Star Ledger: Group Headed by Stephen Colbert's Election Lawyer Seeks Christie Ethics Probe
The Washington-based watchdog group headed by comedian Stephen Colbert's election lawyer has asked the New Jersey State Ethics Commission to investigate Gov. Chris Christie's acceptance of free flights and tickets from the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who has a share in a company that holds a Port Authority hospitality services contract.
The letter came from the Campaign Legal Center, whose president, Trevor Potter, served as Colbert's lawyer when the comedian set up his own super-political action committee. Potter, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission, was general counsel to Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns.
The group questioned Christie's free flights and tickets from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who holds a stake in Legends Hospitality, which won the bid to run the observatory of the Port Authority-controlled One World Trade Center. The Campaign Legal Center's action marks the second time the ethics commission has been asked to look at Christie's expenses-paid trip to cheer on his favorite football team; a Democratic-aligned organization, American Democracy Legal Fund, previously filed a complaint.
“There’s no doubt that once he became governor, a lot of people looking to do business with New Jersey wanted to be Chris Christie’s friend,” said former FEC General Counsel Larry Noble, senior counsel to the center. “But that’s not the type of friendship that justifies lavishing gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars on the governor. The ‘personal friendship’ exemption is understood to mean longstanding friendships, not relationships with those who have business with the government which are cultivated only after one is elected to high public office.”
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