NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey lawmakers announced Monday that they are intensifying their investigation into the role that politics played in lane closures to an approach to the George Washington Bridge.
A special Assembly committee is being formed that will have subpoena power and a special counsel appointed to it.
Its chairman is to be John Wisniewski, who as head of the chamber’s transportation committee launched the initial investigation into the closing of lanes leading to the GWB.
“We need to know who else in the governor’s office was involved in authorizing it,” Wisniewski said.
“As the evidence in the case has unfolded, it’s become clear the questions that need answering here are no longer just transportation questions,” said Vincent Prieto, the incoming speaker of the state Assembly. “An abuse of power like this is not something that we will stand for.”
Republicans are cooperating, for now, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“My hope is that none of this becomes simply partisanship. If there’s wrongdoing, clearly it should be referred to the apropriate law enforcement agency,” said Assembly GOP Leader John Bramnick.
The investigation last week revealed that high-ranking officials in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration appeared to engineer lane closures at the bridge in September for political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
Christie last week apologized but denied involvement. He also fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and cut ties with campaign adviser Bill Stepien.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, the committee will have a dedicated legal team and subpoenas for Kelly and Stepien.
“The Port Authority and other agencies are going to need a drastic overhaul,” said Wisniewski.