WASHINGTON – Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie said that the ethics chair awarded in his honor to his alma mater, Seton Hall University, was not his idea.
The chair was paid for by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was represented by Mary Jo White, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“It was the suggestion of counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb that one of the things they wanted to do to ensure an ethical culture in their company was to endow a chair at the New Jersey law school on ethics,” said Christie.
Cohen then pressed Christie on why it was his alma mater that got the chair, and why not, say, Princeton or Montclair State. Christie shot back that neither of those universities have law schools. Rutgers, which does have one, already has a corporately funded ethics chair.
“What the public needs to know is that it was not my idea, it was not my initiative, and it was something they asked for,” he said.
Cohen, for his part, faced pushback for Republicans over an $800,000 earmark he secured for one of the company's that got a DPA — Smith & Newphew.
U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (D-Va.) attempted to make that case. Cohen responded that he was out of order, and said multiple times during the proceedings that he was "proud of my earmark."