Chris Christie

Chris Christie
Chris Christie
55th Governor of New Jersey
Assumed office
January 19, 2010
Lieutenant Kim Guadagno
Preceded by Jon Corzine
United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey
In office
January 17, 2002 – December 1, 2008[1]
Nominated by George W. Bush
Preceded by Robert Cleary
Succeeded by Ralph Marra (Acting)
Member of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders
In office
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 1998
Personal details
Born Christopher James Christie
September 6, 1962 (1962-09-06) (age 49)
Newark, New Jersey
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Pat Foster
Children Andrew (b. 1993)
Sarah (b. 1996)
Patrick (b. 2000)
Bridget (b. 2003)
Residence Mendham
Alma mater University of Delaware
Seton Hall University
Religion Roman Catholic

Christopher James "Chris" Christie (born September 6, 1962) is the 55th and current Governor of New Jersey. Upon his election to the governorship in November 2009, Christie became the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years. In 2011, he considered entering the race for the Republican Presidential nomination but ultimately decided not to run. Christie, an attorney, previously served as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey and as a Morris County, New Jersey Freeholder.


Early life and family

Chris Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Sondra A. (née Grasso) and Wilbur James "Bill" Christie, a certified public accountant.[2][3][4] Christie is of Irish and Sicilian descent. [5][6][7] He was raised in Livingston, graduating from Livingston High School.[8] Christie graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1984 and Seton Hall University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1987. Christie was admitted to the Bar of the State of New Jersey and the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in December 1987.

In 1986, Christie married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow student at the University of Delaware. After marriage they shared a one-room apartment in Summit, New Jersey. Mary Pat Christie pursued a career in investment banking, eventually working at the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. She left the firm in 2001 following the September 11 attacks, only recently returning to work part-time.[3] They have four children, Andrew (born 1993), Sarah (born 1996), Patrick (born 2000), and Bridget (born 2003).[9] Christie and his family reside in Mendham Township.

Early career


In 1987, Christie joined the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci of Cranford, New Jersey. In 1993, he was named a partner in the firm. Christie specialized in securities law, appellate practice, election law, and government affairs. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association and was a member of the Election Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Morris County Freeholder

Christie, at the time a resident of Mendham, was in 1994 elected as a Republican to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, with Christie and a running mate having defeated incumbent freeholders in the party primary. After that election, the defeated incumbents filed defamation lawsuits against Christie based on statements made during the primary campaign. Christie had incorrectly stated that the incumbents were under investigation for violating certain local laws. The lawsuit was settled out of court.[10]

As freeholder, Christie required the county government to obtain three quotes from qualified firms for all contracts. He led a successful effort to bar county officials from accepting gifts from people and firms doing business with the county. He voted to raise the county's open space tax for land preservation; however, county taxes on the whole were decreased by 6.6% during his tenure. He successfully pushed for the dismissal of an architect hired to design a new jail, saying that the architect was costing taxpayers too much money. The architect then sued Christie for defamation over remarks he made about the dismissal.[11]

In 1995, Christie announced a bid for a seat in the New Jersey General Assembly; he and attorney Rick Merkt ran as a ticket against incumbent Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and attorney Michael Patrick Carroll in the Republican primary. Bucco and Carroll, the establishment candidates, defeated the up-and-comers by a wide margin. After this loss, Christie's bid for re-nomination to the freeholder board was unlikely, as unhappy Republicans recruited John J. Murphy to run against Christie in 1997. Murphy defeated Christie in the primary.[12] Murphy, who had falsely accused Christie of having the county pay his legal bills in the architect's lawsuit, was sued by Christie after the election. They settled out of court; nevertheless, Christie's career in Morris County politics was over by 1998.


In 1998 Christie registered as a lobbyist for the firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, alongside fellow partner and later, gubernatorial campaign fundraiser Bill Palatucci. Between 1999 and 2001, Christie and Palatucci lobbied on behalf of, among others, GPU Energy for deregulation of New Jersey's electric and gas industry; the Securities Industry Association to block the inclusion of securities fraud under the state's Consumer Fraud Act; Hackensack University Medical Center for state grants, and the University of Phoenix for a New Jersey higher education license.[13]

United States Attorney

Christie served as the chief federal law enforcement officer in New Jersey from January 17, 2002 to December 1, 2008. His office included 137 attorneys, with offices in Newark, Trenton and Camden. Christie also served as one of the 17 U.S. Attorneys on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' advisory committee.


On December 7, 2001, Christie was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 2001, and sworn into office on January 17, 2002.

Controversy surrounded his appointment; some members of the New Jersey Bar professed disappointment at Christie's lack of criminal law experience and his history as a top fundraiser for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.[14] The extent of the role played by Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, also became an issue after Christie's law partner, William Palatucci, a Republican political consultant and Bush supporter, boasted that he had selected a United States attorney by forwarding Christie's résumé to Rove.[15]

Christie has stated that his distant familial connection to Genovese crime family leader Tino Fiumara never came up during his Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for his position as a U.S. Attorney; he told The New York Times in 2009 that he had assumed that investigators were aware of the connection.[16] During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, Christie recused himself from his office's investigation, indictment, and prosecution of Fiumara for aiding the flight of a fugitive.[16] A 2011 commentary on MarketWatch identified Fiumara as Christie's aunt's husband's late brother and said Christie has dismissed the relationship as a "private matter".[17]


Christie in 2004 as the United States Attorney for New Jersey.

Despite the initial misgivings over his degree of experience, Christie received praise for his history of convictions for public corruption. During his tenure, Christie's office won convictions or guilty pleas from 130 public officials, both Republican and Democratic, on the state, county and local levels without losing a single case.[18] The most notable of these convictions included those of Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski in 2002 on bribery charges,[19] Essex County Executive James W. Treffinger in 2003 on corruption charges,[20] former New Jersey Senate President John A. Lynch, Jr. in 2006 on charges of mail fraud and tax evasion,[21] State Senator and former Newark mayor Sharpe James in 2008 on fraud charges,[22] and State Senator Wayne R. Bryant in 2008 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud.[23]

Claims of misuse of deferred prosecution agreements

Christie has been accused of using his office's role in crafting deferred prosecution agreements to award lucrative federal monitoring positions in no-bid contracts to friends, supporters, and allies.[24] Questions first arose after Christie awarded a multimillion dollar, no-bid contract to David Kelley, another former U.S. Attorney, who had investigated Christie's brother, Todd Christie, in a 2005 fraud case involving traders at the Wall Street firm, Spear, Leeds & Kellogg.[25][26] Kelley had declined to prosecute Todd Christie, who had been ranked fourth in the investigation-initiating U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint among twenty traders who earned the largest profits for their company at the expense of their customers. The top three were indicted, as were eleven other traders.[27]

Christie was similarly criticized for his 2007 recommendation of the appointment of The Ashcroft Group, a consulting firm owned by Christie's former superior, the former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, as a monitor in a court settlement against Zimmer Holdings, an Indiana medical supplies company. The no-bid contract was worth between $28 million and $52 million.[28][29] Christie defended the decision, saying that Ashcroft’s prominence and legal acumen made him a natural choice. Christie declined to intercede when Zimmer's company lawyers protested the Group’s plans to charge a rate of $1.5 million to $2.9 million per month for the monitoring.[24][30] Shortly after the House Judiciary Committee began holding hearings on the matter, the Justice Department re-wrote the rules regarding the appointment of court monitors.[31]

Christie also faced criticism over the terms of a $311 million fraud settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Christie’s office deferred criminal prosecution of the pharmaceutical company in a deal that required it to dedicate $5 million for a business ethics chair at Seton Hall University School of Law, Christie's alma mater.[32][33] The U.S. Justice Department subsequently set guidelines forbidding such requirements as components of out-of-court corporate crime settlements.[34]

In June 2009, Christie was called before the House Judiciary Committee as part of its consideration of new regulations on deferred prosecution agreements. In his testimony, he defended his decisions to award no-bid, high-paying federal monitoring contracts to law firms that his critics say constitute a conflict of interest. Christie left the meeting after two and a half hours of questioning, against the requests of the Committee's chairman, stating that he had to attend to pressing business in New Jersey.[24][35]

Claims of partisan attacks

Christie at a town hall meeting in Union City, New Jersey February 9, 2011.

