Murphy calls for independent auditors to examine Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ legal bills

Lack of Transparency, Accountability From Front Office Cannot Go Unchallenged
Newark – Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for governor, called for the state’s independent auditors to look into all legal bills incurred by Gov. Christie related to his “Bridgegate” defense to enhance public transparency and accountability.

Last night, administration officials released 10 months of bills after a lengthy delay in responding to an Open Public Records Act request. However, the released bills only cover through March 2016.

“Ironically, the reason behind Christie’s lack of transparency in keeping these bills private couldn’t have been more transparent — it was to keep bad information from getting out while Donald Trump pondered his vice-presidential pick,” said Murphy. “Now that more bills have been released, taxpayers have a right to have a full and proper audited accounting of the millions of their dollars being spent on Christie’s defense attorneys.”

So far, Christie’s attorneys, the New York firm of Gibson Dunn, have billed New Jersey taxpayers in excess of $8 million for their work on Christie’s behalf.

Murphy called for a full audit of Gibson Dunn’s billings, pointing to the words from U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, who said in December, “The taxpayers of the state of New Jersey paid GDC [Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher] millions of dollars to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation. What they got instead was opacity and gamesmanship. They deserve better.”

Gibson Dunn is reportedly billing the state $650 an hour for its services.

“We have an independent State Comptroller and an independent State Commission of Investigation to ensure transparency and to assess whether the public’s money is being wasted,” said Murphy. “Christie has impounded millions of dollars meant for worthy nonprofit and community organizations that help abused women and children, Holocaust survivors, and the hungry, yet he has no problem paying exorbitant fees to his attorneys. If he has nothing to hide, then he’d have no problem having his legal bills put under the microscope.”