By Keith Laing - 01/09/14 11:34 AM EST
The U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey is investigating allegations that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) closed lanes on the most heavily traveled bridge in the country in an act of political retribution, The New York Times is reporting.
On Thursday, Christie fired members of his administration who were found to have exchanged emails with state transportation officials about closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York.
The lane closures allegedly were ordered after the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., Mark Sokolich, refused to endorse Christie’s bid for reelection last year.
Prior to his election as governor in 2009, Christie served as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
Democrats in New Jersey have launched investigations at the state level in the bridge allegations, and several prominent leaders in Washington have called for federal inquiries.
Christie is widely thought to be a likely 2016 presidential candidate, and national Democrats have seized upon the bridge allegations to dent his image as a bipartisan consensus-builder.