TRENTON – State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) sat in the front row of Gov. Chris Christie’s news conference on Thursday where he said that the state Select Committee on Investigation examining the Bridgegate scandal should disband. Weinberg’s response to the governor was equally upfront.
“[Christie] didn’t say anything that he hasn’t voiced before. If I were him, I’d want it wrapped up, too,” said Weinberg, the co-chair of the committee.
During his news conference, Christie specifically pointed to the eight months that the committee has investigated the scandal stemming from the September 2013 access lanes closures at the George Washington Bridge, saying that the committee’s work has “found absolutely nothing.”
But Weinberg indicated that the volume of information involved, as well as the concurrent federal Bridgegate investigation, has made the process painstaking.
“There are a lot of documents to review, and there are key people that we are not calling because we’ve been respectful of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Weinberg said. “But have we found out a lot? Yes. We have no plans to disband.”
Weinberg also asserted that the investigative process has led not just to discovery, but change.
“There is a new chairperson at the Port Authority,” Weinberg said, a reference to the resignation of former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson and his replacement with new chairman John Degnan. “You think that would have happened had it not been for this committee?”
“Everybody is waiting to find out what and when U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is going to do anything. If something comes out of that investigation, depending on what it is, we obviously will have the appropriate reaction,” Weinberg added. “Meanwhile, we are moving ahead on Port Authority reform. Today, a bill (S-2181) was released sponsored by [State Sen.] Bob Gordon (D-38) and myself that calls for much more transparency and accountability on the part of the Port Authority. [A version of] the bill passed unanimously in the New York Legislature. We feel that it is very important to put this into law.”