Christie's campaign, NJ GOP face federal subpoenas

Potential charges for traffic jam could include conspiracy, official misconduct or obstruction
Associated Press
Jan 25, 2014

 

Gov. Chris Christie's re-election campaign and the New Jersey Republican Party have less than two weeks to comply with subpoenas from federal prosecutors investigating allegations of political payback.

Subpoenas to the Christie for Governor organization and the Republican State Committee were disclosed Thursday, the same day the Republican governor's campaign announced it had hired a Washington, D.C., law firm in the case.

The subpoenas from the U.S. attorney's office are evidence of an escalating criminal investigation into allegations that Christie's aides created traffic jams in a town with a mayor who's a Democratic adversary. Earlier in the month, Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said his office was reviewing the matter "to determine whether a federal law was implicated."

The federal subpoenas are due Feb. 5. A state legislative committee also is investigating. Its subpoenas for correspondence from 20 Christie associates and organizations are due Feb. 3.

Christie, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, was New Jersey's U.S. attorney before stepping down in late 2008 to run for governor.

Federal prosecutors refused to comment Thursday. Christie, in Camden to talk about a school dinner program, left without taking questions. The governor's office and re-election staff did not return messages seeking comment.

The governor's top political adviser, Bill Palatucci, said it's "wildly premature" to speculate on how the scandal will impact Christie's political future.

"Lots of folks in different states have seen similar situations, and their favorite politician gets through it," Palatucci said Thursday at a gathering of the Republican National Committee in Washington. "They all expect (Christie) to do well also."

The Republican Governors Association announced Thursday that Christie, who is chairman of the group this year, would be fundraising in Massachusetts, Texas, Utah and elsewhere in coming months. The release of a vague travel schedule followed a call from recent Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli that Christie resign from the post.

Traffic lanes approaching the George Washington Bridge were closed without prior notice in September, creating traffic gridlock in Fort Lee, a town at the base of the bridge. Some of Christie's aides initially said the closures were part of a traffic study, but emails and text messages turned over to legislators suggest it may have been payback for the mayor.

Four people close to Christie have been fired or resigned as the scandal has unfolded, including Christie's two-time campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly.

Kelly sent an email — "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" — that seemed to give the plan the go-ahead.

Stepien appeared gleeful over the traffic chaos that ensued, according to emails, sent mostly from private accounts that were subpoenaed and have since been made public.

Legal experts have told The Associated Press that charges could range from conspiracy and official misconduct to perjury or obstruction.

They said the easiest charge to bring might be conspiracy, given that documents have shown several people working together to shut down a road for apparently illegal purposes.

If the purported traffic study was produced in an attempt to conceal political retribution, the experts said, obstruction charges could be brought.

Comments

Contango

Re: "The subpoenas from the U.S. attorney's office,"

Perhaps Gov. Christie should just ignore 'em or refuse to comply like A.G. Holder and the Obama admin. does with Congressional (The People's) requests for information?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Executive privilege, eh? As Mel Brooks said, "It's good to be the king." Though in all honesty I heard the bridge was closed because of an isolated protest to a YouTube video. It's not a big deal, not like anyone died right?

On a serious note, while I am not necessarily against this investigation as what happened was highly improper (and petty if for the reason of political revenge even if only by a staffer), I can't help but wonder why our Federal government is bringing all guns to this fight and are sitting on all thumbs with other events.

deertracker

Someone did die and what events are you referring to?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes, someone did. A 91 year old woman who was in cardiac arrest and unconscious even before 911 was called and whose daughter doesn't believe the jam (or lack thereof) had any effect on her mother's death. Which I will say again, never should have happened and those responsible should be held accountable.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/09/us...

But how many questions do we as a population have over any number of other issues? Selective enforcement of laws by our Executive branch (or its presumed power to legislate either by non-enforcement or by a certain "pen and phone"), societal issues that aren't getting addressed in a meaningful way, or how about the FBI stating in followup to the "targeting" of political groups:

"...found no evidence of 'enemy hunting' of the kind that had been suspected, but that the investigation did reveal the IRS to be a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules that IRS personnel did not fully understand. The officials indicated, however, that the investigation is continuing."

The IRS, by the way, is now also in charge of overseeing your compulsory compliance with the ACA. What else can we give them to mismanage in our lives?

The Big Dog's back

For someone who hates Gov, I wouldn't expect anything else from you.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I don't hate government, I hate overreaches. I hate waste. Government serves certain functions. I respect that. There are things that only it should (or some cases could) do. I have zero problems with those necessary functions. I pay taxes to preserve those functions and on a local level have participated in governance.

But, when it does things it doesn't "have" to do? When there is ceaseless and wasteful tweaks to programs that will never work? Yeah, go figure I have a problem with that. I have problems with inefficiencies and people/programs that are held onto because they were someone's pet project instead of being proper for the time and region.

I have a problem when people who aren't elected make laws and regulations for things and people they will never know from hundreds of miles away and spanning all manner of diverse regions and populations. I have a problem when the burden on government is so great that (in this case) the FBI calls out the IRS as bungling and then the IRS is GIVEN MORE WORK to do over our individual lives!

