Christie to cash in on a book deal by offering Democrats bumps in salary for certain legislative staff and government officials, a potential candidate to succeed the two-term Republican is criticizing both sides of the aisle.

Jim Johnson, of Montclair, faulted both Christie and the Democratic majorities in both houses for the deal, which drew harsh critiques from advocates on the day of the expected vote. The former Clinton Undersecretary of the Treasury, who will face tough odds at the nomination against the coalition that has formed around former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy, said he wants to see more focus on the state’s economic woes.

“While New Jersey’s middle class erodes beyond recognition and poverty soars, Governor Christie and the Trenton politicians do nothing,” he wrote. “But when it comes to fattening their own wallets, they come together and move at lightning speed.”

The bills were introduced last week and heading to a speedy vote in both houses today if Democratic leadership can round up the votes.

“Let’s be clear – this is not just a Republican problem. Trenton has a bipartisan record of putting insiders’ interests ahead of the people. From billions in corporate tax giveaways to the friends of political bosses, to this most recent book deal, fault lies with both the Republican Governor and the Democratic lawmakers in Trenton who enable him.

“This is Trenton at its worst – a government of, by, and for the wealthy and powerful,” said Johnson. “When I’m Governor, this game ends. No more backroom deals that turn government into an ATM for politicians. No more looking the other way while the rich get richer, and working people across the state fall further behind. Enough already.”

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the progressive legislator who oversaw the first state-level investigative committee into the Bridgegate scandal, is also in the running to replace Christie when he is term-limited out.