NJ Lawmakers To Launch Joint Senate, Assembly Committee To Investigate Christie Scandal

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The New Jersey General Assembly and Senate plan on Tuesday morning to announce the creation of a special joint committee dedicated to investigating the scandal that has fallen on Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration, a source in the State House confirmed to TPM.

The establishment of the joint committee, which was first reported by NBC News’ Michael Isikoff, will be announced at a press conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Last week, the Assembly and Senate established separate committees to investigate the closures, which caused days of gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J. Some Democrats have alleged the closures were ordered by allies of Christie as retaliation against a mayor who declined to endorse him.

The chairs of the two separate committees, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) and Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) will co-chair the new joint committee, which the source said will have “12 or 13 members.”

Wisniewski and Weinberg have both said their investigation could widen to include allegations made over the weekend by the mayor of Hoboken, N.J. The mayor alleged that allies of the governor had threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city unless she approved a development project favored by the governor.

Christie’s inauguration is being held Tuesday, and his swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., just one hour after the press conference announcing the joint committee. The source who spoke to TPM said the timing was coincidental and reflected when negotiations between the Assembly and Senate concluded.

The source said the legislature would likely be called into session on Thursday to pass the resolution establishing the joint committee. Last week, the two separate committees issued subpoenas to 21 individuals and organizations including Christie’s office, his re-election campaign committee, and several of his close aides. The source said the joint committee would likely initially work with those 21 subpoenas and would not be issuing any new subpoenas.

This post was updated to reflect that the announcement and inauguration were planned for Tuesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

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