Christie has been criticized for subpoenaing Senator Robert Menendez during his contested 2006 campaign, just two months before the election.[36][37] Christie's aides have insisted that they initiated the action in response to an article that appeared in The Record, which reported that in 1994, when Menendez was a U.S. Representative, he had leased his former home to a social service agency that he had helped obtain federal financing.[36] The non-profit group paid Menendez more than $300,000 over nine years to rent the building. Menendez claims to have cleared the arrangement with the Congressional ethics office, a step that had also been reported previously by New Jersey newspapers.[36] According to Menendez, just prior to signing the rental lease, he cleared it by phone with a lawyer on the staff of the United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Following the subpoena, the lawyer, who no longer works with the Committee, came forward to say that while she doesn’t recall the conversation, it probably happened—and that if she were advising Menendez now she would tell him, as she apparently did then, that there was nothing improper about the arrangement.[38] As of August 2009, nothing has come from the investigation.[36]

Cell phone monitoring and alleged entrapment

In 2005, Christie prosecuted the Hemant Lakhani terrorism case, in which the defendant claimed that he had been entrapped. In that case, Christie's office relied on an informant who had been dismissed by the FBI as unreliable for fabricating claims of terrorist activity. For more than a year, the informant, working with the U.S. attorney's office, solicited Lakhani for access to arms. Lakhani was unable to obtain anything until an undercover agent contacted him and supplied him with a fake missile. In an interview with the public radio program This American Life,[39] Christie brushed off suggestions that Lakhani was entrapped by law enforcement, defending the Lakhani prosecution.

In April 2009, Christie came under fire from the ACLU for authorizing warrantless cellphone tracking of people in 79 instances. Christie has stressed that the practice was legal and court approved.[40]

Governor of New Jersey

Christie filed as a candidate for the office of Governor on January 8, 2009.[41] In the primary on June 2, Christie won the Republican nomination with 55% of the vote, defeating conservative opponents Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt.[42] He then chose Kimberly Guadagno, Monmouth County sheriff, to complete his campaign ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor. On November 3, Christie defeated Corzine by a margin of 48.5% to 44.9%, with 5.8% of the vote going to independent candidate Chris Daggett.[43]

Christie took office as Governor of New Jersey on January 19, 2010. He chose not to move his family into Drumthwacket, the official governor's mansion, and instead resides in Mendham, New Jersey.


On February 9, 2010, he signed Executive Order No. 12, which placed a 90-day freeze on the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and established the Housing Opportunity Task Force to examine the State's affordable housing laws, constitutional obligations, and the effectiveness of the current framework.[44]

On February 11, 2010, Christie signed Executive Order No. 14, which declared a "state of fiscal emergency exists in the State of New Jersey" due to the projected $2.2 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year (FY 2010).[45] In a speech before a special joint session of the New Jersey Legislature on the same day, Christie addressed the budget deficit and revealed a list of fiscal solutions to close the gap. Christie also suspended funding for the Department of the Public Advocate and called for its elimination.[46] Some Democrats criticized Christie for not first consulting them on his budget cuts and for circumventing the Legislature's role in the budget process.[47] In late June 2011, Christie utilized New Jersey's line item veto to eliminate nearly $1 billion from the proposed budget, signing it into law just hours prior to the July 1, 2011, beginning of the state's fiscal year.[48]

On August 25, 2010, it was announced that New Jersey had lost out on $400 million in federal Race to the Top education grants due to a clerical error in the application by an unidentified mid-level state official. In response to the decision, Christie criticized the Obama administration for the decision on the grounds that it was an example of bureaucracy gone wrong and that the administration failed to communicate with the New Jersey government.[49] However, information later came to light that the issue was raised with Christie's Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, and in response Christie asked for Schundler's resignation. Schundler initially agreed to resign, but the following morning asked to be fired instead, citing his need to claim unemployment benefits. Schundler maintains that he told Christie the truth, and that Christie is misstating what actually occurred.[50] The New Jersey Education Association rebuked Christie by suggesting that his rejection of a compromise worked out by Schundler with the teachers' union on May 27 was to blame.

