From his refusal to cooperate in Bridgegate investigations to concealing his many out-of-state travel expenses, Chris Christie has become notorious for his aversion to transparency. That’s why American Bridge continues to do everything in our power to illuminate his highly shrouded tenure as governor.
Through a records request, we were able to obtained a 56-page file of every official gift Governer Christie has received since taking office, which NJ.com has made available in a searchable database. There was nothing in there regarding Cowboys tickets, but he did receive a Christmas ornament from Scott Walker in 2013 to which has office noted “no reply sent from us,” the only such note made in the 56-page list.
Check out the NJ.com article below, and then feel free to search through Christie’s gifts for other interesting tidbits.
See what gifts Christie received since becoming governor
It seems everybody wants to give Gov. Chris Christie a gift.
Since he took office five years ago, the governor has been the recipient of more than 1,100 gifts, according to records kept by his office. They include books and DVDs, T-shirts and paperweights, tie clips and even boxing gloves. And they come from far and wide: government officials, politicians, authors, friends, foes, as well as average folks from New Jersey and beyond, state records show.
It is a catalogue of things that are very nice (Tiffany vases) offer free advice (diet books) and have a small price (blankets, burlap bags). The list does not include gifts that came from the governor’s friends, such as the trips Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid for so Christie and his family could attend four Cowboys games — including a flight on a private jet for Christie, First Lady Mary Pat and their four children.
It does include things Christie received that, according to state ethics rules, allow the governor to accept gifts valued at $375 or less that are “tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy.” NJ Advance Media reviewed 56 pages of gifts released through a records request filed by the Democratic group American Bridge 21st Century.
Although Christie has been a high profile politician since taking office and is eyeing a run for president, such gifts aren’t unusual for whomever occupies the governor’s office in Trenton. Most governors accumulate a stockpile of souvenirs, said Carl Golden, a former press secretary for Republican Govs. Tom Kean and Christie Whitman.
He recalled how Kean’s administration kept the gifts neatly inside a room in the lower level of the Statehouse and that staffers were told they could go through the cache and take what they wanted at the end of his term.
“The stuff just piled up,” Golden said. “There was everything in there from a map of New Jersey made out of sea shells, to T-shirts from virtually every organization in New Jersey. There were shovels from groundbreakings and there were hardhats that folks wore to groundbreakings.”
The records show only a few of Christie’s gifts were discarded. Some were sent to Christie’s Newark Office, including Tiffany vases and glasses sent by Tiffany & Co., and a crystal hanging ornament depicting Christie’s law school alma mater, Seton Hall.
And even though Christie routinely criticizes President Obama, the governor has five black-framed photos of the two of them in his Newark office, records show.
Some believe the way to Christie’s heart is through his musical idol. The governor was given at least a dozen Bruce Springsteen-related items, including books, records (Springsteen Live from 1975-1985) and CDs (Bruce Springsteen Jazzfest and Jersey Boys).
And if Christie wants something to read on all those out-of-state flights he takes, he’s received about 600 books since being elected, including at least 16 Bibles and three Qur’ans — and, not surprisingly, lots of tomes on politics from a bipartisan group of gift givers.
Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader who was unexpectedly defeated in his Virginia district’s primary election last year, sent Christie “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” a book he co-wrote with U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy. Ryan was the 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee.
The head of the 2012 ticket, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gave Christie his book, “No Apology,” and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave him a book of the 40th GOP convention, where the governor delivered the keynote address.
Democratic donor and philanthropist Eli Broad, who donated $25,000 to the pro-Hillary Clinton super-political action committee Ready for Hillary, gave Christie one of his books. Broad is also a strong gun-control advocate.
Among the dozens of CDs, DVDs, photos, bags, mugs and clocks included some unusual stuff: An apron courtesy of Burlington County College, boxing gloves and circus tickets.
Christie has also received more than one dozen paperweights, including a “small bronze (one) with crucifix,” a white ceramic thumbs up and a “large ceramic” depicting Aspirin.
Some have sought to bulk up the governor’s wardrobe by sending him T-shirts, hats, scarfs, belts and jackets. The iconic fleece jacket Christie donned for the days following Hurricane Sandy spurred people to send him a dozen others, including a Cowboys fleece sent in 2013.
Christie has received tie tacks and at least 16 ties, including one with elephants, the symbol of the Republican Party, and another given to him by the Borough of Sayreville that promotes The Children First Foundation, an anti-abortion group that promotes adoptions over terminating pregnancies.
And Christie’s three-day trade mission to Mexico in September netted nearly 20 gifts, including a teapot, elephant and kneeling horse, all made of silver.
The governor’s office doesn’t hang on to all the gifts. Some are tossed in the trash, including a package of flavored water from a beverage company and a expired can of Greek grape leaves.
Others don’t get a response.
When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sent the governor a silver Christmas ornament in 2013, Christie’s office noted “no reply sent from us.”
It was the only notation of its kind in the 56 pages of gifts the governor received. Walker – who, like Christie, is a considering a presidential run – has taken public swipes at Christie, including one over his controversial embrace of Cowboys owner Jones.
The omission of the Christie’s all-expense paid trips to watch his favorite football team in action drew the ire of American Bridge.
“Notably absent from these records are thousands of dollars in private jet flights and free Cowboys’ tickets from Port Authority contractor Jerry Jones,” spokesman Ben Ray said. “What other gifts have the governor accepted behind closed doors?”
The governor’s office declined to respond to Ray’s statement. However, it cited the state Code of Conduct, which says the governor “may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.”