NJ Democrats Intensify Christie Scandal Inquiry

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  • TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Democrats in New Jersey sharpened their aim at Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Monday, forming special legislative committees to explore the role politics played in traffic jams last fall and announcing that the investigation has grown into an abuse of power probe.

    The intensifying investigation, which threatens to undermine Christie’s second term and his chances at a 2016 presidential run, revealed last week that high-ranking Christie aides and appointees were involved in ordering lane closings in September as apparent political payback that led to massive gridlock in the town of Fort Lee.

    A new special Assembly committee, given subpoena power and a special counsel, will be charged with finding out how high the plot went up Christie’s chain of command, said a leading state Democrat, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald.

    “It is clearly an abuse of power,” he said. “The question is, who abused their power and how high did it go?”

    The committee will focus exclusively on the traffic jams in Fort Lee, whose mayor has said he believes the lanes were closed to punish him for not endorsing Christie. The panel will be chaired the head of the Assembly transportation committee who launched the initial investigation into the lane closings, John Wisniewski.

    The state Senate announced that it planned to establish its own committee, also with subpoena power.

    Christie has apologized over the lane closings but denied involvement. He also fired a top aide and cut ties with a political adviser who’d been widely seen as a potential campaign manager if Christie runs for president. Wisniewski said Monday that both of them could receive subpoenas soon, though he could subpoena their emails first.

    Wisniewski also referred contempt charges against another Christie loyalist, David Wildstein, to a county prosecutor. A former Christie appointee to a powerful New York City-area transit agency, Wildstein was subpoenaed to testify before lawmakers but invoked his right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions or even confirm that he worked for the agency.

    Wildstein’s lawyer indicated that an appeal would be filed, according to prosecutor Joseph Bocchini. The lawyer didn’t return messages seeking comment.

    The scandal widened last week when documents were released showing that, in addition to the apparent political retribution by Christie’s team, the mayor of Fort Lee asked Christie’s top deputy at the transit agency whether the lane closings were a punishment for him and why.

    The mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, had noted that he didn’t endorse Christie for re-election but told CNN last week that he couldn’t recall “a specific request to endorse” from the governor’s campaign staff, though other events could be seen as an attempt to attract his endorsement.

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    4 thoughts on “NJ Democrats Intensify Christie Scandal Inquiry

    1. it’s too bad the current administration can’t learn to get out in front of scandals like Cristie did
      with firings, resignations, at length news conference, it helps build a trust with the public,
      unlike “if you like your insurance you can keep it ..period” now that’s a phrase that will be remembered for decades to come

    2. Hey, hey, hey, my heart goes out 
to poor poor poor Governor Christie. 
That vengeful arrogant bully 
will probably close the border s
of his little kingdom –again–
when he hears about the new federal probe of his misuse of Sandy relief funds! 
How DARE they question him! 
REVENGE! 
I can just see the good Governor right now. 
Having one of his childish temper tantrums. 
Bouncing up and down, up and down, up and down. 
Like a big, red-faced, rubber ball.
Bounce, bounce, bounce
…ready to burst, ready to pounce.
 And crying wah, wah, wah. 
All the way home. 
Home? 
Yes, it IS time for you to go home sir,
and stop inflicting yourself 
on the people of New Jersey.
      When Governor Christie stood there in his recent press conference and said (with a straight face!) ” I am not a bully”, it reminded me of the “I am not a crook” phrase made famous by President Nixon.
      History repeats itself. The chickens come home to roost. Eventually.

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