Consideration of presidential run in 2012 election

Christie was the subject of ongoing speculation that he would attempt a run for President of the United States in 2012 by competing in the Republican primaries. He consistently denied any interest in launching a presidential bid. In September 2011, a number of press stories cited unnamed sources indicating Christie was reconsidering his decision to stay out of the race. An Associated Press story dated September 30 indicated a decision on whether or not he would run for president in 2012 would be made "soon".[51] In a late September speech at the Reagan Library, he had again said he was not a candidate for president but the speech also coincided with his "reconsideration" of the negative decision. One commentator at that time reviewed reported support from David H. and Charles G. Koch, Kenneth Langone, and others for Christie's potential candidacy.[17] Retired GE CEO Jack Welch went on Charlie Rose to articulate his and others' support for a candidacy,[52] and Langone went on the interview show October 4.[53]

On October 4, 2011, Christie acknowledged he had in fact reconsidered his decision but then, again, declined to run.[54] It was "for real this time", as one report put it. "Now is not my time," Christie said.[55] "New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie added in the one-hour Trenton press conference held to announce the decision.[56]

On October 11, 2011, Christie endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.[57]


  1. ^ Resignation Letter from Christopher J. Christie to Michael Mukasey, dated November 17, 2008.
  2. ^ "Times Topics: Christopher J. Christie", The New York Times, February 12, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Martin, John P. (May 23, 2009). "Christie: A need to lead, honed by family and success". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved May 24, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Sondra A. Christie Obituary", The Star Ledger, May 3, 2004.
  5. ^ Christie, Chris (May 19, 2010), "Governor Christie: Style", YouTube
  6. ^ "Governor Christie Today Show Profile", YouTube, October 20, 2010
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Gov. Chris Christie heads home to Livingston to talk taxes". The Trentonian. Associated Press. December 8, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2011. "Gov. Chris Christie hosts his 16th town hall in his hometown of Livingston Wednesday to talk about proposals to help New Jersey towns control property taxes."
  9. ^ Margolin, Josh (January 3, 2010). "Mary Pat Christie readies for role as state's first lady". Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff (May 29, 2009). "Christie's 1st political foray was bumpy". USA Today. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  11. ^ Heininger, Claire (May 11, 2009). "GOP candidate Chris Christie launched political career as Morris County freeholder". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved Aug 25, 2009. 
  12. ^ Pizarrom, Max (Dec 29, 2008). "A political career in three parts: Chris Christie, the freeholder". Retrieved Aug 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ Margolin, Josh (August 26, 2009). "Christie, Corzine duel over outsider label". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved August 29, 2009. 
  14. ^ Mansnerus, Laura (August 26, 2001), "New Jersey G.O.P. and Legal Elite Differ on U.S. Attorney", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  15. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D.; Rutenberg, Jim (March 29, 2007), "E-Mail Shows Rove’s Role in Fate of Prosecutors", The New York Times,, retrieved August 26, 2009 
  16. ^ a b Delamaide, Darrell (September 28, 2011), "The billionaire’s choice: Christie for president", MarketWatch, Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  17. ^ Editorial (November 17, 2008), "An impressive resume", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  18. ^ Smothers, Ronald (October 4, 2002). "Former New Jersey Official Admits Extorting Bribes". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  19. ^ Smothers, Ronald (May 31, 2003), "Treffinger Pleads Guilty To Corruption", The New York Times,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  20. ^ Kocieniewski, David (September 15, 2006), "Guilty Plea Expected From Former Senate Leader in Trenton", The New York Times,, retrieved July 20, 2009 
  21. ^ Jeff Whelan, and John P. Martin (April 16, 2008), "Newark ex-mayor Sharpe James is convicted of fraud", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  22. ^ Livio, Susan K. (November 19, 2008), "Ex-lawmaker Wayne Bryant is found guilty of bribery", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved July 20, 2009 
  23. ^ a b c Kocieniewski, David (June 26, 2009), "In Testy Exchange in Congress, Christie Defends His Record as a Prosecutor", The New York Times,, retrieved July 25, 2009 
  24. ^ Associated Press (April 7, 2009), "Candidate for N.J. guv is under fire", The New York Times,, retrieved July 27, 2009 [dead link]
  25. ^ Halbfinger, David (May 5, 2009), "Corzine Allies Plan Attack in G.O.P. Primary", The New York Times,, retrieved June 17, 2009 
  26. ^ Smothers, Ronald (April 14, 2005), "Federal Prosecutor's Brother Among 20 Charged in Trading Scheme", The New York Times,, retrieved September 22, 2009 
