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What $6.5M Buys: Chris Christie's Taxpayer-Funded Report Is Pretty Worthless

 (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might already have the Garden State in his taillights, but he's left behind a scandal-related mess that he's expecting others to clean up. And that would be the taxpayer.

Christie's legal bill — to be paid by the good people of New Jersey — is now $6.51 million. And that's just through April. The windfall in legal fees racked up goes to the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a tidy sum for rainmaker Randy Mastro, who comes into the picture via Christie ally Rudy Guiliani.

  • Billable hours: In March, the firm reported 59 people working the case. That includes one lawyer 2 years out of law school who billed 342 hours that month; averaging 11 hours every day including Saturdays and Sundays. Tab just for that guy? Nearly $120k.
  • Whitewash: The Mastro Report (issued this March) was 344 pages; 75 interviews, 97 pages of appendices, 600-plus pages of exhibits. It took months and dozens of professionals to produce. And nobody took it seriously. It was obvious, self-exonerating whitewash. Fictional. Contradictory on its face. A massive, leap of overconfidence on Christie's part that backfired big-time.
  • Really? This was a professional job? The Mastro Report: No audiotapes of any interview. No video. No transcripts. Nobody was put under oath. Most of the people who know what really happened were never interviewed. Nobody at Port Authority. Gov. Christie called the report "comprehensive and exhaustive." He sees the firm's work as an independent investigation, above-board, and legal. Legal it may be; ethical is another question.
  • Getting ready for Hoboken: Gibson, Dunn also investigated allegations by Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Christie administration strong-arming and threats (predictably finding them baseless). Given that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is investigating these claims, it's not hard to do the math that Gibson, Dunn's real work on that part is geared toward preemptively insulating Christie from what may be revealed.
  • Repping Bridgegate players: The public is also on the hook for law firms hired by the Attorney General's office, representing some state employees responding to scandal-related subpoenas. Invoices: $670,000-plus (the client names, current and former state employees, are redacted from the invoices).

And you get the bill. It's all legal, but is it OK with you? None of this expense would be going on if Christie did not run an operation marked by political payback, pranks at the expense of the public, and thuggery at the highest levels of government. (See ratfucking). And for all that "investigating" by Mastro & co. we're no closer to answering for Christie what was asked about Nixon, who sat atop a government similarly driven by dark and illegitimate ethics: What did he know and when did he know it?

Also, the legislative panel investigating the GWB incident has generated legal bills: $725,000 (through March).

Add it all together: Gibson, Dunn, lawyers repping Bridgegate players, the Wiz-Weinberg panel, and we're looking at legal bills to address the fallout of Christie administration political dirty tricks at around $7.87 million. Give or take.

And that figure triggers something in me — an old wound. Chris Christie's repeated veto of funding for women's health care. Money he said New Jersey couldn't afford. Against an entire cottage industry of defending the indefensible. Which, apparently, we will have to find the money for.

Because we're on the hook.  

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