Friday, August 27, 2010

Governor Chris Christie Apparently Caught In Lie Over "Race To The Top" Funding

New video released by the Obama administration contradicts Governor Christie's account of why New Jersey failed to receive a $400 million dollar educational grant in the Race To The Top program.  Earlier today after days of finger pointing, Christie fired New Jersey's State Education Commissioner Bret Schundler after Schundler refused to resign because he wanted to collect unemployment benefits.

It is looking like Christie's comments the other day slamming big government and the Obama administration lack credibility after a new video shows New Jersey officials being asked by the selection committee for budget numbers not once but twice.  Both times they couldn't come up with an answer.

Via Blue Jersey:

It turns out the United States Department of Education keeps video of the presentations of Race to the Top applicants. And that video, obtained by Star Ledger (that's it, below) directly contradicts Gov. Christie's claim that Washington bureaucrats were at fault for not letting NJ just fix a basic error in the application.

Does anybody in Washington, D.C. have a lick of common sense? Pick up the phone and ask us for the number. - - Gov. Christie
Actually, Christie's characteristic bluster aside, the video reveals that the NJ team was asked directly for that information, and they struggled to answer, and couldn't provide it. In fact, they apparently never provided it.
Excerpt of N.J.'s Race to the Top interview shows officials with no budget answer

Assemblyman John Wisniewski's statement after the jump:

First Christie wanted to blame the teachers, a familiar refrain from this Governor. But the teachers - a stakeholder with the state in bringing education money to New Jersey - signed off on the correct version, one that would have moved NJ from 11th place with no funding into the Top 10 and $400 million for New Jersey Schools.
Christie personally decided to scrap the agreement and didn't even ask the teachers to sign on to his own version which was submitted. In the process, Christie threw his Education Commissioner under the bus saying he knew better.

Next Christie tried to blame the President saying the Obama administration was being unfair or politically motivated because Christie's administration pointed out the error. But the Obama administration, unlike the Christie administration, is open and transparent and actually taped the meeting. The video catches Christie in his bold face lie and shows administration representatives were asked not once, but twice and both times they did not correct the application.

Then Christie tried to say it was a clerical error made by one person, so they would just hire another. But the video also makes clear Christie's representatives were woefully unprepared and had no response when the issue was raised.

When is Christie going to take some responsibility? It's too late to fix his incompetence, which cost the state of New Jersey and its people $400 million that was rightfully theirs. But it's not too late to admit that his ego-driven desire to pump up his national Republican credentials did great harm to our state's students and taxpayers.

Hearings in New Jersey's state Assembly and Senate will be held and we will get to the bottom of this. The investigation will help ensure that this can never happen again, and decide whether NJ needs an independent committee to oversee all future federal applications because the Christie administration is unable to do their job without failing. New Jersey cannot afford to lose another $400 million because Christie and his appointees are unprepared for their job.
(h/t Blue Jersey)
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