New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) former campaign manager, who found himself out of a job in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal, has a new position at a top Republican consulting firm, Politico reported on Tuesday.
Bill Stepien accepted an offer late last month from FLS Connect, where he will help with “sales and strategy on its voter contact products,” according to Politico. Based in St. Paul, Minn., FLS Connect advertises itself as having worked for “the last five Presidential Campaigns, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senate Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and hundreds of Republican candidates and State Parties across the country.”
“FLS Connect is excited to have Bill Stepien join our team,” Sheila Berkley, the company’s president, told Politico in a statement. “His extensive national experience and knowledge will be an asset to our clients and our company.”
Stepien ran both of Christie’s gubernatorial campaigns, and was an up-and-coming operative until the January release of documents showing that he had participated in email conversations with officials in the aftermath of the September lane closures. The closures caused a multi-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., and many believe that they were carried out for political reasons. Following the release of the documents where Stepien appeared, Christie asked him to leave his role as a consultant to the Republican Governors’ Association, and to take his name out of the running for chairman of New Jersey’s Republican Party.
Stepien is also currently involved in a court fight with the New Jersey state lawmakers who are investigating the lane closures. He and another former Christie aide, Bridget Kelly, have refused to comply with subpoenas for documents they have received, and have both invoked their Fifth Amendment rights.
On Monday, in response to a request from Stepien’s attorney, the legislative committee investigating the closures turned over to a state court a number of additional documents related to the lane closures. Among the documents is a text message Stepien sent in November to former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive Bill Baroni, thanking Baroni for testimony he gave before state lawmakers that has since been discredited.
In response to the public release of the documents, Stepien’s attorney, Kevin Marino, issued a statement arguing that the documents go against the committee’s position that Stepien is a key figure in the scandal.
“The documents released today — as distinct from the familiar rhetoric that attended their release — thoroughly discredit the Committee’s desperate attempt to paint Mr. Stepien as a central figure in the lane closure controversy,” Marino said.