Documents released Friday by the New Jersey Assembly Committee investigating improper lane closures on the George Washington Bridge provide evidence for wider involvement by the Christie Administration in the so-called Bridgegate scandal – both in shutting down the bridge lanes and trying to cover up involvement with the press.
Christie officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey fought with New York officials to keep the lane closure issues quiet as well as attempting to make the closures seem to be part of a traffic study after the fact.
The new documents offer a look at the internal strife the lane closings set off within the Port Authority, ultimately pitting the executive director, Patrick J. Foye, who was appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, against officials from New Jersey appointed by Mr. Christie. At one point, as Mr. Foye continued to inquire about the matter, Mr. Wildstein called him a “piece of crap” in an email to Michael Drewniak, Mr. Christie’s chief spokesman.
While Christie officials were demanding that their New York colleagues keep quiet and not discuss the matter either in public or by email, Christie’s Communications Director, Michael Drewniak, was coordinating a counter-attack in the press to kill the story. Drewniak’s language about the press is rather explicit.
Also troubling is that the coordination both in responding to the lane closure scandal with the press and within the Port Authority took place in private email accounts. Which along with other claims may have meant that the Christie Administration broke New Jersey’s public records law as the Christie Administration denied such emails existed in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request by the Bergen Record.
During the press conference he held after firing Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien, Governor Christie admitted that he may have to fire more of his staff because he was not aware how many more people were involved. Now he knows, will Michael Drewniak be fired? And which Christie official claimed these emails didn’t exist? Didn’t they break the law?