Senators Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and John Wisniewski (D-19) are asking for the Attorney General to request a partial refund for the $10 million in taxpayer money that went to the firms conducting the investigation into the Bridgegate scandal. Claiming that the firms commissioned by Governor Chris Christie to conduct the investigation did not abide by Outside Council guidelines, Weinberg issued a public letter to the Attorney General describing an alleged conflict of interest.
Pointing to a federal judge’s opinion in December that Gibson Dunn had acted improperly in overwriting witness interviews from the investigation into possible wrongdoing by the governor himself, Weinberg and Wisniewski want for firms Gibson Dunn and Stroz Friedberg to pay the state back.
“These violations entitle the taxpayers to reimbursement of $2.8 million paid to the firms – $545,783 of which was paid to Gibson Dunn, and $2.3 million paid to Stroz Friedberg, which was obtained as a third-party firm through Gibson Dunn. We are asking the Attorney General to immediately seek repayment from these firms of the inordinate amount of taxpayer money paid in violation of the state’s own rules,” Weinberg wrote.
“It is unacceptable that the taxpayers of New Jersey have been forced to foot the bill for work that was not only of questionable quality but that clearly violated the state’s own guidelines and practices.”
While Judge Susan Wigenton declined to issue a subpoeana of the witness interviews, Weinberg quoted from opinion from the end of that case in the letter.
“The taxpayers of the State of New Jersey paid GDC millions of dollars to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation,” Wigenton said. “What they got instead was opacity and gamesmanship. They deserve better.’
See the full letter, along with itemized expenses from the investigation, below.