Kevin O’Toole: Maybe you need a lawyer now

NJ Sen. Kevin O'TooleSen. Kevin O’Toole, who we now know is a player in Chris Christie’s GWB scandal, helping Bill Baroni and David Wildstein spin their first big lie, is also a member of the legislative committee investigating the scandal. And he might just be getting a subpoena from that same panel compelling him to tell what he knows and when he knew it.

When the NJ legislature launched its joint investigative panel under the co-chairmanship of Asm Wisniewski and Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Republicans complained that the allocation of 4 spots on it for them (Democrats have 8) was unfair. It never struck me that way. We have a divided government, and both houses in the legislature are Democratic majority. That said, I would suspect the fairness of any investigative panel the minority is excluded from, or cannot vigorously participte in. But the fact is that what’s under the microscope here is the Republican governor who has for three years been not only the leader of their party, but with whom GOP legislators have marched in lockstep. So, it’s tricky; we should be able to expect that good government work is going on from both parties in that panel, but the reality is that Gov. Christie has turned even good public servants into his political operatives.

Potentially consequential work is going on in that probe, with the level of due diligence that every voter should demand when one branch of government is examining another. What complicates that good government work, though, is that the governor at the center stands accused of abusing his power by turning servants of the public – paid by us taxpayers – into a squad of political henchmen. Loyal to him, at the expense of duty to the people they’re supposed to be serving. And maybe even willing to lie , break the law, or put citizens in jeopardy to do it. Big stuff.

Does that now also include a duly elected Republican member of the legislature, and member of the investigating panel?  

Kevin O’Toole was the last Senator named to the panel. We already see this week that O’Toole appears to have been a player in Christie’s reindeer games – collaborating with the now-disgraced Wildstein and Baroni on this escapade’s first big lie, the fictitious “traffic study,” and trying to shift interest to a straw man, that Fort Lee unfairly had its own dedicated GWB lanes (also bull).

Star Ledger’s already called for him to be removed from the committee, proposing he should be replaced by two other Republicans as a gesture of good will. I want to hear what he has to say when his colleagues ask him some serious questions.  

Comment (1)

  1. deciminyan

    I would love to see O’Toole replaced with Diane Allen. She’s a loyal Republican but has often voted her conscience instead of the Christie line. I don’t always agree with her, but I trust her integrity.


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