New Jersey Governor and potential presidential candidate Chris Christie (R) spent $82,594 of taxpayer money on concessions at New York Giants and Jets NFL games, an Open Public Records Act request revealed. Watchdog.org originally reported the information that was released by the governor's office.
Between the 2010 and 2011 NFL seasons, Christie attended 58 games at MetLife stadium, which hosts the Giants and Jets. On average, he spent $1,500 on concessions at each game. The transactions were covered via his expense account. Christie’s salary is $175,000 though in addition to that he is given $95,000 on a quarterly basis by the state to be “used for official receptions on behalf of the state, the operation of an official residence, for other expenses.” In Christie’s five years in office, he spent $360,000 of his State allowance. More than 80 percent, or $300,000, was used to purchase snacks, alcohol, and desserts.
In 2012, the New Jersey Republican State Committee paid back the state treasury for Christie’s expenses at MetLife Stadium, likely in order to avoid a possible scandal. Christie’s press secretary, Kevin Roberts, said in defense of the Governor’s spending, “The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket or a sporting venue."
Christie’s spending at Wegmans Food Markets was also visible in the analysis. There, he spent $76,373 in only 53 shopping trips, more than a year’s household income for an average New Jerseyan (the median is slightly under $72,000), the Washington Post reports. He also spent $6,536 in seven trips to a liquor store.
Christie is accustomed to scrutiny over his spending. In February, the New York Times revealed his use of private jets and familiarity with celebrities. This year, Christie was invited to watch the Dallas Cowboy’s playoff game, with an all-expense-paid trip by the team owner Jerry Jones.
Photo Source: ABC News, Tim Larsen/Governor's Office