Politicians, they’re just like us! A New Jersey attorney has filed an official ethics complaint against Chris Christie for the #Beachgate incident that went down over Fourth of July weekend. If the ethics committee finds Christie in violation of the law, he’ll have to pay a fine equal to what it would cost you or me to rent the beach that weekend.
Attorney Mario M. Blanch of Western New York filed the complaint with the New Jersey State Ethics Commission on Friday. He cites the “Plain Language Guide to New Jersey’s Executive Branch Ethics Standards” that stipulates that no elected official can receive “special benefit as a result of their position … in the executive branch.” It goes on to outline the breach of ethics allegedly committed by Christie:
“The governor and his family hold no special privileges over the residents and citizens of the state of New Jersey. By using the park, ‘in direct contravention to the shutdown,’ (Christie) utilized his position as governor … to obtain benefits for himself and his family that members of the general public could not enjoy for themselves.”
Blanch recommended that in addition to other fines and penalties, Christie should have to “pay restitution in an amount of the fair market value of renting a private beach in New Jersey during the July Fourth weekend.” That spendy suntan might chip in to New Jersey’s coffers after the state budget shutdown that started this whole brouhaha, but it won’t make up the shortfall for local businesses that lost revenue while the beach was closed. Seriously, did we learn nothing about the economics of beach towns from the similar beach-closing dilemma facing Amity Island in Jaws?