(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.
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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.