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How an Obscure Federal Rule Could Be Shaking Up Presidential Politics

Federal rules that forbid employees of Wall Street firms from giving money to certain state officials running for federal office if the firms do business with that state helped knock New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie out of contention for a spot on the GOP ticket, according to anonymous sources quoted in the New York Post.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, is surrounded by media at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2012. A story citing anonymous sources in the New York Post said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney demanded that Christie agree to resign the governorship if he was offered the vice president spot on the GOP ticket. (Stan Honda/AFP/GettyImages)

Aug. 28: This post has been corrected.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's allies seemed to give a big old raspberry to presidential aspirant Mitt Romney on the front page of the New York Post today. Anonymous sources told the paper that Romney demanded Christie agree to resign the governorship if he was offered vice president on the GOP ticket. Christie was said to have declined since he didn't think Romney would win.

A spokesman for Christie said they were not commenting on the Post's report and suggested contacting the Romney campaign, which did not respond to emailed questions.

The possible need for Christie's resignation arises from federal rules that forbid the employees of Wall Street firms from giving money to state officials running for federal office if the firms do business with that state. The rules affect firms that underwrite municipal bonds or advise state pension systems on their investments. If the public official — in this case, the governor of New Jersey — has any influence, directly or indirectly, in selecting the pension investment advisers or bond underwriters, the firms can't give campaign contributions.

As governor of New Jersey, Christie, ultimately through a complicated process, appoints nine of the 16 members of the state investment council that chooses investment advisers. This would likely trigger the investment advisor rule and would have cut off an important spigot of campaign cash for Romney.

This is the first presidential election where the state pension adviser rule, which was passed in 2010, is in effect. It has the potential to make it more difficult for sitting governors to run for federal office. The municipal bond rule, which operates similarly, has been in place since 1994. It posed a challenge in 2008 when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was selected by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., according to Ken Gross, an attorney with law firm Skadden, Arps, who advises firms on how to navigate the rules.

Gross said that some companies were banned from doing bond business with Alaska for violating the provision. Under the rule, the ban lasts for two years.

The pension investment adviser rule potentially covers many more firms and employees than the rule for bond underwriters.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was also rumored to be on Romney's list of potential VP candidates, would also likely be covered under the rules. It's not clear if a similar request was made of Jindal. We reached out to Jindal and will update this post when his spokesman responds.

One governor who is frequently discussed as a presidential candidate in 2016 is New York's Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo might expect to be a big recipient of campaign contributions from Wall Street since many investment firms are headquartered in his home state. But he would also not have to worry as much about the investment adviser rule, according to a spokesman. New York is what is called a "sole trustee" state. The state comptroller makes most investment decisions for the pension funds. But the governor still has appointing authority for many of the state entities that issue bonds such as the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Correction: This post originally said that the federal rules posed a challenge in 2004 when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen by Sen. John McCain to be his running mate. It was actually in 2008.

Strange rule….... almost sounds like someone was trying to clean up our dirty elections. Don’t see that very often.

“It posed a challenge in 2004 when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was selected by Sen. John McCain…”

Is this date correct? I think that there has been a mix up with the date. Shouldn’t it be 2008?

It’s a shame these sorts of rules are so limited.  It always seems slimy when someone in office bails on their responsibilities for most of a year (and then most of the term) to get into a better office.

Attacking it from a financial corruption angle is a good start, but how hard is it to prevent sitting officials from pursuing a “higher” office?  You’d think Congress would be all over passing something like that, since it’d make it a lot easier to guard their own jobs from proven winners…

This sounds like another “story” from the Obama Dreamland.  Christie was never in serious contention for VP.  He is successful in NJ with his gruff attitude, but that would not play across the heartland of the country. Just anaother attempt to pass lies and innuendo from the king of liars, BHO

@sed25 - the NY Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch—you know—he also owns Fox News… Furhter, Christie is one of yours, not one of ours. You can keep him.

CLARENCE SWINNEY

Aug. 28, 2012, 3:24 p.m.

PROABORTION KING ROMNEY
He proposes to defund planned parenthood which stops more abortions than any unit in america via contraceptions for poor women
KING OF ABORTIONS=ROMNEY


Why not discuss these?
PROGRAMS CREATED BY DEMOCRATS MOST FOUGHT BY REPUBLICANS
anyone name 10 created by republicans?

How many do GOP want to eliminate?
wwii draft
social security
medicare
medicaid
GI bill
national housing act
federal communications act
national labor relations act
fair labor standards act
tva
rea
permanent school lunch program
public health standard act
small business investment act
consumer drug protection act
clean air act
civil rights act
voting rights act
head start
immigration reform act
clean water restoration act
coal miner health and safety act
schip Health care for 11 million kids (bush vetoed twice)
civil service reform
americans with disability act
family medical leave act
promoted peace in Haiti-South Africa-Northern Ireland—israel and palestine
increase in minimum wage
protection of children from tobacco cancer
leadership role in Nato stop of christian ethnic cleansing in kosovo
ameri-corps
peace corps
vacation with pay
earned income tax credit
health care reform

Why do Republicans hate children, elderly, workers, students, disabled, clean water, clean air. teachers, women,
soldiers. veterans. Voters, minorities,?????  Why? Are they not Christians? Do they not read of the teachings of Jesus Christ?

“Why do Republicans hate children, elderly, workers, students, disabled, clean water, clean air. teachers, women,
soldiers. veterans. Voters, minorities,????? “

Republicans do not hate any of these. They simply do not believe that government should be spending money on things that are not within the purview of the Federal Government.  Hate has nothing to do with it.  That is simply a concoction of Democrats who perpetually attempt to misconstrue the Constitution

article should just headline, GOP Christie switches sides. got it, thanks.

Republicans don’t have very much knowledge about the Constitution either. The PATRIOT Act, TARP, the Iraq/Afghanistan wars etc. The Clean air act, social security, medicare,medicaid, national labor relations act
fair labor standards act, public health standard act small business investment act, civil rights act, voting rights act, increase in minimum wage, earned income tax credit all all promoting the general welfare of society.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Buying Your Vote

Buying Your Vote: Dark Money and Big Data

ProPublica is following the money and exploring campaign issues in the 2012 election you won't read about elsewhere.

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