(CNN) - Despite calls from Republicans to wrap it up the Democratic co-chairs of the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge last September will issue a new round of subpoenas for witnesses as early as Monday.
Working off a list of 13 potential new witnesses, committee co-chair John Wisniewski said there are many more questions to be asked of people in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration in the wake of testimony from the governor’s chief of staff earlier this month.
“We looked at the material that we have, the unanswered questions we have and figured out that these people might shed some light on our unanswered questions,” said Wisniewksi, a Democratic assemblyman.
Among those questions – why did chief of staff Kevin O’Dowd not take any action in the wake of the lane closures scandal when Bridget Kelly told him that she sometimes deleted work emails? O’Dowd stated under oath that he did not ask Kelly whether she destroyed any emails on the topic of the lane closures and he gave her the benefit of the doubt because she had always proven to be a trustworthy, hardworking employee. Deleting emails would violate rules for public employees in New Jersey that require them to preserve all work records.
Kelly sent a now infamous email to David Wildstein at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that read, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein has been cited by several witnesses under oath as the person orchestrated the lane realignments that resulted in four days of gridlock in Fort Lee, an apparent act of political retribution targeting the town’s mayor.
While the committee’s investigation has been going on for six months the key question, who ordered the lane closures and why, remains unanswered. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, one of four Republicans on the committee, says they already know enough in order to write reform legislation for the bi-state transportation agency that oversees the George Washington Bridge and other crossings.
Referring to the working list of potential new witnesses, Schepisi said the problem is they aren’t bringing in anyone “that can actually provide testimony for meaningful reform on the Port Authority.” She said they have not been calling the right people.
Schepisi and her Republican colleagues on the committee want to hear from people who were actually working at the bridge while the access lanes were closed. Wisniewksi shot back that they already heard from several Port Authority employees.
“The people who were working at the Port Authority already testified in front of the Assembly transportation committee under oath, testified under oath that they knew that it was wrong but they also testified that they were afraid for their jobs if they raised an objection,” said Wisniewksi.
The legislative investigative committee is scheduled to meet again on July 8 at the state capital in Trenton. The list of potential witnesses includes the governor’s chief counsel, Charles McKenna, and one of his principal political advisors, Michael DuHaime.
While state lawmakers move on with their probe, the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey continues to bring witnesses before a grand jury in a federal criminal investigation into the lane closures and other allegations of abuse of power.
Across the Hudson River, the Manhattan District Attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are working on their own separate investigations simultaneously. They’re looking into whether the Christie administration misled bond holders when they redirected Port Authority funds to pay for badly needed repairs on the crumbling Pulaski Skyway, a state-owned highway in Jersey City.
Christie has said on multiple occasions that there was nothing illegal about the funding. He said many lawyers signed off on the move to call the skyway a Lincoln Tunnel access road even though it’s more than seven miles away from the tunnel. Christie said there was a robust, public debate about the repurposing of Port Authority funds and there was no attempt mislead anyone.