New Jersey Democrats ramp up bridge controversy investigation
January 13th, 2014
12:30 PM ET
9 months ago

New Jersey Democrats ramp up bridge controversy investigation

(CNN) - New Jersey Democratic legislative leaders are forming a special new committee to investigate the George Washington Bridge gridlock scandal that has rocked Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration.

Controversial lane closures last September caused massive traffic jams on the Garden State side of the nation's busiest bridge, and ensnared Christie, who's considering a bid for the White House in 2016, in the biggest political controversy of his career.


New Jersey Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Priet and Majority Leader Lou Greenwald announced Monday that the committee's sole mission will be to investigate the lane closings in Fort Lee, and that the panel will have subpoena power and will "utilize a special counsel."

The committee will be led by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, whose Transportation Committee has led the investigation of the widening political controversy so far.

"We have made great strides in finding out what actually happened here with this threat to public safety and abuse of power, but so many questions remain unanswered," said Wisniewski in a statement.

"The evidence that has come out in recent weeks makes clear that this now goes above and beyond a transportation issue and goes into the highest ranks of the executive branch. A concerted and focused investigation with increased resources is now needed," he said.

The Transportation Committee released more than 2,000 pages of e-mails and other documents on Friday as part of its investigation of top Christie aides.

Documents released so far in the investigation suggest the aides orchestrated the traffic tie-ups in an alleged case of political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Sokolich, a Democrat, declined to endorse Christie for re-election. Christie's campaign team actively sought endorsements from Democratic officials, such as Fort Lee's mayor, in its push to win a major gubernatorial victory as a prelude or launching pad to any 2016 White House bid by the governor.

They succeeded, as Christie won in a landslide over little known state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Christie, known for his brash and confident style, took the first steps Thursday toward political rehabilitation - apologizing at a news conference and firing the two aides who appear to be connected to the access lane closures.

Christie denied any knowledge of the apparent actions by some of his top aides, saying "I knew nothing about this," adding that he has "nothing to hide."

Wisniewski's Transportation Committee loses its subpoena power on Tuesday, when the current legislative session ends and a new one begins.

The move on Monday by New Jersey Democrats places subpoena power with the newly formed special  investigatory committee.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    " the panel will have subpoena power and will "utilize a special counsel."
    ----------------------------------------
    Subpoena power really doesn't hold any weight to it when all the people testifying are pleading the 5th. That being said, I'm just waiting for the federal criminal investigation to begin. It probably won't be Christie, but someone is going to hang for this.

    January 13, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. it must be said

    Of course they are. They've been given marching orders to destroy Christie with lies and innuendo. It is the Democrat way.

    January 13, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    it must be said
    Of course they are. They've been given marching orders to destroy Christie with lies and innuendo. It is the Democrat way.
    -----------------------------------
    Darrell Issa! Now go to your room.

    January 13, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Ron L

    This is to be expected simply because if his staff is capable of the bridge fiasco, there is no telling what they could have done with the relief money. If there was obvious favoritism involved, it needs to be pointed out. Whether Governor Christie had anything to do with it or not.

    January 13, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "Christie, known for his brash and confident style, took the first steps Thursday toward political rehabilitation – apologizing at a news conference and firing the two aides who appear to be connected to the access lane closures.

    Christie denied any knowledge of the apparent actions by some of his top aides, saying "I knew nothing about this," adding that he has "nothing to hide.""
    ------------------------
    This is going to end in one of two ways, and neither one of them makes Christie look good. Christie is either lying about his involvement, or Christie has demonstrated that he's totally incompetent as a leader. I still cannot believe the royal flush of victim cards that Christie played at his news conference last Thursday, portraying himself as a victim and his top aides as villans.

    January 13, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Videriquamesse

    To quote our former Secretary of State, "At this point what difference does it make?"

    January 13, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Of course they are. They've been given marching orders to destroy Christie with lies and innuendo. It is the Democrat way."

    President Romney agrees.

    January 13, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    it must be said
    Of course they are. They've been given marching orders to destroy Christie with lies and innuendo. It is the Democrat way.

    Huh? I don't know if Christie is "guilty" of this, but YOU don't know that he's not. That's what an investigation is for. Unless you're simply projecting the Republican way of of conducting one...

    January 13, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. bf

    CNN you are not going to pick our candidate for us this time. We like Christie.

    January 13, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "Of course they are. They've been given marching orders to destroy Christie with lies and innuendo. It is the Democrat way."
    ----------------------
    What must be said is that even Fox News has acknowledged that BridgeGate is a legitimate scandal. We're talking about *everyone* in Christie's innermost circle of advisors, his A-Team.

    January 13, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. O'drama ya Mama

    This is when Darrell Issa who currently is sitting in a dark room with the walls and windows overlapped with documents of Benghazi and the IRS "scandals" gets the phone call...."Darrell, you're up, no need to for any gut feelings this time we actually have tangible evidence"

    January 13, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Krispy was never going to be the nominee. He is merely Rudy Guiliani in a big suit. You fans of Roger Ailes should even know it is not Fox that makes the call, it's the really big money that decides on the candidate, and Roger will have to fall in line like the little puppet he is.

    January 13, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    This guy is a dumboooooooo....

    January 13, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    @viseriquamesse, not even close.
    Benghazi, you people back to that again, could not be controlled Nd it's been proven that nothing could be done about it time and again. Just ask the car thief.
    The bridge was controlled by the NJ governor and his closest divisors and staff. They did it on purpose to get back at Lee and Buono. That the bully way.

    January 13, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Batter up!!! Who's it going to be? Jeb, Huckabee, Ayatollah Santorum? Bring em' on!!!

    January 13, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Seb

    Why hasn't anyone been hung for FastandFurious, Brngahzi, IRS and other scandals that were worse than a bridge lane closing?

    January 13, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. The REAL Truth...

    Meanwhile, the right wing and their psychophant lemmings will wonder and complain ALOUD (and a great LENGTH while attempting to redirect with mumbles about Benghazi, IRS, etc.) WHY all those horrible Dem's are jumping on this Christie issue. Let the GOP reap what they have sown for the last 5 yrs.

    January 13, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Seb

    Christy was a target because he's ahead of Clinton in the polls!

    January 13, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. tom l

    Days later. CNN and every other reporter that has gone through all of the emails and still nothing. There still could be but as of now....nothing. The only thing that liberals have right now is thoughts and conjecture but nothing of substance whatsoever. Stay tuned as that could change but after literally thousands of comments here from all of the liberals they literally have zero so far.

    January 13, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Ol' Yeller

    @bf

    "CNN you are not going to pick our candidate for us this time. We like Christie."

    CNN is reporting the news (finally). I hate to be the one to inform you, but short of writing his name at the bottom of your ballot, there is no way.... no way, Christie is going to be on any Presidential ticket. The slim chance he had to get on the ticket (about 1/2 your party hates him because he talked about Obama once without accusing him of being a socialist, traitor, pinko, muslim Kenyan) went out the window with this.
    This isn't Behghazi or the IRS or anything like the other 'scandals' which have been created by the right.... this is a real life event which actually happened and the evidence trail has stopped(for the moment) right outside Christie's office door.
    You got his one lackey already begging for a deal to sing... there will be more...

    January 13, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |