Republicans on the special committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures are accusing Democrats of withholding information and using the committee to hurt Gov. Chris Christie’s political prospects. Some of those Republicans have sent a letter to the leaders in the Assembly and Senate threatening to walk because of this. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that the Republicans on the committee are finding out after actions occur and are finding out information from the media.
Schepisi said that it is incorrect that all committee members are receiving the same information. She said that she and the three other committee members wrote the letter jointly and sent it, but it is not the first letter that they have sent; it is the sixth or seventh that they have sent to express their concerns. Schepisi said that the Republicans who wrote the letter had to find out about some subpoenas that were issued on MSNBC. She said that yesterday, she received documents from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop that had never been discussed. She said that the process has broken down.
“We are being told after the fact that items have occurred. The items that are valuable on the [investigation committee] website are document productions of other people. We have seen no memorandum provided by our council to the chairs of the committee, to other members of the committee. We have seen nothing about strategy. We have no input, we have no decision making, we don’t even have the ability to vote on something. We have no role here whatsoever,” said Schepisi.
Schepisi said that the problem is that the last time the committee went into closed session to discuss concerns, the Republicans asked that a conference call be held before making any changes to what has previously been discussed. She said that committee members discussed not subpoenaing people and asking people to come in because a subpoena gives an inference that someone has done something wrong, but then it was found out from MSNBC that subpoenas were sent out.
“Do we have dialogue in the three times that we met? Yes. But they have been more of just briefings by the council as to steps that have already been taken,” said Schepisi.
The Republicans asked to have three more members from their party put on the committee and to have a Republican co-chair. Schepisi said that it is very reasonable request.
“With something of this magnitude, if we are really trying to do a non-partisan, real investigation that is not just merely a campaign for somebody’s gubernatorial run, we have to be beyond reproach ourselves. That has not occurred,” said Schepisi.
Schepisi said that she is hoping that some of the items that have been raised will be taken seriously. She said that she has seen comments that the concerns are absurd or silly, but she disagrees with that. She said that with an investigation of an incident of this magnitude, where potentially millions of dollars will be spent on an investigation with people who are committed to getting to the truth, they have to understand what it is that they are doing. She said that she cannot find out through the media what is taking place because she and the other committee members are there for a purpose.