Christie campaign can raise funds to deal with ‘Bridgegate’ expenses

Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign has gotten a green light on raising money for some of its expenses dealing with the George Washington Bridge scandal.

Since the governor accepted public matching funds for last year’s campaign, he was limited to spending $12.2 million and came close to the limit.

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission decided the Christie campaign can raise more money to respond to subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney and the legislature’s investigation committee.

“They could not use the money for any other purpose,” said Jeff Brindle, commission executive director. “The campaign has to hire vendors and so forth to access emails and that sort of thing, so it can get to be fairly expensive and that’s basically what we’re talking about.”

Any money raised will be from campaign donors, Brindle said. No public funds are involved.

The public financing law requires that any of the money not used to comply with the subpoenas will have to turned over to the state and go into the general fund.

While the ELEC decision is rare, it is not without precedent, Brindle said.

“There’s precedent to this which goes back to 1993 when there were allegations against the [former Gov. Christie] Whitman campaign in which the commission allowed the campaign to raise additional dollars subject to the contribution limit,” he said.

The subpoenas issued by a special legislative investigation panel focus on the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. That resulted in four days of massive traffic gridlock and the resignations of several officials.

Christie has denied any part in the coordinated effort that appears to have been launched as political payback.

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