We knew he was a big sports fan, but not like this. Turns out Chris Christie reportedly spent more than $82,000 via his expense account on concessions at NFL games throughout his time as New Jersey governor.
Additionally, more than 80 percent of Christie’s $360,000 overall allowance across five years — some $300,000 — went to food and alcohol purchases.
This news today comes from a New Jersey Watchdog report, which analyzed the Governor's financial reports to find that Christie racked up some $82,594 across 58 debit card charges to Delaware North Sportservice, which runs concessions at MetLife Stadium in North Jersey — home to the New York Giants and Jets.
Christie’s most notable spending spree occurred during the 2010 and 2011 NFL football seasons at MetLife Stadium, where the New York’s Giants and Jets play their home games. New Jersey’s governor traditionally enjoys free use of luxury boxes for games and other events at the government-owned venue, but food and beverages cost extra.
However, Christie apparently hasn’t used his taxpayer-funded expense account at MetLife since 2012, when the New Jersey Republican State Committee paid back the state Treasury:
To avoid a potential scandal that could embarrass their rising political star, the New Jersey Republican State Committee reimbursed the Treasury in March 2012 for Christie’s purchases from “DNS Sports.” Since then, the governor has refrained from using his expense account at MetLife and other sports venues.
Additionally, Christie reportedly spent $76,373 at Wegmans in 53 shopping runs, which a spokesman said were all for “official” purposes having to do with “business.” Separate from that, Christie dropped some $4,338 on "candy, cookies, and confections."
For what reasons, though, we may never know:
The records released by the governor’s office did not include receipts or descriptions of what was purchased.
This past January, critics went after Christie over his much-publicized all-expenses paid trip to watch the Dallas Cowboys alongside team owner Jerry Jones. Jones — not the taxpayers of New Jersey, in this case — reportedly paid for that trip.
UPDATE: Gov. Christie's office has reached out with the following statement from spokesman Kevin Roberts:
“Whenever the Governor hosts an event in his official capacity, the discretionary account is available to pay for those costs associated with official reception and hosting and related incidental expenses. The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket, or at a sporting venue. Nonetheless in early 2012, the Governor made the decision that costs associated with hosting at the sporting venues were better paid with non-state funds, and those expenses incurred during 2010 and 2011 were reimbursed by the NJGOP. This week, to ensure this remains the case in full, the NJGOP reimbursed the Treasury for an additional $3,367.22 to deal with an accounting anomaly.”