On the heels of Gov. Chris Christie’s second-term inauguration, the state Assembly is set to vote on creating special bi-cameral committee to investigate the George Washington bridge scandal that already has lead to Christie’s inner circle.
Assembly Democrats announced Thursday that the lower chamber will convene in Trenton at Noon on Monday to vote on a measure creating a joint Senate-Assembly committee to probe the abrupt lane closures that gridlocked Fort Lee for nearly a week in September.
The move signals a coming together for Democrats after both chambers separately created their own investigative committees last week, each with subpoena power.
Only the Assembly committee, however, was seated. Chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, the committee issued 20 subpoenas to Christie insiders and top brass at the Port Authority. Records demanded by the committee are due back Feb. 3.
"This is the optimal approach to ensuring the people of New Jersey get the answers they need to these questions about the abuse of government power," Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen), has said in a release.
The new committee, under the bill to be discussed Monday, creates a 12-member Select Committee on Investigations. Like the previous committees, it will be made up of eight Democrats and four Republicans -- five Assembly Democrats, three Senate Democrats, three Assembly Republicans and one Senate Republican.
Under the joint committee, Wisniewski would co-chair with Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen. But the joint panel will retain the former Assembly committee’s legal counsel, Reid Schar, the former assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Blagojevich’s is serving a 14-year federal sentence for corruption after he was found guilty of soliciting bribes for political appointments, including the 2008 vacant U.S. Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama, while he was governor.