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Christie Not Being ‘Investigated’ Over Sandy Ads

From the Daily Caller:

CNN fails to retract ‘exclusive’ on second Christie scandal after their story implodes

Brendan Bordelon | 01/16/2014

On Monday, CNN flooded the airwaves with reports of a second scandal threatening to engulf New Jersey’s Chris Christie, claiming the Republican governor is under federal investigation after evidence surfaced that Hurricane Sandy relief funds were used to purchase a self-promoting advertisement campaign. But according to the federal government, that’s simply not true — and CNN has yet to issue a meaningful correction or retraction.

[CNN reporter Chris] Frates alleged that the Christie administration improperly spent $25 million in federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds on a 2013 advertisement campaign to promote tourism in the wake of the storm — even going so far as to spend $2.2 million more on one ad because the agency agreed to feature Christie and his family.

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, a longtime rival of Christie, was apparently the network’s big tipster. “After an initial review of the Sandy relief spending,” Frates said, “the office of inspector general at the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] has concluded that there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale investigation, according to Congressman Pallone.”

The network pushed the story hard, revisiting the report in at least fourteen separate segments on Monday alone. But on Tuesday, HUD’s inspector general issued a rare press release directly contradicting CNN’s story.

“The Department granted a waiver to allow the State to use $25 million of its award on a marketing campaign to promote the Jersey Shore and encourage tourism,” the release read. “An audit was initiated in September 2013 to examine whether the State administered its Tourism Marketing Program in accordance with applicable departmental and Federal requirements. This is an audit and not an investigation of the procurement process.” The statement adds that audits of federal expenditures “are something that this office does routinely.”

That means there was never any “initial review of Sandy relief spending,” no “evidence” yet dug up suggesting wrongdoing, and certainly no “full-scale investigation” — a word the federal government uses only to define a probe by law enforcement. Instead, the inspector general’s release suggests a routine accounting review, the likes of which are pursued dozens of times each year by any agency doling out large grants.

So how did CNN respond to these new revelations? The television reports mostly dried up, while a few sentences added to Chris Frates’ written report Tuesday noted that the inspector general released a statement calling the probe an audit, not an investigation.

But the “update” failed to note that the audit is part of a routine inspector general process, that the $25 million diversion for advertising was approved by HUD or that CNN was wrong in its initial claim that the federal government was pursuing a law enforcement investigation against Christie…

In other words, there is no federal investigation of Christie over the use of federal funds for the NJ tourism ads after Sandy. HUD has issued a statement saying they are conducting a  routine audit which is standard practice after any such federal grant. It looks like CNN based their report on a longtime rival of Christie, NJ Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone. — In any case, CNN has still not retracted their story. They have just quietly amended their original article to replace the term ‘investigation’ with the word ‘audit.’ But there is quite a difference.

It is all too typical.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 16th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Christie Not Being ‘Investigated’ Over Sandy Ads”

  1. AcornsRNutz says:

    Not that their should have been any 25 million dollar carve out for freakin’ tourism propaganda, particularly for the lousy state of NJ,. For that matter I am opposed to federal relief funds for any state considering the good people Montana and Wyoming whose tax dollars were spent here were not affected in any way by Sandy. But, irregardless (as the new vernacular goes) Christie apparently is on the up and up. To think that CNN would DARE to lie about a Republican! These truly are the end times.

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