Feds Probing Christie's Use Of Sandy Funds For Tourism Ads - My9 New Jersey

Feds Probing Christie's Use Of Sandy Funds For Tourism Ads

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Congressman Frank Pallone, (D) of New Jersey's 6th District Congressman Frank Pallone, (D) of New Jersey's 6th District

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at the center of another Garden State scandal.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is auditing the state's alleged use of Superstorm Sandy aid for a marketing campaign.

This comes after Congressman Frank Pallone wrote a letter to the inspector general back in August, claiming funds were being misallocated and some money went to Jersey Shore tourism "Stronger than the Storm" commercials that featured Christie and his family during his re-election year.

"The major difference was that the more expensive ad campaign was featuring the governor's family in the ads, which ran mostly in the state of New Jersey and at the height of his reelection campaign," Pallone said Monday morning. "And of course, the commission or the group that chose the firm – which was not the low bidder – consisted of people that were very close to the governor. You know, some of his advisors."

Pallone added, "And so my feeling was that it smelled, basically, and that this was money that came from the Sandy package, which I and others have fought very hard to obtain in Congress, and as you know is not easy. It was a long and drawn out effort to get that funding."

It was community block grant money, Pallone said, and Christie needed to get a waiver from HUD in order to do the ad campaign.

The Democratic congressman, who represents New Jersey's 6th District, argued that the money could have been used to help his constituents in their homes or in their businesses with recovery, restoration or to raise their homes.

"Even today we have a lot of people in my district and throughout the state who still have not received the funding to help restore their home or rebuild their home," Pallone said. "And so now, I mean basically what HUD did was they spent the last six months looking at this. And now they've notified me that they are gonna do full-fledged investigation into it or an audit."

The audit is expected take several months. The inspector general will then issue a report.

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon will have more on this story Monday night on the FOX 29 News at 5 & 6.

WATCH LIVE: FOX 29 News At 5 & 6

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