New bridge scandal e-mails include Christie chief strategist Mike DuHaime

New bridge scandal e-mails include Christie chief strategist Mike DuHaime (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — New e-mails released today by the legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closings link Gov. Chris Christie’s chief political strategist, Mike DuHaime, to discussions about the scandal and show more intimate involvement…

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Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bridgegate | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Port Authority officials: Battle over toll hikes was all for show

Port Authority officials: Battle over toll hikes was all for show (via NJ.com)

On Aug. 5, 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a jaw-dropping proposal to immediately raise bridge and tunnel tolls by $4 for E-ZPass subscribers and $7 for cash customers, followed by another increase in 2014. The proposed hikes…

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Posted: March 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bridgegate: Emails tie Christie’s staff to George Washington Bridge lane closures

 

Governor Chris Christie and Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly. Photo via facebook

Governor Chris Christie and Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly. Photo via facebook

Emails and text messages published by NorthJersey.com  appear to implicate Governor Chris Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly in the planning of the George Washington Bridge lane closures that disrupted traffic in Fort Lee for a week last September.  The documents support contentions by Democrats in the legislature and media reports that the lane closures were executed as political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for failing to endorse Christie’s reelection.

NorthJersey.com’s extensive coverage can be found here.

Prior to today’s revelations, the Christie Administration’s official story was that the lane closures were order by Christie’s top appointees to the Port Authority of NY/NJ, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, as a traffic study regarding the appropriateness of Fort Lee having three dedicated toll lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

The documents show that Christie’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and the Governor’s chief spokesperson, Michael Drewniak, participated in conversations on how to respond to media inquiries about the lane closures.   Stepien was named Christie’s choice to replace Sam Raia as Chairman of the NJ GOP yesterday. The documents also indicate that Baroni was very concerned about how Christie’s staff evaluated his testimony before the Assembly Transportation Committee on the lane closures in November.

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Posted: January 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bridgegate: What difference does it make?

Some members of New Jersey’s press corps, along with Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and the Democratic National Committee seem think they finally have an issue to thwart Governor Chris Christie’s rising star.   They’re hoping traffic jams in Fort Lee will prevent Christie from becoming President of the United States.

The Star Ledger has an article this morning quoting Democrats and academics saying “the scandal” could hurt Chrisite’s national ambitions.

But questions about the incident have fueled a scandal that even Christie’s masterful team of brand managers can’t make go away.

The Record’s Charles Stile writes that “Christie won’t easily shake GWB flap.”

Stile and The Star Ledger’s reporters have it wrong.  Christie deftly accepted “ultimate responsibility” for the mistakes made in Fort Lee last September, while deflecting blame, at his press conference on the matter on Friday. As NJTV’s Michael Aron said on Reporters Roundtablethe issue is ‘fundamentally over.”   If the ‘Bridgegate’ story gets any ink at all in 2014 and beyond, it will be deep in the back pages.

It’s doubtful that the subpoenas that Wisniewski, as Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, issued will result in any smoking gun that proves that Christie or anyone in his inner circle other than Port Authority’s Bill Baroni or David Wildstein knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures that tied up traffic in Fort Lee for a few days is September.  Even if a smoking gun is discovered, as Hillary Clinton would shout, “What difference does it make?”

 

Now that Christie is a legitimate presidential contender, the front runner in the early polls, it is perfectly appropriate that the press and his opponents attempt to make mountains out of traffic jams and other mole hills as part of the vetting process for a president.  Barack Obama got a pass from the press and his opponents in 2008 and 2012. Look what that got us.

