U.S. Fine With Christie Ad To Promote Post-Sandy NJ

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -

The federal government says New Jersey did not run afoul of any regulations when Gov. Chris Christie starred in ads that promoted the shore in the summer after Superstorm Sandy.

But an audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general finds the state did make mistakes in procuring the marketing contract worth up to $25 million.

A report made public Wednesday says the state failed to make independent cost estimates, and that the marketing firm that won the contract did not provide timesheets in the required form.

The state’s contract with MWW Group created ripples in New Jersey, partly because competitors said the firm was proposing a higher cost than other bidders and because it wanted its “Stronger than the Storm” ads to feature Christie and his family as he ran for re-election.

The probe found that the winning bid made no mention of using the governor in advertisements, though a losing bidder did plan to have him in a social media campaign.