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POLITICS: White House

White House gives Chris Christie no help when asked about Sandy ads

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Joel Gehrke,Housing and Urban Development,2016 Elections,Chris Christie,Hurricane Sandy

White House press secretary Jay Carney gave no help to Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., when asked about federal approval of a New Jersey ad campaign following Hurricane Sandy that has given rise to an investigation into the governor's use of taxpayer funds during an election year.

"My understanding is this is something that was under review by the [Housing and Urban Development inspector general] and I would refer you to information from HUD on that," Carney replied when asked about the investigation during the White House press briefing.

Carney got the question because the Christie team invoked the Obama administration as a defense. “The Stronger than the Storm campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy,” Christie spokesman Colin Reed told the Daily Caller on Monday.

HUD's focus in the probe is whether or not Christie used the "Stronger than the Storm" campaign to promote his re-election bid.

"The campaign the state launched last April, which prominently featured the governor and his family, gave $4.7 million to the winning ad firm," National Journal explains. "That's a little more than $2 million above than the next-lowest bidder. But that lower bid's campaign did not include the Christies. All of this is made more complicated (and perhaps more fishy) because 2013 was an election year for the governor. And the ad campaign (which played in swing states like Pennsylvania) potentially gave Christie more exposure for a possible 2016 presidential run."

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