Sources: intensified talks around legislative committee examining Bridgegate spark backroom interpretations

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie’s that’s-a-wrap call today to the Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) examining Bridgegate laid bare those underground arguments in the halls and chambers of the Statehouse about how lawmakers should proceed.

“Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is the co-chair of the committee and, as I have said in the past, I will rely on her leadership and the work of the committee to determine when the SCI’s investigation is over – not on the governor’s opinion,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) (pictured).

But even as Christie denounced the SCI and urged an end, sources say Sweeney’s very recent inquiries into the committee’s actions have lawmakers and others close to the investigation questioning the senate president’s commitment at this point.

Sweeney allies say that’s bogus, a misreading of the powerful Democrat’s intentions.

One source close to the committee, however, said that SCI’s co-chairs, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), want to issue a new round of subpoenas, which the Senate Majority Office isn’t exactly putting on rush deliver.

Throughout the Statehouse, party sources differ on Sweeney’s motives for calling a meeting in the last week to find out what SCI is doing.

One source interpreted the senate president’s interest as front office pressure from the governor, who’s gearing up for a presidential run and doesn’t want the albatross entanglements of Wisniewski, Weinberg and company.

Another source said no, Sweeney simply wants information, deriding the notion that the senate president wants to impede SCI as part of a high stakes deal-making process with the governor.

For his part, Wisniewski said he is confident in the senate president’s support.

“Legislative leadership has in the past expressed support and I will expect that support to continue,” he said.

As for Christie’s call to him to cease and desist, Wisniewski said, “The committee will wrap up as soon as we have answers. Who authorized Bridget Kelly to send that email and for what purpose?

The co-chairman of the committee said the irony is that the governor is using the protections of executive privilege to stonewall the committee. Consequently, “Of course we can’t get answers to the questions we want answered,” Wisniewsi said.

Sources: intensified talks around legislative committee examining Bridgegate spark backroom interpretations