Following revelations today which allegedly show the Governor’s office was well aware of a plan to abruptly shut down several lanes at the George Washington Bridge in September, Democrats are taking the Governor to task, saying it was a move done for political revenge.
“This GWB debacle is shameful abuse of political power,” says Speaker Sheila Oliver (D- Essex, Passaic). “It should have never happened and must never happen again. Fort Lee residents were used as pawns by the top members of the Christie Administration in an obvious and disgraceful political retribution scheme. The people of New Jersey deserve clear answers on why this happened.”
Oliver added, “I am proud of the investigation carried on by Assemblyman Wisniewski thus far. We must continue to investigate and see how far up the ladder it goes.”
The agency abruptly closed two out of three upper-level toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge, causing heavy delays in Fort Lee.
The move, according to revelations today, was an attempt to get back at Buono voters.
Barbara Buono, who ran against Christie for Governor, released the following statement today:
“Right now, we have no idea how far this scandal goes. The Governor has created a culture where cavalierly endangering citizens’ lives to exact political retribution is an acceptable form of governance. It’s beneath the dignity of his office and a breach of New Jerseyans’ trust.
“Everyone who had knowledge of the closing should be terminated immediately and the Department of Justice should conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether other towns in New Jersey suffered because the Governor wanted to get revenge.”
Assembly Deputy Speaker and Transportation Committee Chair John Wisniewski released the following statement regarding subpoena documents that appear to indicate that top Christie administration officials ordered the controversial closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge:
“This is a sad day for New Jersey and a sad day for politics.
“The Governor has a lot of explaining to do.
“Mr. Wildstein has repeatedly been painted as the fall guy in this controversy but based on the documents released today, clearly that isn’t so. This is all the more reason why his appearance at tomorrow’s transportation committee hearing is necessary. His testimony can help fill in many blanks.
“Based on the Governor’s previous response regarding his knowledge of the lane closures, either he doesn’t know what’s going on in his front office or he is lying. Given the tight control this administration keeps on the reigns, there are a lot of open questions that remain.
“We still have much more to learn and this committee will continue to seek answers. I want to thank Assembly Speaker-elect Prieto for vowing to continue this investigation when the new legislature reconvenes next week,” said Wisniewski.
UPDATED 5:15 PM: The Governor released the following statement in response to the allegations:
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said. “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”