STATE – Gov. Chris Christie and the state Republican Party will pick up the tab for three helicopter flights that sparked a storm of criticism.
Christie used a State Police helicopter to fly from Trenton to Montvale on Tuesday so he could see his son play baseball. He then flew to Princeton to meet with Iowa Republicans who are hoping to convince the governor to run for president next year.
The Republican State Committee paid for the $1,200 flight from Montvale to Princteon, while Christie is reimbursing the state for the trip to the game as well as a previously undisclosed flight to see his son play in another game last Friday.
According to Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, the governor’s flights were incorporated into pilot training. “[T]here is no additional cost to taxpayers or the State Police budget, nor is there any interference with our daily mission by adding the state’s chief executive to any of these trips,” Fuentes said. “Any flights transporting the Governor would be subordinated to priority needs for our aircraft including rescue and emergent law enforcement missions.”
“Governor Christie’s use of the State Police helicopter for personal and political fundraising purposes is a major breach of ethics,” said Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) yesterday. “With New Jersey residents confronting high unemployment and skyrocketing property taxes, the last thing that we need is yet another politician violating the public trust and using taxpayer resources for private gain.”
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