Chris Christie Wins Lawsuit to Exempt Himself From New Jersey's Open Records Laws

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie arrives for the 'An Evening at the Fair' event with Scott County Republicans in the Starlight Ballroom at The Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on July 17, 2014 in Davenport, Iowa. In addition to the event at the fairgrounds, Christie attended two fundraisers for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and greeted patrons with them at MJ's Restaurant in Marion, Iowa. With this four-city Iowa tour many suggest Christie may be testing his support in the state with hopes of a 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Chris Christie is traveling around the country in advance of a possible 2016 presidential run. Who's picking up the tab for all these trips? He doesn't have to tell.  The New Jersey governor's office this week won a court ruling allowing it to exempt itself from disclosure rules, and it's permitted to conceal state records documenting which private interests are financing his nationwide political tour.
The case against Christie revolved around New Jersey Watchdog's request for records about more than "60 unofficial out-of-state trips Christie has taken since 2012." New Jersey Watchdog is a journalism project of the conservative Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
According to New Jersey rules, private third parties "may agree to pay for participation at an event by state employees," but documentation of those payments must be "retained with the department's or agency's records."
When he took office in 2010, Christie pledged to usher in "a new era of accountability and transparency," and he signed an executive order declaring that "the Governor shall not solicit, receive, or agree to receive, directly or indirectly, any ... meals, lodging, travel expenses or anything of monetary value intended to influence him