A New Jersey Democratic lawmaker Gov. Chris Christie recently blasted as a “lunatic” and a “crazy quack” is calling on the Republican governor to resign if he wants to write a memoir.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak on Monday night criticized a proposal to tweak state law that bars Christie from cashing in on a book deal while in office. The governor unleashed on Lesniak, a longtime critic and possible gubernatorial hopeful, in November on his monthly radio show.
Lesniak (D-Union) said in a statement Christie should “resign at once so that he can make all the money from all the book deals he wants.”
The lawmaker responded to news that Christie is working behind the scenes with legislative leaders on a deal that would let allow him to profit from a book by tying the legislation to a proposal to increase lawmakers’ staff salaries.
Under New Jersey state law, a sitting governor is barred from receiving compensation outside of his or her $175,000 annual salary.
Lesniak said the law should remain on the books.
“The Legislature should not change the law to benefit the governor who has been missing in action for years while he pursued his political ambitions leaving the state rudderless,” he said.
Christie and Lesniak have long had public spats.
The governor questioned Lesniak’s mental health last month when he was asked about Lesniak’s calls for a special prosecutor to handle a criminal complaint against him borne out of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal criminal trial.
“He is a crazy quack,” Christie said at the time. “And everybody in the Statehouse knows that Ray Lesniak’s crazy. And they put up with him because he’s nuts. … Talk to anyone in the Legislature privately, and they will tell you that he is not ‘with it,’ not of right mind. And they don’t know when they’re going to get the next lunatic email from him at 2 o’clock in the morning.”
This is not the first time the governor and lawmakers floated this compromise.
In December 2014, NJ Advance Media reported the same proposal was quietly being discussed.
And earlier that same year, state Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), sponsored a similar bill that stalled.
Currently, a New Jersey legislator is allotted $110,000 for his or her entire staff salary. The proposed bill would hike that to $140,000 while increasing judicial staff salaries by 4 percent.