Yesterday afternoon, at a hearing on Hurricane Sandy aid, Senator Rand Paul was not happy that some states had used relief funds to promote tourism through TV ads. He wanted to know whether Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan thought this was a smart use of federal money.
We guess the answer is yes! According to Donovan, these ads revive local economies and, in doing so, actually save the federal government money — Rand Paul’s second-favorite thing, aside from plagiarizing people. But Paul was not satisfied with this answer, so he asked again. Shockingly, Donovan still thought the ads were a good idea a few seconds later.
What’s the deal, Rand Paul? Why do these ads bother you so much? Come on, out with it.
Ah. It turns out that a certain “somebody running for political office” in New Jersey appeared in ads that used Sandy relief funds.
Yep, Paul’s arch-nemesis, Chris Christie, made a two-second cameo in one of New Jersey’s post-Sandy tourism ads, a move that government watchdogs found outrageous … ly unremarkable:
A good-government expert said the idea of a sitting governor appearing in state ads during an election year “makes me laugh more than it makes me grimace.”
“I can’t say it’s unethical because it’s not unusual for a governor to be involved in a tourism campaign,” said Bill Buzenberg, executive director of The Center for Public Integrity.
Obviously, Paul would argue that it was unethical for Christie to spend taxpayer money on indirectly boosting his own electoral prospects. Why, it would be like a senator using a committee hearing to attack his top rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.