Updated - 8:01 p. m. 2/28/2014
(CNN) – A member of the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the administration of Chris Christie stepped down from the panel on Friday after drawing Republican ire for calling on the governor to resign.
Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who told Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto that she would step aside from the probe to focus on legislation and other causes, minced no words when it came to the political scandal over traffic jams in Fort Lee last year that is roiling Christie's administration.
"As we all learn more – particularly with the most recent public release of information surrounding the George Washington Bridge lane closings – about the bully environment and brazen callousness and disrespect this administration has shown toward the people of our state, I have become even more disgusted. In fact, I find it disturbing," she said in a statement.
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Earlier in the day, Republicans questioned the investigative committee's impartiality if one of its members had already concluded the governor should step down.
"Balance and fairness should be the goal of the committee," Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said.
"I just hope she realizes let's give everybody the benefit of the doubt," he told CNN. "That's what our system is based on."
Watson Coleman's call on Thursday for Christie to quit followed the release of new information this week raising more questions about whether top appointees orchestrated the lane closures last September to politically punish Fort Lee's mayor, a Democrat who did not endorse the Republican governor for reelection.
The newly unveiled batch of emails and text messages shows a "culture of abuse of power," Watson Coleman said on MSNBC. The "governor needs to think about resigning, and he needs to take all his friends with him because this is sickening."
The scandal has raised questions about Christie's forceful governing style and clouded potential prospects for a 2016 presidential bid.
Prieto said he would announce a replacement for Watson Coleman on the committee soon.
In the latest release of information, two figures at the center of the scandal joked about creating traffic jams outside the home of a local rabbi. It is not clear why the officials were upset with him. He's the chaplain for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Christie has not been implicated by any of the documents so far and has denied knowledge of the traffic mess until after it ended and only after it appeared in media reports.
He also denies knowing of any political scheme involving staffers or appointees at the Port Authority, which oversees bridge operations.
But Watson Coleman argued he should resign because "he is responsible for everybody that is in the middle of all of this mess."