NJ Senate President Rejects Maddow’s Alternate Bridge Scandal Theory

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) on Friday dismissed an alternate theory that was floated by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow about the George Washington Bridge scandal.

“That’s a real conspiracy thing, right?” Sweeney said, after TPM described to him the gist of Maddow’s argument.

On her Thursday night program, Maddow suggested that the target of the lane closures, which led to a massive, multi-day traffic jam in the town of Fort Lee, N.J., was not the town’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich. In recent months, many Democrats have speculated that Sokolich was retaliated against because he did not endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) re-election bid last year.

Instead, Maddow suggested, the lane closures were prompted by Christie’s bitter fight with Senate Democrats over re-appointments and nominees to the state Supreme Court. The cable news host pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s (D) district includes Fort Lee. She also noted that a key moment in the Supreme Court fight happened the day before one of Christie’s aides sent a now-infamous email that read: “Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

But Sweeney, who said he did not see Maddow’s program, rejected the theory.

“That can’t be part of that, that can’t be,” he told TPM, referring to the Supreme Court fight, later adding: “Whoever said that has a very creative imagination.”

Sweeney suggested that now that federal prosecutors are looking into the bridge incident, the truth about the lane closures will eventually come out.

“They’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: