Shot/Chaser: Chris Christie Puts Politics Before Governing

Chris Christie may be governor of New Jersey, but governing New Jersey doesn’t always seem to be his priority. No, the scandal-tainted Governor seems more interested in running for president and attempting to play political kingmaker. Just ask him!

In North Carolina yesterday Christie made quite the admission, proclaiming that he spends the majority of his time campaigning for candidates around the country. Meanwhile, back home in the Garden State, he’s breaking records — and not the good kind. Even Fox News ripped Chris Christie’s pathetic economic record after New Jersey’s credit was downgraded yet again last week, the eighth time that’s happened since he took office.

Enjoy the juxtaposition of Christie’s priorities for yourself:

SHOT: Christie — “I spend most of my time, almost all of my time, campaigning for gubernatorial candidates.”

CHASER: Fox News — “The New Jersey Governor just got handed his EIGHTH credit downgrade. That is a record in the Garden State.” [...]

EXCLUSIVE Audio: AFP Summit Speakers “Appeal” To Women

Americans For Prosperity held its annual “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Dallas last month, where top tier Republican presidential hopefuls like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson continued to court their sugar daddies, the billionaire Koch brothers — and American Bridge was there to capture some exclusive audio.

The summit featured speeches from GOP big wigs as well as breakout sessions on a variety of topics, including how Republicans can appeal to women. And, well, on that issue, speakers at the conference had some…interesting takes.

First, Carly Fiorina, who has launched her own PAC to recruit women to the GOP, offered her brand of empowerment to women in attendance by mocking efforts to close the gender pay gap, eventually blaming the discrepancy on unions, or something. Check it out.

Then, at a panel entitled “Women CEOs and the Path to Success,” AFP board member Frayda Levin made [...]

American Bridge & Correct The Record Launch Joint Rapid Response Project Around Benghazi Select Committee Hearings

As first reported in Politico, American Bridge and Correct the Record today are launching a new joint rapid response project to prebut, fact check, and respond to the upcoming Benghazi Select Committee hearings. The new effort, modeled after a formal debate operation, will include a central online hub for research and rapid response – the Benghazi Research Center – accessible at BenghaziCommittee.com.

Get the Facts: Benghazi Research Center



The loss of life in Benghazi was a tragedy but the questions of what happened that night have already been asked and answered. President Obama & Secretary Clinton have taken responsibility, taken action to prevent it from happening again, and been transparent throughout this process. Republicans have no credibility on this issue and are wasting taxpayer dollars on these sham hearings to ask questions that have already been answered, all for political gain: both [...]

Thom Tillis to Campaign with Fellow Education Raider, Chris Christie

The Thom Tillis campaign is in freefall. For months and months, conventional wisdom had pegged North Carolina as one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities in the Senate. But disarray in Raleigh under the House Speaker’s leadership, a disastrous budget overhaul that gutted education spending to give massive cuts to the wealthy, and a sustained disrespect toward women have left Tillis in a decisive hole.

Four separate polls came out this week showing Hagan up by an average of over 5 points, leading even a GOP pollster to say, “the race has unmistakably shifted towards Sen. Hagan in recent days.” So Tillis is calling in some help to stop the bleeding, in the form of one-time GOP presidential frontrunner Chris Christie.

Well the two should have plenty to talk about. They can talk about budget problems. They can talk about ethics questions. But most importantly, they can talk about how each of [...]

New Video Shows Sen. Pat Roberts Taking Credit for Farm Bill He Voted Against

New tracking footage from American Bridge shows Pat Roberts discussing the importance of the Farm Bill with members of the produce industry at a United Fresh Conference last week. Roberts states plainly that “we passed the Farm Bill,” before getting into details about the specifics of implementation.

Only there’s  one problem: “we” didn’t pass the farm bill, per se. Pat Roberts in fact was one of only 32 senators who voted against the Farm Bill, which luckily for Kansas, passed easily without his help.

That’s just one of many self-interested decisions Roberts made while pandering to the right to desperately save himself from a strong primary challenge, selling out Kansans in the process. As Dave Weigel writes at Slate, Roberts is now up with a television ad taking credit for bringing the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility to Kansas — a project that he voted against funding just a [...]

Headline Speaks for Itself: “Rand Paul Vows to Repeal Every Prior Executive Order If Elected President”

Here’s what Rand Paul said to a crowd of Tea Party supporters in New Hampshire last night:

“I think the first executive order that I would issue would be to repeal all previous executive orders,” Paul replied to resounding cheers through the Manchester pub, named for the beer bearing the namesakes of American revolutionary Sam Adams.”

Don’t take our word for it, Paul’s comment was reported by Breitbart.com – not exactly a left-leaning news source. Said Paul in the Breitbart article: “Signing statements, altering legislation by the president, are wrong and unconstitutional and shouldn’t happen. Executive orders shouldn’t either.” [Breitbart.com, 9/11/14]

More than ten thousand executive orders have been issued over the course of the nation’s history to make progress on critical issues like civil rights, national security and more. Now that Paul has expressed his commitment to rescinding each and every one of these executive orders, we would like to hear more details from him on why he would like to reverse these landmark efforts, including:

  • The Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln, 1863: The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
  • Executive Order 9981, President Harry Truman, 1948: Ended racial discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Executive Order 10834, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959: Established specifications for the design of the current United States flag.
  • Executive Order 10925, President John F. Kennedy, 1961: Ensured equal employment opportunities in the federal government, barring discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
  • Executive Order 11063, President John F. Kennedy, 1962: Mandated an end to housing discrimination based on race.
  • Executive Order 11905, President Gerald Ford, 1976: Banned political assassinations.
  • Executive Order 11245, President Barack Obama, 2014: Prohibited workplace discrimination based on gender identity, in addition to sexual orientation in the federal government and within companies that contract with the federal government.

Lest you think this was merely a misspeak, we’re here to remind you that just last month, in an interview with a local Kentucky NPR stationSenator Paul vowed that he would use executive orders “only to undo executive orders. There’s thousands of them that can be undone.”

The Cold Hard Truth About Doug Ducey’s Cold Stone Legacy

The Wall Street Journal reported this week on the “10 worst franchise brands in terms of Small Business Administration loan defaults.” Despite touting its rampant success as a reason he would make a good governor, Republican Doug Ducey’s Cold Stone Creamery was found near the top of that list, with its franchisees “defaulting at more than double the rate for SBA borrowers who invested in” other chains, per the Journal’s analysis.

Like an ice cream cone in the summer heat, Cold Stone’s business plan, for which Ducey has claimed credit, created a sticky mess for many franchise owners. Numerous franchisees have been quoted saying Cold Stone’s business model was “defective” and pushed the cost of running a store so high that it was difficult for individuals owners to make a profit. Franchisees have called Ducey’s business practices “deceptive,” and said the company’s business model pushed personal bankruptcies, cost savings, and [...]

New Online Ad: Bruce Rauner: Adamantly Against What’s Right for Illinois

Today, American Bridge is releasing a new online ad highlighting billionaire Bruce Rauner’s attacks on minimum wage workers in Illinois.

Rauner has been dealing with serious image problems — the kind you can’t fix by throwing money at them. In fact, it’s throwing money around that bought him these image problems in the first place. Last week we learned that Rauner belongs to a wine club that had a cool $140,000 entry fee. Must be some good wine. Of course this is on top of his $100,000 extra parking spot, nine homes, etc. etc. Meanwhile, new audio surfaced of Bruce Rauner admitting that he favored lowering the minimum wage or even possibly eliminating it altogether.

That’s Bruce Rauner: telling Illinois workers they aren’t worth $8.25/hour while he sips his six-figure Cabernet.

Watch our new web ad:

New Web Ad: Scott Walker’s Ditch

American Bridge is releasing a new web ad today highlighting Scott Walker’s failed economic record.

The governor was once considered a frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and his reelect was supposed to be a walk through the park en route to bigger and better things. Nobody is looking past November now, with Walker locked in the political fight of his life, and desperately trying to create the narrative that he’s led a triumphant comeback in the Badger State.

But that story is undermined by reality. The truth is that Walker rammed through an extreme overhaul of the budget that slashed education funding, attacked public employees, and gave massive tax cuts to the wealthy, all under the promise of job creation and balancing budgets. Well Wisconsin is last in the midwest in job growth and facing a $2 billion budget shortfall.

Scott Walker claims he’s pulling Wisconsin out of a ditch. But [...]

