Christie seeks to change laws to allow book deal while still in office
Lawmakers in New Jersey have introduced a measure that would raise salaries for legislative staffers, judges and Gov. Chris Christie's appointees, while also letting the governor profit from a book.
The bipartisan measure was introduced Monday night after Democratic lawmakers reportedly struck a deal with the governor to vote on a bill to allow him to sign a book deal chronicling his last year in office.
The bill was posted online but then removed. If passed, it would allow the governor to sell a book after checking to make sure it doesn't violate the state's conflicts of interest law.
The legislation would also raise the allowance for lawmakers' staffers by $30,000 to $140,000. It would allow Gov. Christie to raise his department heads' salaries from $141,000 to as much as $175,000.
Judges would get 3 percent raises in 2017 and 2018, and the state's county prosecutors would also get pay increases.
"If [the book] is real, it would be a real slap in the face to New Jerseyans," says Monmouth University professor Patrick Murray.
Murray says that he questions who would read the book given the governor's low approval rating.
"Even though he's not taking taxpayer money, he's working on taxpayer time to do something outside of his normal job, and using his gubernatorial experience to sell that," Murray says.
Murray says Gov. Christie could write a book as a hobby and he could release a book the day after he leaves office. He just can't profit off a book while he's still fulfilling his term, under current law.
A spokesperson for Gov. Christie's office did not return calls for comment.
Lawmakers are set to vote on the final bills of the year Monday.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.