Today attention is drawn to the Senate and Assembly as their new session begins and they establish Bridgegate panels. The Assembly has formed a committe with subpoena power consisting of eight Democrats and four Republicans chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). Its legal counsel will be former U. S. Attorney Reis Schar who prosecuted the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In the meantime Senate President Sweeney has announced the Senate will create its own separate panel, which appears duplicative of time, staff, resources and issues.
It might be more worthwhile to have each committee address separate matters – a two track inquiry. Much attention has been focused on the Christie administration, but equally important (and maybe more so in the long run) is the Port Authority administration which shares culpability. Its staff (naively) implemented the lane closures and did not inform the proper authorities. It’s PR department maintained “radio silence.” Some of its top executives were not sharing information. People appear to have violated procedures, and the result may well be in violation of federal and state laws. The performance of the agency in Bridgegate only highlights broader concerns regarding its overall performance.
To his credit NY appointee Executive Director Patrick Foye brought the lane closures to an end in September. He was right on point when his Deputy Bill Baroni, in an e-mail said, “There can be no public discourse,” and Foye responded, “Bill that’s precisely the problem, there has been no public discourse on this.” Foye further vowed, “I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision which violated everything this agency stands for.” Nonetheless four months later we have not heard what he discovered. Instead, The office of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman (NJ) announced that it had opened a preliminary inquiry after a referral from the inspector general at the Port Authority.
Read about the “Hall of Infamy,” Rep. Pascrell’s new bill, and the Governor’s schedule today below the fold.