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U.S. Attys Rip Off Taxpayers With Expensive Hotel Rooms

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

UPDATE: The LA Times reports that another former U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien of Los Angeles wrote a check Tuesday reimbursing the government for more than $900 in overages for hotels.  Former U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh was also identified in the media as one of the five  violators cited in the Inspector General report.

WASHINGTON — The words “offensive” and “disgusting” and “criminal” best describe the findings of a Justice Department Inspector General report this week which found that five U.S. Attorneys stuck taxpayers with hefty hotel bills.

In other words, they went far beyond the allotted allowance for rooms.

And the worst offender, the report said, was the New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie — who is now the state’s governor — who has crusaded against corruption. This sounds rather corrupt to me.

He was U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008.

“After reviewing the travel documents and interviewing the U.S. Attorney’s secretary, we found insufficient justification for exceeding the government rate with respect to 14 of the 15 trips,” the report said of Christie.

“These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

Guess what. Go to Orbitz right now. Punch in hotels for  Boston and Washington.

The St. Gregory Luxury Hotel at 20th and M Streets NW in D.C. — a pretty darn nice neighborhood and a four-star hotel — is going this week for $211 a night. And guess what, it’s right near a Four Seasons Hotel where Christie spent $475 a night. And the five-star Langham hotel in Boston is going for $257 a night — far less than the $449 a night he spent at the Nine Zero Hotel.

Christie’s press secretary did not return a call when I called for comment. Not surprising.  There’s no justification for ripping off the taxpayers.

What Christie and the other four U.S. Attorneys need to do is take out a check book and reimburse the taxpayers. They also need to remember, while they’re presidential appointees, they are not the PRESIDENT. They can stay at an Embassy Suites or a Hilton.

It’s all about doing the right thing.


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