How the Media Made a Routine HUD Audit into a ‘Federal Investigation’ of Christie

by Andrew Johnson

This week, media outlets have reported that Chris Christie, already embroiled in one scandal and its related investigation, was now the subject of another investigation, regarding New Jersey tourism ads to which Hurricane Sandy relief funds were allocated. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development pushed back against the idea that it launched an investigation into Christie for any sort of violation, clarifying it was part of standard procedure.

As the Daily Caller’s Brendan Bordelon notes, CNN kicked off Monday with a report that HUD would conduct a “federal investigation” into the ads over suspicion that the Christie administration had used the funds improperly, spending extra to promote the governor. Citing New Jersey Democratic congressman Frank Pallone as their source, the network broadcast the story throughout the day.

The next day, HUD released a statement saying it was looking into the funds as part of standard procedure, not an investigation. The department has been conducting an audit — “something that this office does routinely” for federal funding, they said — of the funds since September, and the work has nothing to do with newly discovered evidence about potential misuse, the statement said.

The hysterical coverage of HUD’s routine audit could be seen as just another element of what some have argued is the overblown coverage of the scandal over e-mails showed members of Christie’s staff deciding to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Christie said he was unaware of the decision, and no evidence has found the New Jersey governor was involved.

The Corner

The one and only.