Amid declarations that the joint legislative committee tasked with investigating Bridgegate has “exonerated” Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing with their midterm report, which is making the rounds today, committee co-chairs Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) released the following statement, arguing that their work “is not done.”
“This interim report will mark a key step in this investigation into this abuse of government power and threat to public safety, and is an example of the checks-and-balances vital to our democracy. If not for this work, the public may never have become aware of this threat –and this abusive behavior could have continued.
“Those who criticize this work with partisanship will not stand the test of history.
“The report was released before Monday’s meeting without authorization. The document produced by Reid Schar is a summary of work completed and an interim report. We were not able to interview key players due to the ongoing U.S. Attorney investigation into the Christie Administration and our decision not to provide any witnesses with immunity. Providing immunity would have allowed us to interview individuals with more direct knowledge of what occurred, but would also have sheltered them from charges related to any illegal conduct the U.S. Attorney found.
“We look forward to Monday’s meeting, and further work by this committee, as the committee is not in a position to conclude what Governor Christie knew about the lane closures or when and how his knowledge of these events developed. There are also still questions about what the Governor knew and his comments during his Dec. 13 press conference. And we still have questions about the texts exchanged by Regina Egea and Governor Christie that were later deleted.
“What is clear, though, is the governor’s office showed a curiouslack of curiosity to mounting indications that serious harms had been inflicted on thousands of New Jersey motorists for political rather than legitimate policy reasons.
“We also now know that governor’s office staff on occasion blurred the lines between their official state functions and campaign objectives. This erodes public trust and confidence.
“We are reserving further comment on the content of the report for the full joint committee meeting Monday. All committee members will also have an opportunity then to publicly comment on the report. Our work is not finished.”
The 136-page report, leaked to the public late last night, found that after a yearlong investigation the committee is not currently in a position to conclude what Christie knew about the lane closures, which had the streets of Fort Lee gridlocked for several days in September 2013 in what many assumed to be a politically-motivated stunt — though it does stress that “many critical questions… remain unanswered” in the investigation.