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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How An Obscure Federal Rule Could Be Shaking Up Presidential Politics

How An Obscure Federal Rule Could Be Shaking Up Presidential Politics

by Jake Bernstein, ProPublica.

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s allies seemed to give a big old raspberry to presidential aspirant Mitt Romney on the front page of the New York Post. Anonymous sources told the paper that Romney demanded Christie agree to resign the governorship if he was offered vice president on the GOP ticket. Christie was said to have declined since he didn’t think Romney would win.

A spokesman for Christie said they were not commenting on the Post’s report and suggested contacting the Romney campaign, which did not respond to emailed questions.

The possible need for Christie’s resignation arises from federal rules that forbid the employees of Wall Street firms from giving money to state officials running for federal office if the firms do business with that state. The rules affect firms that underwrite municipal bonds or advise state pension systems on their investments. If the public official — in this case, the governor of New Jersey — has any influence, directly or indirectly, in selecting the pension investment advisers or bond underwriters, the firms can’t give campaign contributions.

As governor of New Jersey, Christie, ultimately through a complicated process, appoints nine of the 16 members of the state investment council that chooses investment advisers. This would likely trigger the investment advisor rule and would have cut off an important spigot of campaign cash for Romney.

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