Posted: December 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

The Buck Stops With Christie


Governor Christie: I wouldn’t characterize myself as angry Matt. It just you know, I don’t like when mistakes are made, because of the question you asked me, right? Like, are you ultimately responsible? Yeah. I mean it’s OK when I make the mistakes, you know, that I’m responsible. When others make the mistakes I’m you know, it bothers me. But I think anger would probably be a little bit too strong a word. Bothered probably would be the better word, you know? I was bothered by it but, you know, folks around here – when I’m angry you tend to be able to see it. I don’t hide it all that well. I’m not angry but I’m bothered when people make mistakes that wind up reflecting poorly on their performance, because their performance is the performance of this Administration, and so I’d rather have us all doing things well, and so I’m bothered whenever that happens. But, you know, as I said before, I commend Senator Baroni for his service, for his four years there. I know how hard that job is and he worked very hard at it. So did Mr. Wildstein at the job he had and, you know, it’s unfortunate for them that a mistake got made near the end of their tenure but, you know, that’s just the way life works sometimes and no, I wouldn’t call myself angry, but bothered, yeah. I mean, I’d rather not be doing this, but, you know, this is the job. So, you know, when you lead this is what you’ve got to deal with sometimes, but other times, you know, I’m standing behind here when the folks that work for me have done extraordinary things, herculean things, that I get to smile and stand here and put my arms around them and take credit for it. So if you’re going to do that you got to be prepared to do this too, and that’s OK. I’m a big boy. I can handle it.

 

Posted: December 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Baroni Is Edged Out Of Port Authority

Governor Chris Christie has announced that former State Senator Bill Barnoni has resigned as Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY/NJ.

Deborah Gramiccioni has been tapped to replace Baroni.  Gramiccioni is a long time Christie staffer, going back to his tenure as U.S. Attorney.  She is the wife of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Christie said he had been planning to the change ” a while back.” He said that Baroni offered his resignation and he accepted given the “distraction” over ‘Bridgegate.”

Christie said that Baroni had acknowledged that ” a mistake was made” regarding the George Washington Bridge closure last September, and that Baroni has taken responsibility for it.

Deborah Gramiccioni

Posted: December 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Port Authority | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Opinion: Can the Democrats Cash in on George Washington ‘Bridgegate’?

Opinion: Can the Democrats Cash in on George Washington ‘Bridgegate’? (via NJSpotlight)

By any measure, the last four years of Democratic control of the Legislature yielded the party little political benefit. But the Democrats may be able to recover some lost ground, courtesy of what started as a hellacious tie-up on the George Washington…

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Posted: December 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: NJNewsCommons, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Good reading

Why Do They Want to Pick on Ann Romney?

Karin McQuillan, a retired psychotherapist and author who served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, writes at American Thinker that Hillary Rosen’s recent rant that Ann Romey never worked a day he her life is part of the Obama political strategy rooted in the politics of envy.  Worse, she says the strategy is deeply rooted in Obama’s psyche as a result of his upbringing.

I guess that’s a theory that one would expect from a psychotherapist.  McQuillan makes a fascinating case.

A FUNNY GAME OF TABLE TENNIS

Closer to home, our friends at InTheLobby have a hilarious account of how Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni turned the table on U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg during the senator’s hearing this week over the fairness of toll increases and patronage at PA.

Turns out that Lautenberg as a former commissioner of the PA he had a free EZ pass for decades and didn’t pay tolls from 1978 through 2006 when the PA stopped issuing free EZ passes to cronies.

Regarding patronage, a former Lautenberg campaign staffer joined PA in 2002, and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s son is an intern at PA now.

West Virginia U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller came to Lautenberg’s defense.  New Jersey Democrats have been silent, just as they were during Lautenberg’s dust up with State Senate President Steve Sweeney and George Norcross over the Rutgers-Rowan merger earlier this month.

The InTheLobby piece quotes The Asbury Park Press and The Star Ledger.

Posted: April 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, 2012 U.S. Senate Race, 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, 2014 U.S. Senate race | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Democratic Laundromat: Wisniewski’s Washing and Spinning

By Harold Kane and Art Gallagher

The legal money laundering of Assemblyman John Wisniewski in Middlesex County has been in the news this month as Politickernj and The Star Ledger brought to light the how Middlesex Democrats are circumventing state and local pay to pay laws by having government vendors, primarily the Middlesex based CME engineering firm, fund campaigns through PACs when the campaign finance laws prohibited contributions directly to the campaigns in jurisdictions where they were earning large fees.

Wisniewski, of Sayreville, is the Chairman of the State Democratic Party and the Assembly Transportation Committee. 

Despite the fact that the PACs are run by his former staff members and fund campaigns in his district and county, Wisniewski says he has nothing to do with them.  If that is true, the State Democratic Committee needs a new chairman.  If it’s not true, the Democrats still should get a new chairman and the people of the 19th legislative district should elect a new Assemblyman.

