Governor Chris Christie yesterday called on the New Jersey Press Corps and law enforcement agencies to deploy the same aggressiveness towards Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the co-Chairs of the Legislative Committee that investigated the George Washington Bridge scandal, that they have applied to him .
At issue are emails released by Wikileaks on Monday that indicate that the Democratic National Committee was writing press releases for Weinberg to call for Christie to resign as governor when he was named the Chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. Christie said that he believes the DNC was communicating with Weinberg and Wisniewski during in early 2014 when they were conducting their inquiry in the the Bridgegate scandal and that the investigation’s purpose was to forward the DNC’s political agenda at New Jersey taxpayers’ expense.
Taking questions for the press following an announcement regarding New Jersey students’ PARCC scores, Christie said:
” …You think somehow, when he (Wisniewski) is the former state Democratic chairman, and at that time serving as part of the Democratic National Committee, that he wasn’t contacted by these people, that he wasn’t being told what to say and what to do, that they weren’t orchestrating the political attacks that were going on? Come on. We all live in the real world, and the fact is that if this were me and these emails were from the RNC to me you people would be all over me like nobody’s business, as you should be. Where is it with Senator Weinberg? Where is it with Assemblyman Wisniewski? Listen guys, I got a year and a half left, but you have a job to do, and so do the law enforcement leaders in this state who, if public money was involved in this, that Assemblyman Wisniewski and Senator Weinberg need to be held accountable, and I will continue to say that for as long as I stand behind this podium. You want to hold me to that standard? Absolutely. I am happy to be held to that standard, and by the way, have been held to that standard by all of you and probably above that standard, so I’m not going to put up with all of you and the appropriate law enforcement authorities not holding them to the same standard. ”
Christie stopped short of calling for newly confirmed Attorney General Christopher Porrino to conduct an investigation.
Weinberg and Wisniewski later denied coordinating the Bridgegate investigation with the DNC, according to published reports.
Christie lamented the fact that members of the legislature are not subject to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and that therefore he can not order copies of Weinberg and Wisniewski’s emails with DNC during the 2014 investigation.
Weinberg and Wisniewski could very well be telling the truth about not having emails from DNC related to Bridgegate during the period of the investigation. The public campaign against Christie at the time was driven by American Bridge 21st Century SuperPAC, not the DNC. American Bridge is led by Susan McCue, the former aide to Senator Harry Reid and an ally of South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross.
Christie named McCue to the Rutgers Board of Governors in December of 2014 after she spent the year beating him up. McCue went on to lead the SuperPAC effort to unseat Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande from the State Assembly representing Monmouth County’s 11th District.