Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Last week, Republican governor Chris Christie’s administration settled New Jersey’s long-standing environmental lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corp. for pennies on the dollar. For a decade, the state had been seeking $8.9 billion in damages for pollution at two refineries in the northern part of the state, and yet Christie’s top officials abruptly proposed closing the case for just $225 million.

In the aftermath, as environmentalists express outrage and legislators move to block the settlement, the question on many observers’ minds has been simple: Why did Christie settle?

One possible answer is just as simple: money — more specifically, campaign cash.

According to federal records, ExxonMobil has donated more than $1.9 million to the Republican Governors Association since Christie’s first run for governor in 2009. That includes $279,000 during Christie’s election and re-election races, and also another half-million when he chaired the organization in 2014. Additionally, one of Exxon’s law firms in the New Jersey case also donated $30,000 to the RGA since 2013.

Another possible answer could be relationships.

Christie’s first attorney general worked for Exxon for seven years. His deputy chief of staff in 2014 left the governor’s office for a job with Exxon’s lobbying firm in Trenton. And weeks before the settlement was announced, one of his cabinet secretaries took a job with Exxon’s New Jersey law firm.

Still another possible answer about why Christie settled the Exxon case could be found in a little-noticed provision his administration slipped into the annual budget in 2014.

The language in question empowers the governor to divert money obtained from environmental litigation away from pollution cleanup programs and into the state’s general fund, where it can be used to fill budget gaps or finance corporate subsidies. The provision explicitly takes precedence over other state laws designed to direct proceeds from environmental lawsuits into New Jersey’s environmental protection programs.

Because the provision is temporary, remaining in force only until a new budget is enacted, critics say that it effectively encourages Christie’s administration to settle cases as quickly as possible to free up cash that the governor can then tap however he sees fit. The most expedient way to accelerate a settlement is to lessen the fines sought from the company facing the lawsuit.

“This is money that rightfully belongs to the people of New Jersey to make up for the injury to the environment,” said Jeffrey Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Instead, the governor is diverting it for other purposes. It’s a twofer: Reduced settlements help the oil companies before Christie’s presidential campaign, and Christie can quickly get more money for the record amounts of corporate subsidies he is handing out.”

So which answer is correct? Is the settlement a product of campaign cash, relationships or budget machinations? It is hard to say for certain, but in all likelihood it is probably a little bit of all three — plus some presidential campaign calculation sprinkled in.

In politics, as rare as it is to see a policy decision made on the substantive merits of an issue, it is even rarer that a decision is only about one thing. Most often, decisions represent a mixture of motivations. In agreeing to such a small settlement in the Exxon case, Christie placates his politically connected colleagues and gets himself some extra cash to spend on his budget’s new tax cuts. He also gives a gift to an oil industry donor just as he starts raising money for a 2016 White House bid.

Sure, the settlement may not be great policy, but it may be shrewd short-term politics. That divergence is hardly surprising — at this moment in history, good policy and good politics are not often synonymous.

David Sirota is a senior writer at the International Business Times and the best-selling author of the books Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future. Email him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, MD. (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

  • Share this on Google+0
  • Share this on Linkedin0
  • Share this on Reddit0
  • Print this page
  • 113

67 responses to “Why Did Christie Settle With Exxon?”

  1. adler56 says:

    Fat people are rarely good thinkers.

  2. jakenhyde says:

    Typical crooked politician. Money, money, money. And he thinks he is presidential material???? Never.

  3. jamesowens says:

    1reason only – screw the people of jersey he wants the campaign contributions exxon will give him

  4. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Chris Christie is proof positive that all of these middle aged male and female politicians are not sufficiently mature enough to manage their sudden catapult into the realms of authority or control. Every one of these younger male politicians, governors, House and Senate are proving that the minute you give them a wider berth of control, they act as if they are control drunks.

    Christie is a Bush appointed US Attorney, who like all attorneys of his ideology, believe that starving the masses to keep the rich richer is the only fair and just way.

    Christie, like Issa, Ryan, Inhofe, Cotton, Cruz, Walker and the rest of the too immature control freaks are proving what most older, more mature people have always known: That some younger individuals are like those in corporations who are suddenly handed huge responsibilities they are incapable of managing. So, like the corporate Johnny Jump Ups who are ready to skin others alive, if need be, to get further and further up their perceived ladder of success, they act on impulse far too often. Conservatives of the Brat Packer League are incapable of accepting responsibility too far out of their league. Worse, they do not intend to EVER take blame for their decisions. Not very mature of them at all.

    • mike says:

      I see you still got that diarrhea of the brain thing, saying nothing concrete just same old bias, closed minded, which means nothing in the real world
      LOL!!!

      • Eleanore Whitaker says:

        With a mouth like yours forever spewing forth all manner of human excrement, I imagine you would be the most knowledgeable about diarrhea. You really hate women don’t you fat boy? Is your bald spot showing a little more these days you middle aged spiteful hater boy?

        • mike says:

          LMAO!!! Same old Eleanore and her sexist remarks.
          No, the diarrhea is all yours, which fits you well.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            You must, must, must be a hyena. With all of your posts, you provide nothing of substance to support your wrongheaded ideology. So..let me guess…You are a guy who can’t get a woman if you begged on hands and knees…which is why you hate ANY woman who is smart enough to know you’re a middle aged guy who needs his hand to get his jollies or else your brain doesn’t function. Try again hot shot. You are down for the count.

          • mike says:

            ROFLMAO!!!
            Your got it, your posts are nothing more than a bunch of words that have no meaning or relevance.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            “I see you still got that diarrhea of the brain thing, saying nothing concrete just same old bias, closed minded nothingness, which contributes zilch to the real world
            LOL!!!”

            “What is pertinent!!! DUH!!! Not the mental midget crap Old Eleanore likes to spew.”

            “LMAO!!! Same old Eleanore and her sexist remarks.
            No, the diarrhea is all yours, which fits you well.”

            “LMAO!!! Same old Eleanore and her sexist remarks.
            No, the diarrhea is all yours, which fits you well.”

            “Your got it, your posts are nothing more than a bunch of words that have no meaning or relevance.”

            These are your words mental case. Laugh and laugh and laugh..Now…Tell me where in the hell one word of your BS addresses the topic? You have NOT in a single WORD stayed on topic, provided a single fact nor can you since a dipshit like you can’t wipe your own butt..I guess you laugh when McMommy wipes for you too? Or does she have to change lil Mikeeeee’s diaper?

            Read your posts …mental cases like you belong in mental wards with your arms bound and gags on your mouths.

          • mike says:

            Another example of stupid and irrelevant post.
            Loving the laugh, thanks

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            They were YOUR posts. I just trapped you into admitting your own posts are stupid and irrelevant. Maybe, you need to stop sitting at a computer all day and do something worthwhile with your life? Do you have a toilet under your butt so you don’t have to move away from the keyboard? Do you eat where you defecate? By now the odor must be enough to make the neighborhood you live in puke.

            You don’t wash, brush your teeth or spend any time on personal hygiene, do you? I agree…you are stupid, irrelevant, ignorant, assinine, fat, slimy, reeking of raunch and a total asshat.

          • mike says:

            No, you trapped nothing but your own insipid thoughts in that vacuous so called brain.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Nice try but …those were YOUR posts. Your thoughts are so rampantly scattered. It’s a wonder you get out of the toilet in the morning to feed your fat face. Oh..wait..I forgot right winger hater boys have mouths bigger than cows’ butts.

            Now…your response to the question in this thread is?

            Or do you plan to just be the childish little boy in a man’s body for the rest of your pathetic life.

          • mike says:

            Thanks for the thoughts!!! LMAO!!!!

            Far from a pathetic life!! Have and am having a great life.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Unless you are an SEO copywriter (I am ..over 4100 online articles to date) or a freelance writer, your life is sitting all day, every day in front of a computer looking for prey you can pounce on with NO facts, NO truth and NO verfications of what you post. I’d say that is about as pathetic a life as it gets. A remote island wouldn’t be as devoid of human interaction as your life.

          • mike says:

            90% of that 41k are just plain stupid, ignorant diatribes on any male that in your opinion, and only your opinion, that doesn’t agree with you. Nothing to brag about!!
            A perfect example of your ignorance is a few months ago you said “all women will vote for Hillary’ as if they are a monolithic group. How asinine!!!
            Keep that spittle going against men!!!

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            This proves was a hateful little turd you. I work for a company online that provides the clients. They are electricians, plumbers, educators, bankers and people you can’t even communicate rationally with. So much for what you know.

            All women who are not Daisy Mae WILL vote for Hillary. Men like you think you can just sit back and turn women into handmaidens of you phony lords. Try again. We pay taxes equal to yours but your male dominated BS keeps women’s salaries lower than your own. You can’t seriously think that with a male dominated presidency for over 235+ years, you’ll put another bully boy in the White House?

            I don’t hate men…just men like you who think you can lord it over women when you have NOTHING to valid your own existences. Try again hot. I’m also a published author of 2 novels you can find in Barnes & Noble. I also have over 3,000 regular readers of my short story blog.

            Now I think of it, I can use you as the model for a new short story on how a man is a dipshit who hides his gross male insecurity behind a wall of male BS.

          • mike says:

            I’ll tell you what, I will concede, and only concede if what you say is true of the 41k articles. All you have to do is produce the articles or where I can see and read some of them. If not, forgetaboutit!!!!
            But yet when I google your name-nothing. But give me the name of one of your novels, if not, I will know you are in one of your delusional states.

            As to NM, I will not concede an inch the comments said by you.

            Until them then the laughter continues.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            You only prove what a truly stupid moron you are. Go to the online content site, http://www.textbroker.com. You can find my writer’s profile there…and …the number of articles I wrote for this company.

            You can’t concede a turd without Mommy’s help. Google the novels, “Barrow House” and “The House at the End of Langdon Road,” by Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker. Buy one and read it dirtbag. Matter of fact, if you can open your assface eyes wide enough, you’ll see my photo on the back covers of both of these books. Dirtbags like you need to be disposed of in landfills.

            All you are doing is making women vote against ALL men. You are the rottenest of rotten apples in the barrel. You are hideously ignorant, live in total isolation in a mental ward and you prove that with every single post.

          • mike says:

            No, I’m not making women vote against all men because most women have a better brain than yours and can see and hear, making decision making much easier and better. Your idea women are a monolithic group is pure baloney.
            For you to vote the way you claim just shows how pathetic and misandrous you have become.

            Me buy your book, Really!!!
            As to the rest of your post, more delusion, more pathetic ramblings, and yes, more diarrhea of the brain, which is nothing new in your case.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            The problem with a lame brain like you is that you think you, as a man automatically know women better than women know women. When I read your posts, I see the macho male ego. Women are a monolithic group. We are forced to be by male bulls like you.

            The only women who do waht Big Daddy tells them are women who are forced into a form of marital or sexual slavery by their own inability to be financially independent.

            You found out that you are wrong about my books didn’t you? Yet, the little turd coward you are, you don’t dare admit that.

            Well…how does it feel to have a few burrs up your butt for being wrong. Guess you eat feces for breakfast and that makes you hate women. Not to worry, a male eunoch like you is only doing what eunochs have had to do for centuries…wish you could be a woman.

          • mike says:

            LMAO again at your stupid and ridiculous post.
            As I have said before, you are nothing but a brain dead feminist Misandrist.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Once again, you show your inability to post anything of true value. Your posts seek to degrade and demean. I know why. Men who do this hide behind huge walls of massive neurotic insecurity. So when a woman tells you the truth, you do what all childish men do…you call think you can call a woman smarter than you stupid and somehow the whole world agrees?

            I submit that you are pathetic loner who hides behind a computer keyboard to take out your sexual and masculine inadequacies. Just reading your posts proves what most of us know about you. You are a eunoch with a lot of self-loathing. Admit it. You have yet to post an intelligent post on a topic of any thread. All you do is bitch, complain, rail against anyone who disagrees with you and then when your tantrums are ignored, you look for prey. Picked the one woman this time snot nosed bully boy. I’d could kick your butt with my eyes blindfolded and not miss a beat. The reality is YOU are not worth my or anyone’s time. Keep up your tirades…your eyes have not started to roll in your fat head.

          • mike says:

            “My post degrade and demean”, you best go look in a mirror for who really tries to degrades and demean.
            You are the least tolerant and quickest to go personal if you disagree with ones post.
            So save me your outrage.

            ROFLMAO AT YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH.OMG you are hysterical.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            You have 2 very serious psychological problems that need professional help:
            A. Your maniacal insistence that YOU and ONLY you are right.
            B. A mind so narrow it disallows any new ideas, progress or advancement.

            Keep laughing Joy Boy…You fool no one. You need professional mental help.

            I am intolerant of men like you who insist you are right. NO. Your are WRONG. Wrong is a word you can’t mentally process because your Daddy kept you on such a tight leash as a child and had expectations you were too inadequate then and still are to achieve. So, you grew into an adult with the mind of a 6 year old who pulls tantrums to get his way. Sorry..doesn’t work with me.

          • mike says:

            Oh I will keep laughing. as usual you have said nothing, know nothing, and failed at Psychology 101.
            The beginning of your post is a self-diagnosis, congratulation. Now when do you start your therapy??
            My diagnosis of you is an easy one, you have a Superiority Complex. Now that won’t cost you a dime.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Most male hyenas who are sexually inadequate DO spend all their time laughing. Many men are committed to mental institutions for just that manic/obsessive compulsion.

            First of all, asshat dipshit, one of my best guy friends has been a clinical psychologist for several decades. He thinks yours posts “emerge from an unstable sociopathic narcissistic mind.”

            I am superior to you for one reason. I can bring a child into the world and YOU can’t. You men with such narrow beak brains are bunch of wusses. You prove that every time you open your fat yaps. But..after all…that IS all men like you are good for since your hatred of women has reduced you to an inadequate enunoch. Keep laughing…that’s all you have going for yourself…not much of a claim to fame, is it?

          • mike says:

            You really are a pathetic and delusional person.
            You are one of the few people that I would say has S$$T for brains.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Wow….3 for 3 in redundant, meaningless posts. You are a dipshit and you know it. That’s why you can’t urinate without help. Try to stay on topic lazy butt. Sitting on the computer night and day? By now your assend must have callouses. What happened? Where’s all that laughter? Awwww…..little hater boy Mikeeeeee isn’t laughing…how will the world manage now?

          • mike says:

            Keep trying Old Girl. To bad your month destroys such an attractive face FERANNTI.
            Still LMAO!!!

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            For a guy whose balls have turned you into a eunoch, I wonder why you bother to even respond..oh ..sorry I forgot…You are a maniac who has to control every communication. Ferranti is my Dad’s Italian last name…and my former maiden name. And looks don’t mean a woman must be stupid. Grow up.

          • mike says:

            I never said looks had anything to do stupidity, but a foul mouthlike yours sure signifies just how Ignorant and stupid one can be.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            I’m rather proud of my foul mouth. Growing up in an all male household taught me several very valuable lessons which I deign to use on male morons like you. I never make idle threats. I call a bully’s bluff with ferocity and I never stand down to any man. You can thank 5 brothers and half brothers, 11 nephews, 2 sons, 1 ex and 16 male engineers and chemists for thinking like a man and being as feminine as I damn well please. Now..do you want to continue your silly big baby tirade and make a fool of yourself? Or will you shut up and walk off, tail between your legs, worse for the wear but a sadder and wiser you for the experience?

          • mike says:

            Still smiling another post from you with nothing of value.
            Feminine? Really!!!
            You show nothing but intolerance for any person that doesn’t think like you. That Superiority Complex raises its ugly head and you go into one of your tantrums.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Non-stop incessant laughter is usually a sign of mental instability. You are the intolerant fool. You begin your posts by deriding anyone who dared to disagree with you. Not intolerance? By whose measure? Yours.

            I know who I am and what I am capable of and I allow NO MAN to EVER tell me what to do. As stated, I may have the mind of men thanks to living my entire lifetime in a male dominated world. But, I also know the hidden treasures women have that men can’t dream about.

          • mike says:

            I continue to laugh at your stupid responses or more importantly your lack of response. Your intolerance, has been and always will be, with anyone that doesn’t agree with your flawed opinions or statements.
            Perfect examples: Yesterday when I stated State Department gave $350,000 to onevoice, pro-Palestine 2-state nonprofit, who then set up Victory2015(V15)in Israel to defeat Bibi, you made the statement that only congress could do that. I gave you documentation showing it was done by State Department, and that they did not deny the fact that monies were give to Onevoice. Your response SILENCE.
            Also yesterday you made another uniformed statement, the 8 years of Bush caused the financial crisis, I them posted to you NY Times article showing that it was not all Bush’s fault but a combination of Clinton, Bush, Democrats and Republicans, Federal Reserve, lack of regulations, etc., and again SILENCE ON YOUR PART.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/business/worldbusiness/20iht-prexy.4.16321064.html?pagewanted=all

            You are not only uninformed, in denial, but you are intellectually dishonest.
            You can take your insipid remarks and shove them “you know where.”

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Article I, Sec. 6 of the US Constitution proves you wrong. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments passed on other bills.

            The state department is not part of the legislative branch dumbass. Again…you are wrong.

            If any revenue for any reason was in the hands of the State Dept., your GOP House Majority gave it to them.

