IG: Christie audit is not an investigation

The federal inspector looking into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) use of Hurricane Sandy funds is taking issue with those describing his actions as an “investigation.”

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In a statement released Tuesday, Housing and Urban Development Inspector General David Montoya called the probe an “audit and not an investigation.”

Montoya called the audit routine and said the department would have no further comment until a report is issued. He said the report would be issued “expeditiously.”

“Audits of Federal expenditures of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including disaster-related activities, are something that this office does routinely,” he said.

The statement came after Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and the media had used the terms interchangeably when announcing the audit earlier this week.

The audit centers around $25 million in Hurricane Sandy funding approved by the department to be used in a marketing campaign to promote the state after the storm last year. A number of Democrats took issue with the bidding process and the fact that Christie appeared in the ads during an election year.

The inspector general is auditing the process to see if all federal requirements were followed.

On television and in a statement, Pallone applauded the department for launching an “investigation” into process. His office has also described it as an “audit,” sometimes using the terms interchangeably.

In general, audits are conducted to make sure programs are operating free of abuse and waste, and auditors can make recommendations for improvement. Investigations tend to refer to alleged criminal conduct.

The inspector general did not respond to a request for comment seeking clarification.

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