Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being sued by three advocacy organizations from his own state for using taxpayer funds to pay for his security detail while on the campaign trail. The advocacy groups -- New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Families Alliance and BlueWaveNJ -- as well as several New Jersey citizens, are suing both Christie and his campaign, a news release from New Jersey Citizen Action said.
Expenses incurred by Christie while traveling for his campaign should be paid for by the campaign itself, Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, said in the statement. “The taxpayers of New Jersey are not Chris Christie’s personal ATM machine,” she emphasized. “Governor Christie has been an absentee governor this year, spending more than half the year out of state. Taxpayers of New Jersey should not be required to carry the full-time cost of a part-time Governor.”
The groups want Christie to reimburse the money he was paid while he was out of New Jersey campaigning for president. While Christie’s campaign did not immediately respond for comment to the Associated Press, the news service reported that Christie has said his campaign shouldn’t have to pay for his security team when traveling for a campaign, as a security team is necessary for protection no matter what the reason. Christie’s administration has spent more than $1 million on out-of-state travel security since 2010, the AP reported.
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While some Republican governors running for president have done the same as Christie when it comes to travel expenses, others have incurred their own costs. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is having taxpayers cover his travel costs, while the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is covering all of his, the AP reported.
Some New Jersey Democrats have been trying to push a bill through the state’s Legislature that would require the state's governor to reimburse taxpayers for any expenses not directly related to state business, NJ.com reported.