  27. ^ John P. Martin, and Jeff Whelan (January 10, 2008), "$52M-plus payday for Christie's old boss", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  28. ^ John P. Martin, and Jeff Whelan (November 19, 2007), "Ashcroft's firm to collect $52M to monitor implant case", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved August 2, 2009 
  29. ^ Friedman, Matt (June 25, 2009), "Zimmer lawyer complained of Ashcroft fees",,, retrieved August 2, 2009 
  30. ^ Shenon, Philip (March 11, 2008), "New Guidelines Ahead of Ashcroft Testimony", The New York Times,, retrieved March 25, 2009 
  31. ^ Reisinger, Sue (May 21, 2008), "New DOJ Policy: Just Call it the Christopher Christie Amendment",,, retrieved June 2, 2009 
  32. ^ Martin, John P.; Margolin, Josh (November 18, 2008), "Christie quits, setting GOP wheels in motion", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved July 20, 2009 
  33. ^ Paul Cox (March 25, 2009), "N.J. GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie's deferred prosecution agreements",,, retrieved July 23, 2009 
  34. ^ Heininger, Claire (June 19, 2009), "GOP candidate Chris Christie agrees to testify before Congress on federal monitoring contracts", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved August 2, 2009 
  35. ^ a b c d Kocienniewski, David (February 13, 2008). "Usually on Attack, U.S. Attorney in Newark Finds Himself on the Defensive". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  36. ^ Harowitz, Jason (October 15, 2006), "Prosecutor Makes a Meal of N.J. Senate Race", The New York Observer,, retrieved November 5, 2009 
  37. ^ Novak, Viveca (October 31, 2006), "Sopranos Lite? Casting Menendez in a Culture of Corruption",,, retrieved May 28, 2009 
  38. ^ "Arms Trader 2009". This American Life. Chicago Public Radio. August 7, 2009. No. 387, season 15. 50:45 minutes in. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  39. ^ Heininger, Claire (April 23, 2009), "ACLU says Chris Christie authorized warrantless cellphone tracking", The Star-Ledger,, retrieved July 24, 2009 
  40. ^ Josh Margolin, and Kristen Alloway (January 8, 2009). "Christopher Christie files to run for New Jersey governor". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 25, 2009. 
  41. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (June 2, 2009). "Ex-Prosecutor Wins G.O.P. Primary in New Jersey". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  42. ^ "Official General Election Results". New Jersey Division of Elections. Retrieved December 2, 2009. [dead link]
  43. ^ "Governor Christie Executive Order No. 12". Feb 9, 2010. Retrieved Feb 14, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Governor Christie Executive Order No. 14". Feb 11, 2010. Retrieved Feb 14, 2010. 
  45. ^ "FY 2010 Budget Solutions Press Release". Feb 11, 2010. Retrieved Feb 14, 2010. 
  46. ^ "N.J. Democrats blast Gov. Chris Christie for circumventing Legislature". Feb 11, 2010. Retrieved Feb 14, 2010. 
  47. ^ Renshaw, Jarrett (July 2, 2011). "Outrage boils over Christie's line-item veto cuts". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  48. ^ Friedman, Matt (August 25, 2010). "Gov. Christie blames Washington bureaucracy for state's failed 'Race to the Top' application". New Jersey On-Line. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  49. ^ Katz, Matt (August 28, 2010). "Christie fires education chief Schundler after U.S. aid mistake". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  50. ^ DeFalco, Beth (September 30, 2011). "AP Sources: Christie Soon to Decide on Primary Run". Associated Press. ABC News. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  51. ^ "Update on the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates". Charlie Rose. September 29, 2011. Interview with Republican consultant Matthew Dowd, Welch, and reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  52. ^ "Kenneth Langone", Charlie Rose, October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  53. ^ O'Brien, Michael (October 4, 2011). "Christie will not run for President". Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  54. ^ "A Timeline of Christie and the 2012 Decision", New York: WNBC. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  55. ^ Memmott, Mark, "N.J. Gov. Christie Says No To Run For GOP Presidential Nomination". NPR. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  56. ^ "Christie Endorses Romney Ahead of GOP Debate". Fox News. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Cleary
United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Ralph Marra
Party political offices
Preceded by
Doug Forrester
Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Jon Corzine
Governor of New Jersey
United States order of precedence
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Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within New Jersey
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in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
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Tom Corbett
as Governor of Pennsylvania
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside New Jersey
Succeeded by
Nathan Deal
as Governor of Georgia

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