Well, it looks like Part 2 of my Secret Koch Tapes exclusive at Mother Jones yesterday has ignited a political firestorm. Several of them, actually, particularly in the state of New Jersey. Oops.
One of the firestorms has even led the Democratic Speaker of the NJ Assembly to call Gov. Chris Christie "disgraceful," charge that his comments about her were "outright lies," that he is "not fit to lead the state," and that she is "beginning to wonder if Gov. Christie is mentally deranged." All statements given to local media late today in response to our release of the tapes. Though some local Dems are still wondering if it may be the Speaker, rather than Christie, who is hiding the truth.
As I described in my BRAD BLOG piece linking to Part 2 at MoJo on Wednesday morning, the good citizens of the Garden State (and the whole of the mainstream media along with them) learned only yesterday that their Republican Governor had snuck out of state on June 26th, right after appearing on Meet the Press, jetted across the country to deliver the keynote address at the super-secret, ultra-exclusive gathering of rightwing corporate barons and billionaires --- otherwise known as the Koch Brothers 2011 Summer Seminar --- at a resort near Vail, Colorado, before he then flew back home to NJ that night, and went on to appear on three cable news shows, in studio in Manhattan, the next morning. Nobody ever knew he was gone --- at least until my story broke at MoJo yesterday morning.
Since then, local media and politicos have been combing through our report --- and Tuesday's Part 1 before it, as described later that night. They've apparently been digging through the full transcript of Christie's remarks, and David Koch's introduction to it, as transcribed from a secret audio recording of the goings on at the Koch fete, which we obtained from an insider source.
More on the Part 2 fallout, including new details, confirmations from officials, ignited firestorms and opened hornets' nests below. But first, I wanted to front page these nice comments from an NPR report by Frank James, which helps to put this entire flurry of Koch muckraking in perspective:
It's a look behind the curtain of how big money is raised in conservative circles that's a worthwhile addition to our sum of knowledge about how American politics is practiced in the early 21st Century.
Indeed. And with that, on to the summary of yesterday's noteworthy fallout and, at points, rather mucky, developments...