What if U.S. Attorney Takes Over Bridge Probe? [AUDIO]
The full state Senate and Assembly are set to vote on a measure establishing a bipartisan, bicameral, 12-member committee to continue the investigation into the ongoing Bridgegate scandal, but some feel U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman should take over the probe.
The state's top Democratic lawmaker has some thoughts on the notion of stripping the legislature of any role.
"If the U.S. Attorney comes in and says, 'I got this,' I think we have to respect the fact that he is the U.S. Attorney, but he has not done that at this point," said Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). "I'm sure the U.S. Attorney, if he has any issues with what we're doing, he'll reach out and let us know that."
On Monday, both houses of the legislature are expected to vote on legislation creating an Assembly-Senate joint investigatory committee. It will focus on questions surrounding the decision to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee without any warning, and concerns about the possible abuse of government power.
"We're going to see where this takes us," Sweeney said. "We're in a process where we're an investigative body and honestly, this could complement the U.S. Attorney also. This wasn't on the U.S. Attorney's radar until Sen. (Loretta) Weinberg (D-Teaneck) started showing up and some meetings and asking, 'How come?'"
If both houses approve the enabling legislation, the new joint panel would have subpoena power and utilize the special counsel already brought on by the Assembly, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar. The committee would be co-chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) and Weinberg.
The 20 subpoenas issued last week by the Assembly Select Committee on Investigations remain pending. They seek documents and materials by Feb. 3.