Republicans On Bridgegate Panel Are Getting Angrier and Angrier

Matt Katz, WNYC | April 30, 2014 | Katz on Christie

The Republicans on the New Jersey Legislature’s Bridgegate committee are getting angry.

“The committee’s leadership and operations have demonstrated that the committee’s purpose turned from an inquiry into the clearly flawed inner-workings of the Port Authority, into a political vehicle designed to damage the governor’s standing and popularity,” the Republicans wrote in a letter Wednesday to Democratic leadership.

They want more members on the committee, a Republican co-chairperson and “equal access” to documents.

The first two requests seem unlikely to be met, and the third is contentious.

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, a Republican, says she found out about a subpoena to Christie aide Matt Mowers five days after the committee issued it. But  Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democratic co-chairman,  says Schepisi is misunderstanding a date on the draft of the document. All committee members, he said, were informed on Monday, the day before the subpoena was issued.

Schepisi also claims that the committee requested documents from Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, but she only found out about this after the committee received those documents. Wisniewski’s response: The documents came through the committee attorney’s normal investigation and not as part of a subpoena.

And Schepisi says she has to drive to Trenton — 89 miles from her district — to view the committee’s legal bills. Even then, she is supervised. It was easier and faster to find out the current costs from a reporter, she said. But Wisniewski said Republicans should be more concerned with the far higher costs of Christie’s lawyer, Randy Mastro. Those bills have yet to be released.

The committee has testimony scheduled for next Tuesday, but Schepisi doesn’t know how that meeting will work. It’s a “committee of one,” she argued. “It’s almost like a John Wisniewski for Governor tour.” Schepisi says she watches MSNBC to find out if new subpoenas are being issued.

Wisniewski asked: “What is their point? Do they have an objection to Matt Mowers being subpoenaed? Have they ever articulated that? We discussed all these names in executive session. What substantive comment do they have about the material received? What substantive direction do they want the committee to go in?”

“They’ve continually leapt to conclusions,” Wisniewski said. “And they don’t ask questions.”