The New Jersey State Legislature today voted to merge two committees investigating the George Washington Bridge traffic jam scandal into one joint committee. The newly formed committee will have subpoena power, the power to require and attain sworn testimony from witnesses, and the authority to examine correspondence, according to Reuters, Jan. 27, 2014.
Allegations of abuse of gubernatorial power will be a focal point of the investigation by the twelve member committee of eight Democrats and four Republicans. The chair of the committee, Democratic Assembly member John Wisniewski, said that as answers to each question were found, that "many more questions arose."
Governor Christie has promised to cooperate with investigators who are looking into allegations that Christie administration officials deliberately caused the now infamous traffic jam nicknamed the "Bridgegate Scandal." Christie has denied any involvement in any effort to close lanes or cause traffic congestion, which allegedly was motivated by a desire to punish the Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for not having supported Christie's re-election campaign in 2013, even though Christie won the gubernatorial campaign in a landslide election.
As a result of the traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, emergency vehicles, including ambulances, were not able to get through traffic and access to victims was delayed. This delay resulted in the death of one elderly woman who could not be reached by the paramedic crew on its way to rescue her as she suffered from cardiac arrest.
No matter the legal ramifications of this matter, the political ramifications are likely to be harder to overcome in the long run. The "Bridgegate Scandal," in conjunction with the now emerging Hoboken scandal in which Governor Christie is at least implicated in a possible collusion plot to withhold Sandy Relief funds in return for the Mayor's support for a comfy real estate deal, threatens the Christie political legacy at its foundations.
This will be a story to follow and we will be there keeping you up to date every step of the way.