As Governor Chris Christie tours Florida to help Governor Rick Scott win re-election and reassure his donors, subpoenas are dropping all over New Jersey in the scandal surrounding the improper and illegal closures of lanes on the George Washington Bridge or “Bridgegate.” The New Jersey Assembly’s Special Investigations Committee is believed to have issued around 20 subpoenas yesterday, though they are keeping the full list of targets a secret the Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Patrick Foye, has confirmed that he received a subpoena to testify and will comply with it.
Others believed to be targeted are former and current members of Governor Christie’s senior staff:
Legislative officials would not disclose the targets of the new subpoenas until all are delivered. But according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation, those in the governor’s inner circle who have been subpoenaed include Kevin O’Dowd, the governor’s pick to serve as the state’s new attorney general; Michael Drewniak, Christie’s chief spokesman; Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager; Charles McKenna, the governor’s chief counsel; Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff; and Matt Mowers, another former aide.
Kelly and Stepien have already been fired by Christie with Matt Mowers moving on to be Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party. But Drewniak, O’Dowd, and McKenna still work for Governor Christie in his inner circle. Documents and testimony they provide may lead to them being fired as well.
David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, both of whom are already under subpoena with Wildstein held in contempt, are now asking for the Port Authority to cover their legal expenses. In other words, the same people stuck in traffic would pay for their legal defense.
Meanwhile Governor Christie’s Florida trip will give some indications of how much his 2016 presidential prospects have been damaged by Bridgegate. As head of the Republican Governors Association Christie will appear at several fundraisers with Florida Governor Rick Scott where he will get a chance to interact with some of the GOP’s biggest donors.
All this as US Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued a statement yesterday claiming that there was “zero evidence of a legitimate traffic study.” A “traffic study” was the cover story Wildstein and Baroni used to explain why they shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge for those four days in September 2013 before subpoenaed emails seemed to prove otherwise.
The charge by Senator Rockefeller, if proved correct, could be grounds for criminal prosecution for some of those involved in Bridgegate.