“Hackensack Meridian Health was at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in New Jersey and continues to prepare for a future wave,” said Mary Jo Layton, spokesperson for the hospital system, in a statement to POLITICO, which Christie credited for her plead on behalf of her for “critical funding for our hospitals”.
Lobbying for Hackensack Meridian Health is a return to form for Christie: Hey lobbied for state subsidies for Hackensack University Medical Center, which is part of the health system, two decades ago as a young lawyer before President George W. Bush tapped him as an American lawyer.
Christie also lobbied HHS and the White House for CleanSlate Centers, a chain of dozens of addiction treatment centers. Christie chaired a committee set up by Trump in 2017 to fight the opioid crisis along with former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (DR.I.), who is now on the board of CleanSlate.
Christie’s lobby for the company included working on securing funds for coronavirus relief, an issue that was especially fraught for some addiction treatment centers that initially struggled to access the relief funds. CleanSlate has received $ 1.8 million in federal aid so far, the company said.
An HHS spokesperson would not directly address the question of whether Christie met senior officials there on behalf of his clients.
“HHS staff and leadership occasionally meet with industry leaders and their representatives,” said the spokesperson. “These meetings follow ethical rules and regulations.”
Christie’s decision to forgo the opportunity to join the Trump administration – he CNBC told last year he had turned down offers to serve as a Labor Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary and an ambassadorship – pursuing more lucrative opportunities comes as no surprise.
Because his term as governor expired in 2017, Christie Bloomberg told News he had “enjoyed” his 16 years with the government. “But I think what’s more likely for me when I leave go to the private sector and make some money,” he said.
Christie ventured into the private sector shortly after leaving his office in 2018, earning $ 800,000 plus advice on stock options for Pacira BioSciences, a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey. But Christie did not register as a lobbyist until last month when he submitted paperwork publicizing his work for CleanSlate and New Jersey hospitals.
In addition to Bagger, Christie’s firm, Christie 55 Solutions, also employs his wife Mary Pat Christie and Bob Martin, who served as environmental commissioner in New Jersey while Christie was governor. Neither Martin nor Mary Pat Christie registered as a lobbyist.