Do you have no problems with any of this? Do you see no waste, fraud, or abuse? You can't trust Walmart, but our Federal government are all perfect angels?

What is your ideal government?

Truth or Dare

Next stop Ohio, for info. regarding JobsOhio, and what's being done with $$$'s received for the renting out of the Governor's mansion for things such as private weddings, let alone the tax-deductible $$$'s received to host a Civil War era Ball at our State Capitol.

wetsu

That stop is well overdue.

Steve P

Feds go after Christie, I am not a fan of his for a traffic jam, ignore Obama & Hillary for Benghazi, pays to lie..

coasterfan

Steve: apparently you didn't get the memo. A bi-partisan investigation this past week put to rest all the silly Republican conspiracy theories related to Benghazi. Let's put Christie under the same microscope and see how he fares.

Bullying seems to be a prerequisite for being a serious GOP presidential candidate these days (see: Mitt and college hazing/haircut issue, dog on the car roof during family vacation). Basically, it's a systemic lack of empathy for anyone they consider an "underling", ranging anywhere from 47% (Mitt) to 99% (Koch Brothers).

I think I'll stick with the party whose candidates actually stand up for the little man, rather than stepping on their throats, as Republican leaders do. Christie seems far better suited for an episode of The Sopranos, anyway...

Contango

Re: "Benghazi"

"But what also happened, extremists and terrorists used this (video) as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya."

- Pres. Obama, 9/18/13

It was a video right?

So why'd the Brits and the Red Cross earlier pull out?

So why did Amb. Stevens TWICE refuse Gen. Ham's offer of security?

KURTje

Truth or Dare please no facts here...to many small minds will hate you.

deertracker

It amazes me how you guys still want to put the blame on The President and Clinton for Benghazi but have yet to put any blame on the actual attackers!

JACKEL

Who ignored the request for help in advance. What the heck do you think the responsibilities of The Secretary of state is? Remember you are dealing with the most corrupt families in this country. Slick Willy shouldn't have even been elected, he was under federal indictment for draft evasion. These people are worse than The Kennedys !I bet if The Crazy Muslims were kneeling on the bridge all day it wouldn't have made the news !

Contango

Re: "but have yet to put any blame on the actual attackers!"

"We are intent on capturing those who carried out this attack. And we're going to stay on it until we get them."

- Pres. Obama, Aug. 9, 2013

Still waiting...

Dr. Information

Funny deer, you want to put all the blame on the 1 percent, but have yet to put any blame on the majority of lazy people who dint want to work. Owned you again.

coasterfan

Well, they're silly to bring up Benghazi, anyway, since it was Republican leadership that denied the request for additional funding for security at Benghazi just before the incident (bet you don't hear that mentioned on Fox...). The bi-partisan commission also found that our slain ambassador bore some of the responsibility.

Darwin's choice

Still spewing your chit, liar!

Obama is the biggest failure in presidential history!

But you keep cheerleading. Troll

And, you incredible azzhat, your demorat party has had since 9/11/12 to polish this terd, and now your blaming the victim??? This is an incredible new low, for even you, blowjob king!

The Big Dog's back

Boy you go berserk when confronted with the truth.

Contango

Re: "security at Benghazi"

So why did Amb. Stevens TWICE refuse Gen. Ham's offer of security?

The Big Dog's back

You tell us pooh.

Contango
The Big Dog's back

And your point?

Contango

Asked and answered. Go chase your own tail.

JMOP's picture
JMOP

It wouldn't surprise me if the RINO was corrupt, he's been schmoozing with the best. Obama.

sugar

Christie's romantic beach stroll with obama left Conservatives cold, he leaned left with his bi-partisanship tack, now he had no one coming to his rescue except the establishment Republicans. Did he honestly think the left and the MSM was going to not go after him? He blew it, not that I care though.

OSUBuckeye59

Ah yes . . . politics at its (sic) best. The GOP investigates the Benghazi attack ad nauseam so now the Democrats want to investigate the Bridge fiasco ad nauseam. While in other news, our federal debt just keeps growing like kudzu yet the only work our so-called "leaders" are doing is digging up and making public any and all dirt on their respective opposition party.

Obama's message of "Hope & Change" to all of us turned out to be "Fibs and Frustration" instead, all the while Congress acts like a group of 4-year old's long overdue for a nap. Zero accountability reigns in D.C. Love our country but sorely wish I could replace most of our federally-elected officials.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Agreed.

"All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests." - George Washington

Contango

Re: "George Washington"

The first and BEST POTUS.

H*ll, the guy didn't even want the job!

America's Cincinnatus.

The Big Dog's back

In a 100 years they will be saying the same thing about Obama.

Contango

Re: "Obama"

Unless he does something 'incredibly stupid,' in 100 yrs., his admin. will be a historical footnote.

In 500: Who?

KURTje

Who knows the real truth here? Similar to Clinton/Voinovich air-runway crying.