NJ Politics Digest: Frelinghuysen Lawyers Up After Ethics Complaint

Rodney Frelinghuysen. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen seems to be feeling the pressure from what could be his most challenging re-election bid yet.

In the latest sign the Republican congressman and powerful House Appropriations Chairman isn’t taking any chances, Frelinghuysen hired two law firms this spring after opponents filed an ethics complaint against him for a letter he sent complaining about a constituent to her employer.

Frelinghuysen has come under fire for the fundraising letter and his support for the controversial American Health Care Act. Several Democrats are lining up to challenge him in a district that has been reliably Republican, but that The Cook Political report says has shifted to the left. One of his challengers, Mikie Sherrill, has already raked in $245,957 in the two months since announcing her candidacy.

The campaign filings, which showed Frelinghuysen paid lawyers in New Jersey and Washington nearly $32,000 after the ethics complaint, were disclosed days after he used his powerful perch at the House Appropriations Committee to commit $900 million to the much needed Gateway rail tunnel project. 

In Trenton, Gov. Chris Christie had his pen out Thursday and vetoed a Democratic effort to force the Port Authority to not enforce the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban. He also signed a bill to narrowly expand the pool of retired law enforcement officers who can carry handguns.

And Christie could soon have a bill on his desk paying state workers for time they missed during the three-day government shutdown. The state Senate approved a measure to do that Thursday, and the Assembly will consider the bill before the end of July.

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