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Could Chris Christie's Love of Football Actually Be His Undoing?

"It smacks of inside deals that the average guy in Jersey can't ever dream of having the opportunity to do."

Image via Vine

What's some celebrating between friends in a luxury box?

An ethics violation, that's what, according to some observers.

America shared a chuckle over the ecstatic hug between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Cowboys president and general manager Jerry Jones following the Cowboys' win over Detroit on Sunday.

But as the legal blog Above the Law Redline noted the next day, the "bromance" between Christie and Jones might be in violation of New Jersey's ethics rules.

Now Democrats are taking notice.

A liberal group tied to Hillary Clinton filed a complaint against Christie on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the co-chairman of the New Jersey legislative panel investigating the Bridgegate scandal told CNN Democrats could launch an ethics probe into Christie's relationship with the Cowboys' head honcho.

"It smacks of improper behavior. It smacks of hypocrisy," Assemblyman John Wisniewski said. "It smacks of inside deals that the average guy in Jersey can't ever dream of having the opportunity to do. It's wrong."

According to New Jersey's ethics rules, public servants are allowed to accept gifts from friends, but going to events hosted by "interested parties" — groups with which your state or agency is doing business or regulating — and letting those parties foot the bill is verboten.

By letting Jones pay for his NFL tickets, Christie could be in violation of these rules, since New Jersey has to do all kinds of business with the NFL.

How far the complaints and investigations go remains to be seen, with ethics experts expressing mixed opinions of Christie's high-profile Cowboys fandom.

Christie, for his part, apparently didn't do much consulting with ethics panels ahead of time — an oversight that could come back to haunt his 2016 presidential ambitions.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

One last thing…
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