Feds: Audit, not investigation of Christie Sandy funds

Posted: January 17, 2014

The inspector general of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development emphasized this week that his office is conducting an audit - not an investigation - of New Jersey's use of Sandy relief funds.

The clarification came on Tuesday, a day after U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D., N.J.) announced the inspector general was complying with his request to review the matter.

The department earmarked $25 million of the $20 billion in New Jersey Sandy aid approved by Congress and the Obama administration for a tourism marketing campaign.

Pallone has said he worries that Gov. Christie, a Republican, awarded a contract to an advertising firm that charged more and planned to star his family in the ads while he was running for reelection.

The firm, MWW, says it only decided to feature Christie in the ads after it won the bid. MWW also says that after accounting for all costs, its bid came in lower than any other firm's.

On Monday, Christie's office welcomed the review, saying: "We're confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history."

aseidman@phillynews.com

856-779-3846

@AndrewSeidman

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