Everyone I know refers to this as "Christie's campaign ad", because it plays relentlessly in the metro Philadelphia media market. (New Jersey doesn't have its own network affiliates, so it's all NYC and Philly advertising.) So now we know for sure that Christie thinks nothing of ripping off the taxpayers to promote his presidential ambitions:
According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, a new ad campaign dubbed “Stronger Than The Storm” stars Christie and his family. The ad campaign is costing taxpayers almost $5 million. The price tag comes in $2 million higher than a bid denied by the Governor’s administration from a competing firm. The ads are part of a $25 million dollar state tourism fund given to New Jersey in the Sandy relief bill.
“The contract documents shine new light on the role Christie administration officials had in the new TV commercials, which are controversial because they give Christie more exposure during a gubernatorial election year, and also because they introduce him to voters in other states in advance of a possible 2016 presidential campaign. The top official on the selection committee, appointed by Christie, once received a $49,000 loan from Christie when he was the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.”"In a competition like that it should come down to price, especially when you’re dealing with something as sensitive as Sandy recovery funding."
The heavy payday for MWW (the firm winning the bid) is $2.2 million higher than what was sought by the competing firm, Sigma Group. Shannon Morris, president and owner of Sigma Group, said she doesn’t have a clear understanding of how her firm lost the bid. Of the four bidders, MWW and Sigma were selected based on technical scoring by state officials for a final round of negotiations. They were also the two lowest-priced bids.
“I don’t know how you can qualify that as the best value for the state,” Morris said of MWW’s $4.7 million contract compared to Sigma’s $2.5 million offer. “You have two equally reputable firms and it’s debatable if one is better than the other. And in a competition like that it should come down to price, especially when you’re dealing with something as sensitive as Sandy recovery funding. To make a decision that spends $2 million more on agencies leaves me scratching my head. I don’t understand it.”
Oh, come on, Shannon. You understand it -- you just don't want to say it out loud!
Here comes the interesting part about the two bidding companies. The two bidders had different views on how the campaign should be run. MWW wanted to put Christie in the ads. The other bidder, Sigma Group, did not. MWW won the contract- regardless of their demanding $2.2 million more. Is it possible that the official, who received a $49,000 loan from the Governor, made a bias decision in choosing ads that featured the Governor during his reelection? Seems likely.