New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner Jamie Fox was a lobbyist for United before entering his current position in 2014. Yesterday, the CEO of United Jeff Smisek resigned as the airline undergoes a federal investigation for the Bridgegate scandal.
Fox—who liaised with Port Authority during his time lobbying for United—has released no statement referencing his history with the embattled corporation. And, according to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who approved his nomination, he should not be expected to.
“He fully disclosed the details of what his lobbyist practice was in his application to the judiciary committee,” said state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36). “At this point in time I am confident that he made full disclosures to the judiciary committee and I am not sure what else he would need to do.”
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. Like Sarlo, she believes that Fox’s disclosures before entering his new role are enough and that no public statement is necessary.
“Before the governor nominated Jamie Fox as transportation commissioner, he knew that Jamie worked for his own lobbying firm which happened to represent United Airlines,” Weinberg told PolitickerNJ. “It was not anything that was kept under the radar screen. When he was working as a lobbyist, he was a lobbyist, now he is the transportation commissioner. Those are two different jobs. I don’t know what he would owe an explanation about.”
According to state Senator Bob Smith (D-17), any connections Fox has to the Port Authority scandal—if they exist—will come out in the investigation.
“Right now all you can do is speculate because the only ones who know are the individual involved, the company involved and maybe the prosecutors involved,” Smith said. “If there is anything to know regarding the Port Authority, we should know. There will be a full public accounting of everything regarding the Port Authority issue.”
United’s CEO resigned amid claims that the airline navigated a flight route from Newark, N.J., to South Carolina to meet personal travel needs to the agency’s former chairman, David Samson.