          • mike says:

            OMG!!! You really are pathetic. I said the monies to onevoice came from the State Department, which they have affirmed.
            Those monies came out of the State Departments budget, and has nothing to do with the House at this point. How they budget their money is the State Departments decision not the House. Get it straight, they admitted they gave the money to onevoice.
            Here is your post.
            Wrong…the only dispersements of American taxpayer money always comes
            from the House of Representatives…Not the State Dept. You are a moron.
            Read your Constitution. The job of the House is to disperse tax
            funding. And we all know how the power drunk GOP House majority spends
            our tax dollars don’t we? $14 Billion last year on Big Oil. Another 65%
            on defense which goes to the No. 1 red military industrialist state of
            Virginia. Try again hot shot.

            Did you catch what you said, “Not the State Dept.” Bull roar!!! The monies came from the State Department, what part of them admitting giving the money don’t you get”?
            Hey Ferranti, look in the mirror for the real moron.

      • Paul Bass says:

        And Mike, what are you saying that contributes to the real world?

        Yea, right, Fox “News” lies, congrats, you prove your own point.

      • Sand_Cat says:

        I think the facts speak for themselves, even without “diarrhea of the brain,” but you just don’t want to hear them. Where are your concrete facts?

        • mike says:

          She gave no facts just her ranting about republican males. All opinions that show her delusional thinking.
          Look at her words to describe male republicans, immature, control drunks, control freaks, etc.. And you expect me to give facts?? Sorry, but you are totally wrong.

          • Sand_Cat says:

            To be fair, she doesn’t limit her attacks to Republican males; I’ve gotten a tongue lashing – figuratively speaking – for a post respectfully suggesting she was a bit too optimistic about Democratic – OK, Hillary’s – chances in 2016.

          • mike says:

            No, her flowery rhetoric is 99.9% aimed at Republicans. If she doesn’t agree(which she never does) she shows no tolerance and the worthless words spew out.
            She and the other liberal women are voting for Hillary just because she is a women. Hillary has not one accomplishment, from the senate, State Department. She was an enabler to Bill for all his affairs, etc.. Plus, she is a lousy campaigner.
            Old Eleanore believes women are monolithic group, which is pure baloney.
            Do yourself a favor and go watch the press conference and just watch her eyes. She never looks at the press, they are always looking up or away from the press like she searching for words, which to me is staying she isn’t quite telling the truth.

          • dpaano says:

            Do you HONESTLY think that women are so stupid that they would vote for someone just because she’s a woman!!! That’s a little rude, don’t you think? We DO have brains and can make decisions based on each individual’s potential….not just because they are a woman. Do you vote for Republicans just because they’re Republicans, or do you, like many of us, research each candidate and vote for the one that is offering the best future for our country?

          • mike says:

            Stupid, No!! But do I believe there is a sigment of women that will vote because of her gender, Absolutely!! Hillary believes it, before a woman’s group a few weeks back she said: “Isn’t time for a women president”? Eleanore sure believes it and has so stated. I have reminded her several times that the women’s vote is not monolithic.

          • dpaano says:

            Hey, if the shoe fits (and it seems to in most cases)…….

          • mike says:

            Again, your posts are as worthless as Eleanore’s!

      • ralphkr says:

        Yeah, mike, and I see that reading the truth from Eleanore really hurts you.

      • Insinnergy says:

        I see a small minded troll, with few smarts and less ideas.
        Begone.

    • cthetruth says:

      Eleanor I gree with everything you stated.

  5. stcroixcarp says:

    Christie is one fat weasel.

  6. atc333 says:

    Kiss a presidential run goodby.

    • Sand_Cat says:

      I wish I could believe you’re right.
      But would any of the other scum likely to run as Republicans significantly better?

  7. Sand_Cat says:

    Because he and almost all “conservatives” apparently think that corporate malfeasance of any kind drives the economy and jobs, and that any attempt to stop them from killing their employees or the rest of us when the price is right is just job-killing regulation.

  8. Daniel Jones says:

    The answer, of course, is all of the above.
    ~~
    In about a week, he will express regrets. The only regret being, of course, that he’s been caught.. but that part won’t be voiced.
    ~~
    Some people say that government must be run like a business. The horror is that many already are–and this is the result.

  9. Insinnergy says:

    Wow. How do US politicians get away with such rank corruption?
    He’s been so obvious that it looks like he’s basically daring people to care.
    Why would anyone at all vote for such a lowlife?

  10. howa4x says:

    Christie has a personality disorder where he thinks the state is there for him and he has the power to do anything that makes him look good. He is a narcissist and should be in counseling instead of the Governor’s mansion

  11. cthetruth says:

    Crooked all the way? That narcissist doesn’t give a damn about the people of New Jersey or the country. He is another one that cannot be trusted. Can’t we find someone who doesn’t have all these skeletons in their closet. What a sorry state of affairs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.