Also in the news this month are the guilty pleas of insurance broker Frank Gartland of Federal Hill Risk Management.  Gartland plead guilty to giving $2 million in bribes to Toms River School Superintendent Michael Ritacco, and to theft by deception and money laundering for bilking the Perth Amboy Board of Education, an Abbott district, out of more than $2 million.

Gartland also admitted to making illegal contributions to the campaigns of former Assemblyman and former Perth Amboy Mayor Joe Vas through “straw” contributors.  Vas is now serving a 6 ½  year sentence for funneling illegal money from a real estate scheme into his unsuccessful 2006 congressional campaign.  Vas was Wisniewski’s running mate and they represented the 19th district together in the Assembly from 2004-2009.

While all of this bribery, stealing and money laundering was going on, Gartland and his associates were also donating heavily to the Middlesex County PACS that Wisniewski says he has nothing to do with.

All information from NJ ELEC

 

 

     

 

 

 
Democracy in Motion PAC

 

 

12 Deerfield Road

 

 

Sayreville, NJ  08872

 

 

democrat org

 

 

Christina Montorio – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

1/16/2009

$3,200.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

10/16/2008

$4,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

10/24/2008

$3,200.00

     
New Expectations PAC

 

 

2 Lincoln Highway, ste 511

 

 

Edison, NJ  08820

 

 

other ongoing cmte

 

 

Denise Anstett – Treasurer

 

 

AST Development – Robert D’Anton

1/7/2009

$5,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

1/7/2009

$4,666.00

 

 

 

Cmte for  Efficiency in Government PAC

 

 

11 Barton Road

 

 

Mountain Lakes, NJ  07046

 

 

other ongoing

 

 

Michael Revolinsky – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Victor Bramble

10/20/2008

$1,300.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

10/20/2008

$2,400.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – John Hope

10/20/2008

$2,400.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt -  Victor Bramble

8/15/2007

$2,000.00

Dynamic Claims Mngt

8/15/2007

$1,000.00

E-Administrative Systems

8/15/2007

$1,000.00

Dynamic Claims Mngt

10/17/2007

$2,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

10/17/2007

$2,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Derek Johnson

10/17/2007

$3,000.00

 

 

 

Women for Good Government PAC

 

 

PO Box 11434

 

 

New Brunswick, NJ  08906

 

 

idealogical pac

 

 

Deborah Celey – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

10/22/2008

$2,600.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

2/9/2009

$4,666.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Robert D’Anton

2/9/2009

$5,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

10/30/2008

$4,666.00

AST Development – Robert D’Anton

10/30/2008

$5,000.00

 

 

 

Raritan Bay Leadership Fund

 

 

251 Livingston Avenue

 

 

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

 

 

idealogical pac

 

 

David Lonski – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt

1/19/2006

$2,000.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

1/28/2009

$4,666.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

1/17/2008

$2,600.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Diana Gartland

10/30/2008

$4,666.00

 

 

 

Committee for Civic Responsibility

 

 

PO Box 184

 

 

Kendall Park, NJ  08824

 

 

68 Old Road, Princeton, NJ 08540

 

 

civic association

 

 

Bharat Patel – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Derek Johnson

6/9/2009

$2,500.00

 

 

 

19th District Democratic Leadership Fund

 

 

13 Zaleski Drive

 

 

Sayreville, NJ  08872

 

 

Michael D’Addio – Treasurer

 

 

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

1/16/2009

$3,200.00

Federal Hill Risk Mngt – Frank Gartland

10/16/2008

$4,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$82,730.00

 

Wisniewski and Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, a former Republican State Senator, got into it this week over the PACS and Wisniewski using his authority as chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee to issue subpoenas requiring that Port Authority executives appear before his committee.  Baroni accused Wisniewski of a “shakedown” because CME did not receive preferential treatment while pitching their engineering services to Port Authority.

In response, Wisniewski said “the truth is an expendable commodity” for the “Christie character assassination team”

Let’s see some truth from Wisniewski regarding these PACS, including what quid pro quo Gartland received for his “contributions.”

Posted: April 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Pay-to-play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »