POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Republicans Criticize GWB Investigation

By Brenda Flanagan
Correspondent

While Gov. Chris Christie makes a spirited defense of his ability to govern — scandals notwithstanding — Republicans criticized the investigation into the controversial lane closures on the GWB, especially the governor’s helicopter ride.

“We were stunned, because it was never discussed,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi.

Schepisi’s one of four Republicans on the Joint SCI probing the scandal. A log of Christie’s chopper flights that first week of September is among 18 additional subpoenas
the SCI issued yesterday — on top of the original 20.

“So him merely being in the helicopter on 9/11 I don’t personally believe proves anything,” said Schepisi. “Our concern was, why are we jumping the gun and issuing a whole new slew of subpoenas when we don’t yet have the information that we originally requested?”

The new subpoenas include some repeats: the governor’s office and his reelection campaign; and Bill Baroni — former deputy executive director appointed by Christie to the Port Authority, who later resigned when the scandal broke. The list also includes several additional Port Authority officials, and assistants to Baroni and David Wildstein.

“Executive assistants sometimes are the ones who do the emails, or write the letters and the notes or the phone logs,” said Sen. Loretta Weinberg.

Committee Co-Chair Weinberg says the second round of subpoenas also targets Port Authority Commissioner Pat Schuber. Weinberg had written him a letter asking about the lane closures.

“Commissioner Schuber did call me and he did say, ‘I’m gonna get to the bottom of this.’ And it’s now almost five months later,” Weinberg said.

Concerning Christie’s helicopter trip, State Police issued a statement today, noting, “None of the three flights transporting the governor during that week flew over, or close to either the George Washington Bridge or Fort Lee, including the flight on 9/11.”

New Jerseyans can expect more fireworks. A battery of high-octane lawyers hired by some of the subpoenaed subjects say they plan to fight it out in court before they surrender the requested documents.