Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Barbour-Christie Connection continues to cause trouble in New Jersey over AshBritt contract

We've posted about this before, but here's the recap:

AshBritt is a large debris removal outfit that was awarded the contract to clean up New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.  Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is AshBritt's lobbyist.  Barbour is close to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R).  Barbour recommended AshBritt for the job, and Christie chose them.  AshBritt is charging prices as high as three times that of other debris removal companies.

Now comes word that another debris removal company, Ceres Environmental Services, offered to do the same work as AshBritt for a much lower cost.  Gov. Christie, though, ignored the offer of cheaper prices and went forward with the AshBritt contract for a period of three months.  Ceres subsequently turned this matter over to the U.S. Treasury Department for investigation.

Now Newark's Star-Ledger newspaper has an editorial up calling for answers from the Christie administration, which came to power mainly by decrying pay-for-play political schemes.  Things are heating up for Christie, and will only become more interesting this Friday during a legislative hearing aimed at getting to the bottom of the matter. So how much influence did Haley Barbour exert over Christie in this matter?  Maybe we'll out later this week.

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