Another NJ Mayor Punished By Chris Christie
Credit: Time Magazine
January 13, 2014

The newest emails released in the GWB scandal seem to prove beyond reasonable doubt that mayors who did not endorse Chris Christie's re-election bid were frozen out and punished as a result.

Today's damning documents come from Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, who had key meetings scheduled with the governor's and Port Authority officials in June, only to have them cancelled and face a completely unresponsive governor's office in the weeks to come.

An email between Michael Wildstein and Bridget Kelly released last week suggested that Mayors Fulop and Sokolich were intentionally ignored by the governor's office. Sent during the traffic crisis, Kelly asks Wildstein whether Sokolich has had a call back, and Wildstein replies with "Radio silence. His name comes right after Mayor fulop."

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Wall Street Journal:

The documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal through a public records request showed communications between Mr. Fulop and Christie administration staff members arranging the meetings in June and July, until the commissioners all canceled one meeting after another.

The documents don't indicate why the meetings were scrapped, but Mr. Fulop has said that he was punished for declining to endorse the governor. Mr. Christie attended the Democrat's inauguration in Jersey City in July, and Mr. Fulop's advisers had considered endorsing Mr. Christie, a Republican, but ultimately didn't.

The Wall Street Journal also interviewed other New Jersey mayors, who seemed to confirm the general perception that an endorsement would lead to attention from Trenton:

Interviews with mayors and other New Jersey Democratic officials show that Mr. Christie's allies in conversations that swung from friendly to persistent fostered a perception of better access to the governor's office and state commissions for those who cooperated, while a few who stayed neutral or endorsed Mr. Christie's opponent said they felt locked out. Others suffered no harm.

Perhaps the most damning email in the new release is the email on page 24 from Mayor Fulop to Christie crony Bill Baroni, where Fulop expresses concern that Baroni's office "cancelled a meeting several weeks back that seemed to be simultaneous to other political conversations that were happening elsewhere."

The time frame mentioned fits right into the time that Christie campaign staffers were rounding up Democratic mayoral endorsements for his re-election.

Let's not forget Barbara Buono in all of this. She couldn't get Democrats to support her inside or outside the state, nor could she get donors who would give more than $300 for fear disclosure would bring consequences.

As a result, she received no help from national Democratic organizations in the way of financial support or campaign support. I'm sure they would argue that her lack of statewide support by local Democrats was the reason they made their decision to hold back from supporting her. Now we know why that support was lacking, don't we?

If you're an elected official who is expected to do what's right for your city, and the governor's campaign machine is strong-arming you for an endorsement, would you be willing to say no?

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