When I went to bed last night, conventional wisdom was that Chris Christie was on the ropes. But now I see the Noise Machine magicians have pulled a distraction out of a hat:
CNN, likely reporting on an email received last night from Reince Priebus:
Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. attorney tasked with looking into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge controversy, has donated to several Democratic politicians and organizations, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Most notably, Fishman – who was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama in June 2009 – donated to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign on June 30, 2007. At the time of the contribution, Clinton was battling then-Sen. Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Fishman donated $2,300 to Clinton, according to the FEC.
You know how this will be spun on the right, don’t you? Eric Holder’s Justice Department is now investigating Christie after refusing to investigate blah blah blah blah blah. Now the right has a liberal enemy in this matter. Game on
Because there’s nothing righties love more than painting themselves as the innocent victims of evil liberal oppression. Yesterday, the baggers saw Christie as a RINO. Within a few hours he’ll be Holy Saint Martyr Christopher of Blessed Persecution, or something.
But do indulge me as I take a little trip in the wayback payback machine to an item in the Maha Archives:
Further into the Kirkpatrick & Rutenberg article we find:
In New Jersey, Mr. Rove helped arrange the nomination of a major Bush campaign fund-raiser who had little prosecutorial experience.
That would be Christopher J. Christie.
Mr. Christie has brought public corruption charges against prominent members of both parties, but his most notable investigations have stung two Democrats, former Gov. James E. McGreevey and Senator Robert Menendez. When word of the latter inquiry leaked to the press during the 2006 campaign, Mr. Menendez sought to dismiss it by tying Mr. Christie to Mr. Rove, calling the investigation “straight out of the Bush-Rove playbook.” (Mr. McGreevey resigned after admitting to having an affair with a male aide and the Menendez investigation has not been resolved.)
The Justice Department has been saying that it is committed to putting Senate-confirmed United States attorneys in every jurisdiction. But the newly released documents make it clear that the department was making an end run around the Senate — for baldly political reasons. Congress should broaden the investigation to determine whether any other prosecutors were forced out for not caving in to political pressure — or kept on because they did.
There was, for example, the decision by United States Attorney Chris Christie of New Jersey to open an investigation of Senator Bob Menendez just before his hotly contested re-election last November. Republicans, who would have held the Senate if Mr. Menendez had lost, used the news for attack ads. Then there was the career United States attorney in Guam who was removed by Mr. Bush in 2002 after he started investigating the superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. The prosecutor was replaced. The investigation was dropped.
Of course, if you point these inconsistencies out to righties they curl up into a fetal position and play the martyr well enough to make Joan of Arc at the stake look like a slacker.
BTW, the investigation into Menendez was closed by the Justice Department in 2011, but not in a way that made Christie look any less like a bully. Menendez had been collecting rent from a nonprofit community activist organization and had also helped the group secure a lot of federal grant money, so there was an appearance of quid pro quo. This was the matter that triggered the subpoena. But the rental arrangement had been pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee, so it’s not clear to me what Menendez was doing that warranted a subpoena, or that couldn’t have waited until (ahem) after the election.
BTW, the U.S. attorney who was originally assigned the Menendez case was Paul Fishman. But the newly appointed Fishman recused himself because Senator Menendez had backed him for the post.