New Jersey Dems form special committee to investigate Christie

New Jersey Democrats on Monday said they are forming a special committee to investigate the bridge scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).

State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), who’s leading the investigation, on Monday said the assembly will vote Thursday to renew its subpoena authority in the case, according to PolitickerNJ.com

Once that power is renewed, he said subpoenas will likely be issued to Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepien, the governor's former campaign manager.

“Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien are the two most likely individuals,” Wisniewski said of those who might be subpoenaed.

He said a special committee will be created to look into the scheme in which top aides to Christie appear to have created a four-day-long traffic jam by closing down several lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Wisniewski will head the committee.  

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“This investigation ... has grown into a much larger investigation that has led us, by following emails, into the governor’s office,” Wisniewski said, adding that they’ll “follow the facts wherever they lead us.” 

The bridge scandal threatens to hobble Christie ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016, and Democrats are seizing on it to raise broader questions about the governor's leadership style.

Emails released last week showed the closures were an act of political revenge by Christie aides against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who didn’t endorse the governor for reelection.

Kelly was Christie’s deputy chief of staff at the time, and was fired last week when Christie learned she was involved. Stepien was Christie’s former campaign manager, and was poised to become the head of the state’s Republican Party until the governor learned of his involvement and ordered him to back out.

Incoming Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) said the special committee was needed because the issue that was initially one just about transportation, nd that it's transformed into a larger question about the Christie administration.

“This has become larger than a transportation issue and that’s the reason that we’re creating this super committee,” Prieto said. “Obviously this trail may lead to something else.”