Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said today that he is asking U.S Attorney Paul Fishman to open criminal investigations into the municipal clients of Redflex Traffic Systems, an Arizona based red light camera company, due to legal claims by a former executive that the company routinely bribed municipal officials in 13 states, including New Jersey, in order to obtain the lucrative contracts to operate camera systems that issue summonses for red light infractions.
Additionally, O’Scanlon is writing to Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski to ask that the committee open an investigation into New Jersey’s red light camera program in light of the recent bribery allegations and scientific proof commissioned by O’Scanlon that red light cameras are a detriment to public safety that are rigged to cheat motorists.
The purpose of the investigation in not a probe of Christie. The purpose to the change the culture of the Port Authority.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democratic Co-Chairman of the joint legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures last September, almost sounded as if he was defending Governor Chris Christie yesterday morning during an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press.
In the wake of the media frenzy caused by the released of the letterwritten by the attorney representing David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official who order the lane closures, that asserted that ”evidence exists” that Christie knew about the lane closures while they were happening, Wisniewski raised questions about Wildstein’s credibility and said emphatically, multiple times, that there is no proof that Christie was involved in the incident.
Most people who are paying attention to ‘Bridgegate’ now realize that the letter from David Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas, released to the press yesterday afternoon is not the smoking gun that many in the media have been hoping for that would put an end to Governor Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions or possibly lead to his resignation or impeachment.
The letter, part of a negotiation with Port Authority over Wildstein’s legal fees, is not evidence that Christie lied in his January 9, 2013 press conference. The letter raises many questions and answers few if any. Some of those questions could complicate Wildstein’s legal problems. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the co-chair of the state legislative committee investigating Bridgegate, wants to know why Wildstein did not include the evidence referred to in the letter with all the other documents he provided to the Assembly Transportation Committee, including the now infamous email exchange between Wildstein and Bridget Ann Kelly that blew the Bridgegate story open on January 8.
If any of the news outlets that reported on the letter revealed who released it, I missed it.
The release of the letter reignited the media frenzy over Bridgegate just as Christie was generating non-scandal related publicity associated with the Super Bowl and Howard Stern’s birthday. That was obviously the intent of releasing the letter. By protecting the identity of the leaker, the media is complicit with that agenda.
TRENTON — State lawmakers leading the legislative investigation of the George Washington Bridge lane closures today said they plan to proceed with their probes even as the U.S. Attorney is dropping subpoenas in the case. State Assemblyman John Wisniweski…
By Salvador Rizzo and Mark Mueller Democratic lawmakers say they will “aggressively” press on with their investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal after Friday’s release of thousands of pages of documents showing key members…
Former Port Authority of NY/NJ official David Wildstein invoked his rights against self incrimination under the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions in declining to answer any questions posed by Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski at a hearing that started moments after Governor Chris Christie’s press conference concluded.
Wisniewski advised Wildstein and his attorney Alan Zegas that the committee rules and state statute do not allow for invoking fifth amendment protections. Zegas advised his client not to answer question, stating that the constitutions supersede the statute.
Some members of New Jersey’s presscorps, 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 Ledgerhas 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.
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 Roundtable, the 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.
Governor Chris Christie has called a press conference for 11am this morning to announce personnel changes in his administration.
‘Bridgegate’, the controversy over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September, will likely be the hot topic the press corps wants to talk about, unless Christie declares the press conference ‘on topic’ or restricted to questions about his new appointments or nominations. Christie has done this on occasion and then lambasted reporters who asked off topic questions. Any reporter who lets him get away with that today, if he tries it, will deserve to be called an idiot.
Democrats are alleging that the lane closures were political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for failing to endorse Christie’s reelection.
At his press conference on December 2 announcing Kevin O’Dowd’s nomination to be State Attorney General, Christie blew off questions about the GWB lane closures by joking that he was incognito, moving the cones to close the lanes. But his joke did not satisfy Assemblyman John Wisniewski who is acting as if he finally has an issue with which to take down Christie, politically.
Christie’s men at the Port Authority, the bi-state agency that manages the GWB, said the lane closures were part of a traffic study. David Wildstein ordered the closure/study and has resigned. Bill Baroni gave testimony to Wisniewski’s Assembly Transportation Committee justifying the study. Wisniewski called Baroni’s testimony “less than truthful.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s guy at the Port Authority, Executive Director Patrick Foye, threw Wildstein and Barnoni under a bus in his testimony before Wisniewski’s committee. Wisniewski has called for Baroni’s resignation and has subpoenaed emails and memos from Port Authority.
Tune in at 11 to see if Christie can put this issue behind him before it becomes a distraction to his second term, his chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association and to his 2016 presidential prospects.
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…
If Governor Chris Christie appoints someone to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy caused by Senator Frank Lautenberg’s death, there will either be a special election this year for the remainder of the term, or next November, depending on who’s interpretation of seemingly conflicting paragraphs in Title 19.
Christie has the power to appoint a replacement, but is not required to do so. He very likely will.
The Office of Legislative Services has issued an opinion stating that the Governor can appoint a replacement who will serve until November of 2014. The winner of the November 2014 election would serve the remaining two months of the term and a full term to start in January of 2015.
Christie could also call a special general election to fill the remainder of the term, which would be proceeded by a special primary election.