Forme Governor Chris Christie, who left office this year as the least popular governor in New Jersey history, is leaving behind his mark in typical extravagant swagger.
Christie’s official portrait will be painted by a renowned Australian artist, and will cost a total of $85,000 – more than what was paid by the three previous New Jersey governors combined, according to documents obtained by the Bergen Record through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
The $85,000 price tag is the most any New Jersey governor has paid for the official portrait, the Record reported. The next most-expensive was $58,000, purchased by Democrat Jim Florio, who served as governor from 1990 to 1994. The three governors before Christie – Jon Corzine, Richard Codey and Jim McGreevey, all Democrats – spent a combined $74,500 on portraits, according to the Record.
As other governors have done, the state will pay for the portrait through a transition account worth $250,000. Funded by taxpayers, the account can be used to pay for staff, office space and other services, including commissioning portraits, the Record reported. The account has so far only paid for $37,500 of the portrait’s cost.
The Christie portrait price tag pales in comparison to the Obama portraits, which reportedly cost $500,000, including the unveiling ceremony and costs of future care. But ever since the presidency of George H.W. Bush, official portraits have been paid for with private funds – not taxpayer money.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Samantha Schmidt