NJ Republican Governor in halfway house scandal!
Christie Addresses Halfway House Scandal
Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012
A company with deep ties to Gov. Chris Christie dominates New Jersey’s system of large halfway houses. There has been little state oversight, despite widespread problems.
Bill Palatucci, listed as number one of the 2010 100 Most Influential Personalities in New Jersey Politics by PolitickerNJ. Palatucci, theSenior Vice President and General Counsel for Public Affairs for the company running the halfway houses is described by PolitickerNJ as Gov. Chris Christie’s former law partner and serves as a chief advisor and confidante to the freshman governor. He’s the man behind the man and serves as a sounding board on major decisions. But this power broker is no lackey to the front office. He’s been a player in his own right since the 1980s when he was the go-to guy for major GOP campaigns. His clout was extended this year with his election to the Republican National Committee.
It is easy to see the stories showing up in ads in 2016 — or sooner, in Christie's 2013 reelection effort.
Christie, who doesn't respond to every negative news story, did comment on this one, in a statement from his office:
“While many of the disturbing accounts reported in today’s New York Times documenting lax oversight and accountability in some of New Jersey’s halfway houses took place prior to this administration, we have an obligation to ensure the community placements program is effectively and safely operating today. This administration takes its responsibility to properly administer this program very seriously which is why we have increased monitoring of halfway houses with enhanced site visits, fines for noncompliance and a new inspection monitoring system that has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of walkaways under this administration.
“New Jersey has been on the cutting edge of pursuing policies that both ensure our most violent offenders stay off the streets, such as closing the early release loophole, and support a more rehabilitative approach focused on nonviolent offenders. We need to constantly ensure these policies are being responsibly and safely implemented which is why I am calling on the Department of Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan to immediately step up inspections of all halfway houses and report any violations and recommendations for changes to the deputy chief of staff for policy.”
The statement doesn't address one of the details of the story, that Christie himself was registered to lobby for the firm in question in 2000 and 2001 (though he reportedly, according to other accounts, didn't actually lobby). That issue may still come back.
But in the meantime, this attempts to head off a coming wave of political interest in the issue.
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