Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., won his reelection race last week in part because he secured a lot of federal money for New Jersey in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., alleged Wednesday.
"His victory was, in large form, based on that he got a lot of federal money for his state," Paul told radio host Dom Giordano during an interview, according to Philadelphia CBS station KYW.
Paul, who has previously condemned Christie as too moderate on fiscal issues, explained his reasoning.
"You could call it moderate, or even liberal, to think that there's an unlimited amount of money, even for good causes," he said. "If you're a conservative Republican, the federal government will be involved in certain things, but when you spend money, particularly when you're at trillion dollars in the hole, it shouldn't be just this, 'gimme, gimme, gimme all my money' without any considerations or strings."
It's not the first time the Kentucky Republican has accused Christie of using Sandy relief funds to aid his reelection. At a congressional hearing the day after Christie secured his big win, Paul slammed the governor for appearing in federally-funded TV ads aimed at restarting tourism in the area after the storm.
"Some of these ads, people running for office put their mug all over these ads while they're in the middle of a political campaign. In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. Do ya' think there might be a conflict of interest of there?" Paul asked. "You know, that's a real problem. And that's why when people who are trying to do good and trying to use taxpayers' money wisely, they're offended to see our money spent on political ads. You know, that's just offensive."
In the radio interview on Wednesday, Paul doubled down on that criticism.
"It should be against the law for any politician to put their image on TV at taxpayer expense," he said.
Both men are considered potential candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Paul, a favorite of the tea party wing of the GOP and a frequent antagonist of the more hawkish, moderate brand of Northeast conservatism, has tussled frequently with Christie and other Republicans from the tri-state area in recent months.
After Christie labeled Paul's libertarian, non-interventionist foreign policy views "very dangerous" in July, the senator fired back, arguing that Christie's reluctance to cut spending was the real threat to national security.
"They're precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their 'Gimme, gimme, gimme - give me all my Sandy money now."' Paul said. "Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense."
That didn't sit well with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who told the Associated Press that Paul's criticism of Hurricane Sandy relief money was "indefensible."
"This was absolutely life or death money that was essential to New York and New Jersey," King said.