Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie equates Gov. Jon Corzine to “Wall Street” villain Gordon Gecko in a web ad released today.
In the ad, Christie picks up state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio’s (R-Montville) crusade against the State Investment Council for putting pension funds in Lehman Brothers months before its collapse, costing the fund about $118 million. Three members of the council – W. Montgomery Cerf, Jose Claxton and Erika Irish Brown – were once employed by Lehman.
The ad, which is bookended by Gecko’s (Michael Douglas) “greed is good” speech, contrasts Corzine’s own ads that tout his foresight in seeing the global economic crisis coming to the Lehman investment. It is another facet of the Christie campaign’s strategy to paint Corzine as an out of touch Wall Street tycoon, which was intensified after Christie faced two weeks of bad pres regarding a $46,000 loan he gave to a former subordinate in the U.S. Attorney’s office and the revelation that he had conversations with Bush advisor Karl Rove about running for governor while still U.S. Attorney.
In March, the state sued Lehman's former top executives and directors, accusing them of misrepresenting the firm's financial status when the state invested in them.
"With this suit, we intend to hold Lehman executives and directors accountable for the fraud and misrepresentation that caused more than $100 million in losses to New Jersey's pension funds," Corzine said at the time.
The ad also features footage of President Obama on the campaign trail last autumn calling the financial crisis a “direct result of the greed and irresponsibility that has dominated Washington and Wall Street for years now.”
“If Jon Corzine saw this coming… Why didn’t he stop it?” reads the ad's text.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin called the ad hypocritical.
"Democrats aren't going to be lectured on ethics and business practices by a Bush US Attorney who used his position to award tens of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to hacks and political cronies like John Ashcroft. And it appears when Christie wasn’t busy funneling money to his friends he was violating the Hatch Act and evading taxes," he said. “As Governor, Jon Corzine has faced the economic storm head on, making the tough choices needed to turn our economy around – including implementing a first in the nation economic stimulus program."