Although he is a member of the joint committee to investigate the George Washington Bridge lane closures, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25) told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he has felt more like a spectator.
“That’s the problem I think we had. If you’re going to call it a bipartisan commission, the very first thing that the chairman or the speaker should have done was call up the minority party and say, ‘Would you like to see the resolution?'” said Carroll. “For example our ethics committee in the legislature is split 50/50. Entertain our ideas as to how we want to proceed. We didn’t get any of that.”
Carroll said that Republicans in the Assembly and the Senate didn’t get to have an equal number of members on the committee because they lost an election and there are consequences.
As the GWB investigation continues, Carroll said that Republicans in the Assembly wanted a chance to get to look through documents so they would not be blindsided, but Democrats did not agree.
Carroll said that he has yet to figure out why there is a committee investigating the lane closures. He said that he does want to know what happened, but that the question should be how taxpayers’ money will be spent on the investigation.
“The question is how many hundred of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money are we going to drop on Illinois counsel in order to discover the why, when that might be as easily found by the attorney general or by the United States attorney,” said Carroll.
Carroll said that even though he is on the committee, he is on it not because he agrees with it, but to make sure to the right prospective is taken on the investigation.
After working with the committee chairman, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, for about 18 years, Carroll says he has no complaints but that no one is going to mistake Wisniewski for a non-partisan. As for the committee, Carroll said that it was not a bipartisan endeavor.
“How can you possibly come to an alternative conclusion given that we were not involved in any of the resolution drafting, in the rules drafting and the deciding who gets subpoenas, even voting on that, voting on counsel. No, it’s not a bipartisan enterprise,” said Carroll.
Recently the investigative committee sent out 20 subpoenas for several members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and the Port Authority. Carroll said that not all were necessary and that at least two or three subpoenas should have gone out, including to Bridget Kelly, Bill Baroni and Bill Stepien.
Carroll said that he would like to see the GWB investigation come to a conclusion soon.
“I just want to get the story done and get it done tomorrow because I’m tired of waiting around. We’re part-time legislators spending weeks or months or what have you is a huge imposition on our time,” Carroll said.