Christie doesn’t have to disclose gifts from friends, says AG
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey's attorney general says Republican Gov. Chris Christie is not required to disclose gifts -- such as sports tickets and free travel -- that he receives from friends on his state ethics forms.
Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in an opinion dated May 14 and posted recently on the attorney general's office website that Christie must only disclose gifts that qualify as income in his annual financial disclosure statements.
Hoffman, a Christie appointee, said only "gifts received in return for services rendered, such as a speaking engagement" would have to be disclosed.
The opinion came in response to a request from the New Jersey State Ethics Commission for guidance outlining the scope and definition of gifts that must be disclosed under an executive order signed by Christie in 2010.
The timing of when the request was made is not clear. But Christie has come under scrutiny for receiving gifts, including free tickets to Dallas Cowboys games, after footage of him embracing team owner Jerry Jones in the owner's box aired on television.
Christie's office has long insisted that he is not required to report the gifts -- and his newly-filed financial disclosure statement for 2014 does not include any mention of gifts.
The statement shows the governor and his wife, Mary Pat, reported at least $600,000 in income in 2014. Christie's wife recently left her high-paying Wall Street job as the governor prepares for a potential run for president.
"The Governor's financial disclosure statement meets all disclosure requirements by the State Ethics Commission under Executive Order 24," Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement.
The State Ethics Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment, saying the opinion speaks for itself.
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