By Michael M. Shapiro
The conventional wisdom is that the recently announced federal probe into the dealings of former Corzine friend, Carla Katz, with the local CWA which she had led, will score United States Attorney Chris Christie political points with Republicans, Independents, and some anti-Corzine Democrats. Gov. Corzine has been battling to keep emails between Katz and himself from becoming public and Katz is already under investigation by the national CWA for alleged improper conduct.
Christie’s federal investigation promises more negative Katz headlines, more unfavorable publicity for the Governor, and positive publicity for Mr. Christie. However, Mr. Christie’s possible gubernatorial ambitions may actually be undermined by this probe.
Should Christie declare for governor, it would be awkward indeed for a gubernatorial candidate to have been investigating the former girlfriend of the governor he is trying to unseat. Should there be leaks of the investigation, particularly the leak of any salacious details regarding Ms. Katz, Christie will open himself up to attacks for inappropriately politicizing the Katz investigation for his own advantage. Should Christie be tough on Katz, he again leaves himself open to being portrayed as an opportunistic politician in the guise of a lawman. Conversely, should he facilitate a deal with her, it will also be seen as politically expedient to have investigated and punished the governor’s former girlfriend prior to the gubernatorial campaign.
Meanwhile, Christie’s investigation may strike a nerve among female voters in the state. Katz is ambitious, hard-working, and has done well attempting to lead in a traditionally male-dominated occupation. Christie’s probe may cause women voters to rally to her cause in a manner similar to the way women voters rallied to Hillary Clinton’s side during the presidential primary against Barack Obama. Particularly in a blue state like New Jersey, Christie can’t afford to anger over 50% of the electoral base.
While many see Chris Christie’s investigation of Katz as a boon to his political future, the U.S. attorney would be wise to tread very carefully during the probe and make sure that no information regarding the investigation is leaked to the media. He also must be careful to provide the same treatment to Katz as he has given to other allegedly corrupt officials. Should he veer even slightly off the track during the Katz probe, he will face a formidable, calculated, and well-funded public effort to target him and his possible future gubernatorial run.
Michael M. Shapiro, founder of ShapTalk.com, is an attorney who resides in New Providence. He currently serves as the editor of The Alternative Press, www.thealternativepress.com Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
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