Yet Another Legal Transgression For Gov. Chris Christie?

Looks like Gov. Christie may have made a major ethical and legal boo-boo:

A PandoDaily investigation has discovered evidence that Gov. Chris Christie’s pending deal to award a $300 million pension management contract to a controversial hedge fund is in violation of state anti-corruption laws.

New Jersey state pay-to-play statutes prohibit state contractors from directly or indirectly financially supporting the election campaigns of state officials. Those statutes also explicitly prohibit the use of outside groups or family members to circumvent that ban.

Additionally, separate Department of Treasury rules appear to prohibit public pension contracts from being awarded to investment firms whose employees have made significant financial contributions to political entities organized to operate in New Jersey state elections. Those laws also bar investment firms doing business with the state from making contributions “for the purpose of influencing any election for State office.”

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I wrote earlier today that it wouldn’t take long for the Chelsea Truthers to surface and so as it was written, so it shall be. Conservative talker Steve Malzberg opined that Chelsea’s pregnancy was timed to help Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign:

Pointing to an interview Chelsea gave to Glamour Magazine last year in which she said that she and her husband had “decided we were going to make 2014 the Year of the Baby, and please, call my mother and tell her that. She asks us about it every single day,” Malzberg concluded that Bill and Hillary were pressuring Chelsea to get pregnant at a time that would benefit her campaign.

"Pardon the skeptic in me," Malzberg said, “but what great timing! I mean, purely accidental, purely an act of nature, purely just left up to God. And God answered Hillary Clinton’s prayers and she going to have the prop of being a new grandma while she runs for president. It just warms the heart. It brings a tear to my eye. It really does. Wow!”

In Malzberg’s world, Chelsea was not only part of the conspiracy, but she was forced by Bill and Hillary to get pregnant NOW!

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Michaels Crafts: Almost 3M Customers Hit By Data Breach

Here goes another one:

Michaels, the craft store chain that confirmed a data breach earlier this year, said nearly 3 million customers’ information had been stolen from its point-of-sale system, including from several Washington-area stores.

The company’s statement late Thursday said two security firms had found that criminals broke into Michaels’s system using “highly sophisticated malware that had not been encountered previously by either of the security firms.”

The malware has since been removed, the company said.

Michaels posted a list of all affected stores on its Web site. The list includes 23 stores in Maryland and eight stores in Northern Virginia. The retailer does not have any locations in the District. A total of 2.6 million cards — or 7 percent of cards used at Michaels stores during the breach period — were affected. An additional 400,000 cards at its subsidiary Aaron Brothers were affected, the retailer said.

Large Area Of Mexico Hit By 7.2 Earthquake


MEXICO CITY — A powerful earthquake shook a wide area of Mexico on Friday, terrifying residents and sending many fleeing into the streets.

There were no initial reports of injuries and only minor damage in the capital, though information from elsewhere in central Mexico was still coming in.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake at about 9:30 a.m. local time had a preliminary magnitude of 7.2, which would make it one of the stronger temblors registered in Mexico City in several years.

The quake was 14 miles deep and felt in nine of Mexico’s 31 states, according to the USGS, with the epicenter located in the coastal state of Guerrero about 200 miles southwest of the capital.

Guerrero, between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, is a heavily seismic region and is often slow to give accounts of damage because of the remoteness of some communities.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancerra said several walls had fallen down in the Zona Rosa section of the capital but that no injuries had been reported.

"The important part is that we have no reports of injured people," he told journalists. "We did see that many buildings were evacuated of their people, and we are continuing to survey the capital."

Well, okay, Johnny hasn’t risen from the dead to run for Senate in South Dakota. But the Democratic candidate in the race, Rick Weiland (who, full disclosure, is a friend for whose campaign I do some consulting), is sounding a little like the Man in Black in this remarkable new video his campaign just put out

The reason I said this is a remarkable video is that it so goes against a traditional DC consultant-driven campaign strategy. Having a video of a candidate singing a folksy country song is the opposite of what you expect a Senate candidate to do these days. In this poll-driven, focus-group-parsed, 30-second-TV-ad political culture we live in, for a candidate to do a video like this shows just how remarkable a candidate — and a person — Rick Weiland is. He is a genuine grassroots guy, willing to take chances and have fun and be unconventional, and we sure do need more of that in the politics of 2014.

The video riffs off the fact that Rick has already visited every single town in South Dakota, and is starting to go back to a lot of them for at least one more go-around. By sending a loud populist message of hard work and of not being in anyone’s pocket, he makes a strong play for the rural vote. It is Prairie Populism 101, the same kind of grassroots prairie populism that won elections for Paul Wellstone, Tom Harkin, Brian Schweitzer, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitcamp, and about 2/3 of the South Dakota Senate races of the past 50 years.

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