Port Agency Acknowledges SEC Probe Reportedly Tied To Christie’s Office

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The BridgeGate scandal is still unfolding, but more trouble is brewing at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The agency acknowledged Thursday that it is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation over work reportedly connected to Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) office, according to The Bergen Record newspaper.

The disclosure was tucked into one paragraph of a 228-page report released to potential buyers of the agency’s bonds. According to the Record, the SEC is looking into the Port Authority’s justification for using $1.8 billion “to pay for New Jersey road repair projects at the urging of the Christie administration.” The projects include the $1 billion upgrade to the Pulaski Skyway bridge.

The Record has reported that Christie administration pressured agency officials and Port Authority lawyers to come up with a “creative legal justification” to get around state laws governing how the agency spends money. And while Port Authority officials initially resisted, the agency eventually claimed that the roads in question were access roads to the Lincoln Tunnel. According to the Record, the SEC is “positioned to investigate whether the Port Authority misled investors and bondholders when it stated in official documents that the project was authorized and was connected to one of its facilities.”

Christie has said he is confident that if the SEC reviewed the projects “they’ll come to the same conclusion that those dozens of lawyers came to on both sides of the Hudson River.”

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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