Jerry Jones Paid for Chris Christie’s Cowboys Trips

Now critics are raising ethics questions.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid the cost of Chris Christie’s travel — including a private jet — to Sunday’s NFL playoff game featuring the Cowboys versus the Lions. (You know: The one featuring “The Hug.”) reports:

Christie has now attended three games at the invitation of Jones, who invited the governor and picked up the tab, said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts.

“Governor Christie attended the game last night as a guest of Jerry Jones, who provided both the ticket and transportation at no expense to New Jersey taxpayers,” Roberts said.

The governor’s office cited The Code of Conduct for the Governor, adopted under former Gov. Jim McGreevey, in Executive Order 77, which says the governor “may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.”

At International Business Times, though, Christie gadfly David Sirota makes the case that Christie has violated ethics rules:

The announcement from the governor’s office followed International Business Times first reporting today on Christie appearing in the NFL owner’s box despite strict New Jersey ethics rules. Those rules subject public officials to “a zero tolerance policy for acceptance of gifts … that are related in any way to [an officeholder’s] official duties.” As governor, Christie has overseen the state’s business with the NFL, most prominently during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Christie has cited those same ethics rules in barring other New Jersey officials from getting special access to tickets to events at state-owned arenas.

Along with being a friend of Christie’s, Jones is also an owner of a team in a league that has business with the state of New Jersey. Under the state’s ethics rules, gifts to public officials are prohibited from “any person or entity” that an official may “deal with, contact or regulate in the course of official business.”