Christie Swoops In to Help Former Aide Who Backed Him on ‘Bridgegate’ 1

Chris Christie’s advocacy group has provided nearly all of the funding for a super PAC backing the congressional bid of a former aide who backed the ex-New Jersey governor during inquiries into the scandal known as “Bridgegate.”

Christie’s group, a nonprofit called Right Direction America, donated $75,000 in August to the super PAC, dubbed the NH Freedom Fund. That accounted for all but $2,500 of the money the group brought in through the end of September. The NH Freedom Fund used that money to pay for direct mail pieces supporting New Hampshire Republican congressional candidate Matt Mowers, a former Christie aide who went on to become a senior Trump State Department official.

Christie also hosted a fundraiser for Mowers’ campaign in May.

Prior to his stint in the administration, Mowers worked in then-governor Christie’s intergovernmental affairs office. In that capacity, he later told a federal court, Mowers helped track all the Democratic officials in the state who’d received perks from the governor and how likely they were to endorse his 2013 reelection bid.

Mowers was among the Christie aides who wooed Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich with party invitations and a gift of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center. But he said he had no knowledge of the scheme to create a traffic jam on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge in order to punish Sokolich over his eventual refusal to back Christie.

During testimony in 2014 before a legislative committee in Trenton, Mowers echoed his former boss’ position—blaming the scandal on underlings acting without direction from the governor.

“I sit here dumbfounded and disappointed that the actions seemingly taken by a few rogue individuals have tainted the good work that so many have done on behalf of the residents of New Jersey,” Mowers said.

After his tenure on Christie’s staff, Mowers was the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party and an adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He served as a senior advisor at the State Department and as a top official at the federal agency in charge of HIV and AIDS relief.

Mowers is running against freshman Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas in New Hampshire’s first district, and polls in the race show that Pappas enjoys a sizable—but shrinking—lead.