Assembly OKs new merged SCI to look into 'Bridgegate'
By Bill Mooney | January 27th, 2014 - 2:23pm
| More

TRENTON – Amid allegations of partisanship, the Democrat-led Assembly today OK’d the formation of the joint Legislative Committee on Investigations to pursue answers regarding last year’s George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Following the Senate’s vote, the lower chamber approved the resolution ACR10/SCR49 by a vote of 70-0  but not before wrangling again over issues of equal access to documents and the scope of the committee’s investigation.

Democrat John Wisniewski, co-chair of the new panel, said that this enables both houses to cooperate in an efficient manner to investigate abuses of power at the Port Authority. “We have a lot of questions we need to have answered,’’ he said.

But Republican Dave Rible raised questions about immediate equal access to documents, an issue Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi raised when the Assembly SCI was created on Jan. 15.

Wisniewski said today as he has before that the committee will use the same process prior investigative panels used.  He said that this process would help prevent public release of “damaging,’’ but unrelated documents.

Republican Amy Handlin, one of the GOP committee members, said having co-chairs is a step in the right direction, but recommended a Republican person be named as a third leader of sorts. “It would prove that this effort is more than a witch hunt,’’ she said.

Wisniewski shot down any suggestion of some “neutral third-party tie-breaker.”

“There is no need to change the format that we’ve used.’’

Republican BettyLou DeCroce then took issue with the resolution wording that would give the SCI broad power to look into areas other than just the Port Authority. “It appears that the committee is going to look into the Hoboken matter,’’ she said, a reference to Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that the administration tied Sandy recovery aid to a development approval.

Wisniewski’s response: “We can’t predict what other information will come before the committee. We need to use all the tools that are at our disposal.’’

Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, another of the GOP committee members, said he was one of the prime sponsors of the resolution to investigate the Port Authority, but he too had reservations about partisanship, based on how the sole meeting of the now-defunct Assembly SCI was conducted.

Wisniewski countered that Republicans are trying to have it both ways: They want documents released immediately to the entire committee, but they also have raised cautionary flags about documents being released that could be damaging to people not connected to this investigation.

But Republican Gregory McGuckin said it is not fair that the committee co-chairs and the Office of Legislative Services will have access to documents first and then they will be given to the rest of the members.

Addressing all of the GOP criticisms, Democratic Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said, “This is not a witch hunt.  We know one thing. There was an abuse of power. We don’t know how deep it goes.”

Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said that “The Republicans in this chamber will support this continued investigation to get to the bottom of what appears to be very disturbing emails and text messages.”

But he said that the GOP would be abrogating its responsibilities as a minority party if it didn’t insist on  fairness and bipartisanship.

The Back Room

Stung in NY, Astorino says Christie should think about stepping down as RGA chair

Dissed by Gov. Chris Christie, New York Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Christie should consider stepping down from his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Assocation.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 22nd

  Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich has died Union County today mourns the loss of the longest-serving sheriff in New Jersey history, who died last night at the age of 83. (Editor/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/77506/union-county-sheriff-ralph-froehlich-has-died     Cryan serving as acting Union County sheriff, poised to run in November ...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed to restore balance in election financing

By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups.  But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >

Contributors

The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(7-16-14) Casinos in Jersey City, Not Sports Betting - Just as the US. Supreme Court was saying no to sports betting in New Jersey, a former Reebok chief executive... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »
New Jersey 2014 Primary Day Recap (6/4/14) - By the numbers. Worth the read for those interested in GOTV targeting and ballot position logistics.... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"As soon as you step into the lake on foot or in a boat, you're in the state's domain. I feel bad for the snake, and I hope it gets rescued before it dies when it gets cold. It didn't mean to get let out there. This snake should be one thing we can get together on and not worry about party affiliation. Unless the snake's a Democrat." - Republican Mount Arlington Mayor Arthur Ondish

- PolitickerNJ

Poll

Do you think Gov. Chris Christie's RGA travels benefit New Jersey?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources