New Storm Brews Over Christie’s Role in Shore Tourism Ad Campaign

Tracey Samuelson | January 14, 2014 | More Issues, Politics, Sandy
Feds investigate bidding process for spots featuring governor and family that run during election season

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More storm clouds are gathering around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, since the U.S. Inspector General has reportedly decided there is sufficient cause to probe whether federal aid intended for Hurricane Sandy relief was misused in the “Stronger than the Storm” ad campaign, which featured the Christie family and ran during the gubernatorial campaign last year.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone and other Democrats have long complained about the governor’s role in the ad campaign. Pallone also questions the bidding process, which awarded a $4.7 million contract to the marketing and public relations firm MWW, even though another finalist undercut the winning bid by more than $2 million. That losing proposal did not call for using the governor and his family in the ads, critics have pointed out.

In a statement, the Christie administration denied any wrongdoing and called Pallone’s announcement “conveniently timed,” while the governor is still dealing with fallout from the “Bridgegate” scandal stemming from apparently politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.

Reporter Tracy Samuelson of WHYY/NewsWorks, a partner of NJ Spotlight, takes a look at the latest controversy. Read the full story, listen to the audio, and watch a video of the “Stronger than the Storm” television ad.