We flame the Ledger – and especially its head opinionator Tom Moran – plenty when we think they’re wrong. Today, they make a crucial distinction between what the public got for Chris Christie’s Bridgegate legal bill ($6.52 million) vs. what it got for the much-cheaper (and , uh, more transparent) legislative investigation. And it’s dead-on:
The legislative investigation has cost $725,000 through March. From that, we learned that this traffic jam was manufactured for political reasons. We learned the order came from Christie’s inner circle. And we learned that the “traffic study” excuse was nonsense. We will learn more, no doubt, but Democrats are rightfully holding off on key witnesses to give prosecutors first track.
What did we get from Mastro, at nearly 10 times the expense? Few helpful facts, but plenty of laughs.
We read that Christie got all misty when he learned that his staff went rogue. We learned that it’s perfectly reasonable for him to forget that David Wildstein, his own appointee, told him about the lane closures as they occurred. We learned that Mastro did not even interview Patrick Foye, the Port Authority executive director who first exposed the lane closures as a scam. And we learned Mastro drew conclusions even though the other key players refused to speak with him.
Boom. Randy Mastro – who the Ledger calls Gibson, Dunn’s “chief fabulist” – generated nearly 350 pages of meaningless white noise. The Trenton panel, even despite GOP whining from the ranks (which I’m sure had nothing to do with providing political cover for the bossman) was serious.
I have to like the fact that the Ledger made the same point I did here of Christie killing women’s health care funding – while imagining the public should pony up the same number of millions for his bogus whitewash. They call Mastro the “chief fabulist for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.” And they show the proper degree of ridicule to Mastro’s pricey work:
The best laugh was Mastro’s claim that he could find no evidence of the governor creating a “culture of political retaliation.” Yet even one of his own exhibits quotes campaign chief Bill Stepien prepping a strategist via email, “We’re approaching a point in time where we have the ‘so what’s it going to be?’ conversation” with mayors Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken and Steven Fulop of Jersey City, who both claim to be targeted for such retribution. “Are you with us, or against us?”