The Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie misused federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds by creating ads that featured him and his family as he campaigned for reelection.
The probe of the possible political use of the funds was in response to questions raised by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), according to CNN:
Pallone wrote that he was concerned about the bidding process for the firm awarded the marketing plan; the winning firm is charging the state about $2 million more than the next lowest bidder. The winning $4.7 million bid featured Christie and his family in the advertisements while the losing $2.5 million proposal did not feature the Christies.
Even at least one Republican questioned the ads. According to the Daily News, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky during a November 2013 Senate hearing called the ads “offensive.” He said:
Some of these ads, people running for office put their mug all over these ads while they’re in the middle of a political campaign. In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office.
I’m thinking there might be a conflict of interest there. That’s a real problem. And that’s why, when people are trying to do good and trying to use the taxpayer’s money wisely, they’re offended to see our money spent on political ads. That’s just offensive.
Christie, of course, is already under fire for a payback scheme that clogged up the George Washington Bridge. He says his aides are at fault. The feds are probing that one too.