Pulling this back up top for a while, since I posted it at nearly 3am and people might not have seen it. In addition to the new possibility that Congress may get involved, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may enter this investigation. Below, video recap: Sen. Weinberg on @Maddow – Rosi
On Rachel Maddow
tonight last night, Sen. Loretta Weinberg said she will ask the U.S. Congress – which passed the legislation that created the Port Authority itself – to investigate whether the sudden GWB lane closures were politically-motivated. Port Authority was already under the microscope of the federal General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress. In August the GAO submitted a report to the U.S. Senate with a stinging criticism of PA’s 2011 process in jacking up tolls, recommending both better transparency and more oversight of its workings.
Ironically, that report was released to the public on September 13, the same day PA ED Patrick Foye learned of the lane closures and ordered the Christie appointees to reopen them immediately (see NJ.com’s timeline). Failures of transparency, and inadequate oversight. Add that it’s also a highly politicized agency. It isn’t hard to see how it might have been possible for political hacks answerable to a governor or his consiglieri might assume they could get away with ordering career professionals around, telling them they had to reverse years of safety procedure and eff up Fort Lee for the better part of a week. And keep their traps shut about it, or risk their jobs. Not hard to see how big-salaried dirty tricksters with more political loyalty than brains might have every reason to think they’d get away with it. Be insulated. Be rewarded. Run roughshod over the sober and responsible people who also work at the Authority.
Weinberg will introduce a resolution Thursday that asks Congress to investigate the Port Authority. My own thinking all along is that this should be in the province of investigations on any and every level that is productive – legislative, journalistic, and legal if warranted. And if there’s nothing politically rotten here that goes higher than it already has, and the only guys playing shenanigans with the 300,000 people who use that bridge every day are the disgraced David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, well then the governor should have no reason to oppose congressional inquiry.
Short ad. Then Maddow.