Buono fires back at Christie, accuses him of campaigning at taxpayers’ expense

State Sen. Barbara Buono fired back at Gov. Chris Christie Monday evening after the governor accused his likely gubernatorial opponent of campaigning “on the taxpayers’ dime.”

Buono issued a statement shortly after Christie told reporters that last week’s hearing on the Florida-based company hired to do debris removal following Superstorm Sandy amounted to nothing more than political theater. The likely opponent also criticized Christie for holding campaign events of his own at the taxpayers’ expense.

“Thousands of New Jersey families and business are struggling to put their lives back together after Hurricane Sandy,” Buono said in a statement.

“They have a right to know that every dollar is going to help them rebuild their lives, not handed out by Gov. Christie in a no-bid contract to a politically-connected firm that charges far higher rates than its competitors,” she said.

The debris removal company, AshBritt, has come under scrutiny by Democratic lawmakers who recently hammered the company’s CEO during a Legislative Oversight hearing Friday.

AshBritt’s CEO, Randy Perkins, was criticized by Buono for failing to tell state officials that “piggybacking” New Jersey’s cleanup contract off another state’s bidding process could potentially jeopardize federal funding.

During the North Brunswick news conference today, Christie referred to the oversight hearing as “a campaign event” and called for proof of AshBritt actually taking advantage of the state.

Buono in response criticized Christie for being hypocritical on his claim she campaigned on the taxpayers’ dime.

“While the governor spends thousands of taxpayer dollars staging elaborate townhalls and flying across the country for lavish fundraisers, I’ll continue to fight to get to the bottom of this no-bid contract and ensure that Gov. Christie is held accountable to the taxpayers of New Jersey,” she said.

“Tens of millions of recovery dollars are at stake, but Gov. Christie arrogantly calls it ‘much ado about nothing.’ I think New Jerseyans trying to put their lives back together would strongly disagree,” she said.

Buono fires back at Christie, accuses him of campaigning at taxpayers’ expense