Crooked Chiefs

The Republican Governors Association says “the future of the GOP rests in the hands of the Republican governors.” Given the Tea Party antics and extreme agenda of Republicans in Congress, that very well may be true. But if it is, Republicans have a serious problem on their hands because nearly half of all current Republican governors nationwide are facing corruption charges or other scandals. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the political rise and fall of former Virginia Governor

Bob McDonnell, newly convicted on eleven counts of corruption in a scandal with a wealthy donor and benefactor all of his own making.

Investigation cover ups. Illegal gifts. Cronyism. Pay to play schemes. Taxpayer dollars going to campaign purposes. Using their office to exact political revenge on their own constituents. The list of allegations goes on and on and on. From Georgia to Wisconsin to Kansas to New Jersey, the headlines are piling up. American Bridge has conducted extensive research on each of these Republican governors, diving deep into their records to bring these allegations to light. Our new collection of research on the Republican Party’s best hope for its future shows just how dim that future may really be. For example:

  • Under Rick Scott, the State of Florida provided contracts potentially worth billions of dollars to a company run by Scott’s former finance chair. Scott set aside $230 million in state money to benefit a “privately funded” rail line linked to former staffers. Additionally, Scott used his official office to promote his reelection campaign, spending taxpayer money on letters containing campaign talking points.
  • In Georgia, Nathan Deal’s office pressured the head of the state ethics commission to make complaints against the governor “go away.” The Governor’s attorney threatened her office and attacked her reputation. The state agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle lawsuits by former commission employees who claimed they were fired or forced from office over the Deal investigation.
  • Iowa’s Terry Branstad appointed donors to Iowa state boards and commissions that oversaw their business interests. In addition, Branstad tried to force out the Iowa Workers’ Compensation commissioner on behalf of a business group.
  • The FBI investigated possible pay to play deals regarding Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s privatization of Medicaid that awarded KanCare contracts to three private insurance companies who hired a lobbying firm with ties to the governor.
  • After giving taxpayer-funded jobs to his brother-in-law and daughter, Maine’s Paul LePage used taxpayer dollars to publish literature and palm cards about his accomplishments as governor.
  • Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s NERD Fund received secret corporate contributions; Snyder’s pick for Detroit emergency manager received payments from the NERD Fund for his condo and Cadillac, then proceeded to give no bid contracts to the NERD Fund’s corporate donors.
  • Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s underfunded mental health system shipped 1,500 mental health patients to California on Greyhound buses so they would become California’s responsibility. Sandoval did not fire any employees.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s top aide ordered lanes to be shut down on the George Washington Bridge, likely as political retribution against a local mayor. In addition, another mayor accused Christie’s administration of pressuring her to support a private development project in order to receive disaster relief funds for Hurricane Sandy damage. Christie also used Hurricane Sandy relief money to produce ads featuring himself, and is under investigation for allegedly using his office to kill a criminal investigation into a political ally.
  • A whistleblower suit filed by state Republicans alleged that New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez’s political appointees engaged in corruption and intimidation, along with ordering circumvention of state public records laws. Martinez appointees ordered whistleblowers fired after their intentions came to light.
  • Ohio’s John Kasich approved tax credits for Worthington Industries while receiving deferred compensation from the company – which had also contributed over $100,000 to Kasich. In addition, Kasich’s JobsOhio program gave millions in incentives to companies affiliated with members of its own board.
  • Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett received over $23,000 in gifts as governor, including a trip to South America, tickets to the US Open, dinners, concerts and sporting events. $18,000 of these gifts came from corporations doing business with the state.
  • Texas’s Rick Perry was indicted on two counts of felony Abuse of Official Capacity and Coercion of a Public Servant. In addition, Perry used public-private economic development funds to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own travel; these funds also provided lavish tax credits and incentives to businesses that supported Perry’s campaign for governor.
  • A John Doe investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s previous position as Milwaukee County Executive resulted in charges against six people – three were former Walker aides, one was an appointee, and another was a major campaign contributor. Walker employees were found to be engaging in campaign activities while working at taxpayer funded jobs and embezzling funds from a veterans charity. A second John Doe investigation focused on efforts by Walker’s recall campaign to direct spending by outside groups on the governor’s behalf – in violation of Wisconsin campaign finance disclosure laws.