LONG BRANCH – Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. today called for an investigation into the contract and bidding process used by Republican Gov. Chris Christie for the marketing campaign to promote the Jersey Shore and encourage tourism.
In a letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pallone (D-NJ-6) questions the Governor’s decision to award the contract to a bidder that cost the state $2.2 million more than a comparable firm’s proposal. These taxpayer-funded television ads feature the Governor and have been aired in New Jersey and surrounding states during his reelection cycle. However, the proposal from the less expensive firm that was not chosen during the bidding process did not propose featuring the Governor in the ads.
“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 our colleagues that this funding was critical to our recovery and that it would be spent responsibly without waste, fraud and abuse,” wrote Pallone in the letter.
Had Governor Christie chosen the less expensive firm, $2.2 million in federal disaster aid could have potentially been directed elsewhere, for example, to provide 44 Sandy impacted homeowners $50,000 grants to raise their homes, Pallone noted.
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