Lawmakers in New Jersey’s General Assembly could send out a fresh round of subpoenas as early as Thursday afternoon in the scandal that has consumed Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) told TPM on Wednesday evening that the Assembly plans to vote on Thursday at noon to formally establish a special committee to ramp up the investigation of the scandal. The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. and Wisniewski, who will chair the committee, said subpoenas were “likely to follow thereafter.”
Wisniewski declined to say who would receive the subpoenas.
“I’m not going to give out the names tonight because there’s a long list and the folks who are the targets of those subpoenas should find out when they get them,” he said.
Wisniewski declined to discuss whether Christie himself could be subpoenaed by the committee. He pointed out that, thus far, documents obtained through subpoenas have not contained any evidence that Christie played a part in the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that are at the heart of the scandal.
“I’m not going to go there. I mean, we don’t have any basis to say that,” Wisniewski said when asked whether the governor would receive a subpoena. “We don’t have any basis to go on that. … It’s just sensationalism to say we may do that because that’s the headline, ‘Committee May Subpoena Governor.’ … We follow the facts wherever they lead us and we’re not going to turn away from following the facts because of any one person.”
The New Jersey state Senate is also due to establish its own committee to investigate the lane closures Thursday. Wisniewski said he plans to “try and work collaboratively with our colleagues in the Senate.” However, he declined to discuss details of how the committees would operate and whether they might subpoena testimony and documents from the same sources.
“I don’t know that those fine granular details have yet been determined,” he said.
Though he said the subpoenas may come as early as Thursday, Wisniewski would not give a timeline for when the committee might hear testimony from witnesses. He said that was because he is unsure about how long it will take for the committee to obtain documents from various officials involved in the closures.
“It’s hard to say. I can’t give you a date because we don’t know how much we’re going to get,” said Wisniewski. “We don’t know if we’re going to fight to get it.”