A Bi-Partisan Bridgegate Committee? [AUDIO]
Even before one joint Senate and Assembly Committee was formed to investigate the Bridgegate scandal, Republicans were worried they wouldn't have equal access to all information.
Subpoenas were set to be answered Monday, but an undisclosed amount of extensions were granted and it's unclear when information will be made public. The four GOP members of the investigative panel wrote a letter to the Democratic co-chairs formally requesting to be completely involved in the process and the co-chairs agreed.
"We're concerned about the availability of documents for the minority members," explained committee member, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Plains). "Right now, the documents go to OLS (the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services) and only the two chairs of the committee are technically entitled to se them and we feel it's important that we get the same opportunity."
The calls for equal access to information are not new. Republicans began them immediately after voting to support a resolution to create the 12-member, bi-partisan, bi-cameral committee.
"To the extent that a crime may have been committed, no Republicans are going to defend a criminal," Carroll said. "We're not going to be out there trying to prevent the truth from coming out and therefore we should be treated as equal participants in this undertaking to discover what the truth is. We should not be treated as potential hindrances or adversaries."
It appears all the Republicans had to do was ask, albeit several times. In a reversal of their previous position the Democratic co-chairs of the committee have agreed to grant equal access to all information. Yesterday, they wrote a letter to all members of the panel.
"All documents will be available for review in Room 381, third floor of the State House Annex on a rolling basis as soon as OLS can prepare them for inspection following receipt thereof," wrote State Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). "All members of the committee and/or a designated legislative aide will be allowed to review the documents on-site. Committee members and their designated legislative aides may not copy or remove the documents from the document room."