NJ bill would force governors to cover political trips with campaign — not taxpayer — cash

 Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shakes hands as he arrives for a town hall style meeting in Ashland, N.H. (Jim Cole/AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shakes hands as he arrives for a town hall style meeting in Ashland, N.H. (Jim Cole/AP Photo)

A New Jersey state Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would force sitting governors to pay for out-of-state political activities with their own campaign cash.

It’s a not-so-subtle jab at Gov. Chris Christie, who had been frequently traveling across the country and internationally on political trips even before he announced last month his candidacy for president.

“New Jersey taxpayers really shouldn’t be paying the security detail for his travel around the country,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, associate director of the advocacy group New Jersey Citizen Action.

“We shouldn’t be subsidizing his presidential campaign.”

In addition, New Jersey has plenty of problems it could better spend that money on, said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, who sponsored the bill.

“You know it’s not like everything is a well-oiled machine here,” she said. “We have an underfunded pension system, a depleted transportation trust fund … I could go on and on. We’ve got some serious problems here.”

Although the bill would not be retroactive, Weinberg said she hopes Christie would reimburse the state for previous trips.

Were a dispute to arise over whether a trip could be characterized as political, the State Ethics Commission would decide.

Christie spokesman Brian Murray dismissed the move is part of the “endless political drama being acted out by partisans in the Legislature, and there is no point to joining their daily theatrics.”

The measure will now go before the Senate for consideration.

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