Use of Christie in Sandy ads cleared by feds

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Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Frank Pallone, Hurricane Sandy, Stronger Than The Storm, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Pallone Lied To HUD Inspector General When Asking For #Stronger Than Storm Audit

Christie was not first choice as star of #STTS campaign

Pallone njtv senate debate

Congressman Frank Pallone during the 2013 Democratic U.S. Senate Primary Debate

Congressman Frank Pallone lied to the Department and Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General when he asked that they audit the Christie Administration’s 2013 post-Superstorm Sandy Shore Tourism ad campaign.

In his August 8, 2013 letter to HUD Inspector General David Montoya, Pallone said:

Recently released documents relating to the bidding process and contract award for this marketing campaign show that the contract was awarded to a firm that is charging over $2 million more than the next lowest bidder to develop the marketing plan.  The winning firm is being paid $4.7 million for their work, while a comparable firm proposed billing the state $2.5 million for similar work.  This large discrepancy between the competing proposals raises concerns as to whether these federal funds are being spent in the most cost effective manner, and should be reviewed by your office.

I am also concerned that the winning bid proposed including Governor Chris Christie in the advertisements, while the lower cost proposal that was not selected did not.  As you know, the Governor is running for reelection this year in a high profile race.  It is inappropriate for taxpayer-funded dollars that are critical to our state’s recovery from this natural disaster to fund commercials that could potentially benefit a political campaign.  In these sensitive circumstances, even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided.

The fact that this particular proposal was chosen despite an obvious conflict of interest, in addition to the higher costs, raises serious concerns with the entire process.  I fought hard for passage of the Sandy aid package in Congress by assuring my colleagues that this funding was critical to our recovery and that it would be spent responsibly without waste, fraud and abuse.  Many in Congress objected to this funding precisely because of concerns their citizens’ tax dollars would be misspent.  In that regard, the state’s mismanagement of taxpayer funds for this marketing campaign is extremely troubling, especially when there are so many New Jersey residents still in need of assistance to recover and rebuild from this historic storm.

But the firm behind the #STTS ad campaign, MWW of East Rutherford, said their proposal was $2.745 million under the $25 million budget and $1.47 million lower than the runner-up’s bid.  MWW said their proposal offered the lowest hourly rate of all bids.

(Vote Here: Which song would Frank Pallone choose for the New Jersey Tourism ad?)

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Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »