Christie's WFAN Auditions May Violate State Ethics Codes

Outgoing governor Chris Christie may be violating state ethics rules regarding outside employment by his “auditions” next week for a job as a radio host with New York all-sports radio station WFAN, according to one press report quoting a WFAN spokeswoman’s comments.

Christie is scheduled to substitute for regular afternoon host Mike Francesa those two days.

But the auditions may violate state ethics rules. These rules declare the Governor to be a “designated State officer.” That means he is “generally prohibited” from receiving any compensation or source of income other than his state paycheck.

The rules also prohibit state officers from “us[ing] State time, personnel or other State resources for the other job or activity.” The phrase “State time” is not defined in state law, but the shows Christie will appear on run from 1 pm to 5 pm each day, clearly within the traditional, official business day.

Christie is term-limited and his term ends at the end of the year. Can he look for another job, just like anyone else who knows his job will end? The ethics rules caution that state officers should not have “discussions, interviews or negotiations” that occur “on State time.”

Otherwise, according to a 1983 advisory opinion, looking for future employment with parties which do not have official business with the state appears to be permitted “as long as [state officers] avoid a situation that may give rise to an unwarranted advantage.”