Bush Scandals List

299. US Attorney Chris Christie steering contracts

Chris Christie the US Attorney for New Jersey and former Bush Pioneer (see item 112) steered no bid contracts to monitor legal settlements to former Bush and state Republican officials. In the business friendly Bush Administration settlements have been favored over indicting corporations involved in wrongdoing. Christie gave one 18 month contract to former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft’s consulting firm worth between $28 and $52 million. The company concerned was Zimmer Holdings which had been accused of paying kickbacks to doctors using its knee and hip implants. Information on the contract came out in October 2007 in filings of Zimmer Holdings to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Others given such contracts were David Kelley, a respected prosecutor, Democrat, and former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) under Bush, Debra Wong Yang (see item 169) former US Attorney for Central California (Los Angeles) also under Bush, and David Samson, former New Jersey Republican Attorney General. Democratic politicians raised the issue of favoritism and Christie referred the matter to the DOJ where an internal inquiry through the Criminal Division was begun. New guidelines but no charges are expected.

As of April 2008, the DOJ has entered into some 50 deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) with major corporations such as Monsanto, American Express, Merrill Lynch, the Bank of New York, AmSouth Bank, and KPMG. The criticism of these agreements is that they do not deter criminal activity by corporations but give them a less expensive way of dealing with its consequences.

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