Source: NJTV (video) -
Both houses were unanimous in creating the select committee. But Republicans complained about unequal representation, unequal access to documents and unequal access to the special counsel the Democrats hired.
“What I just heard is that the co-chairs are gonna get the documents first, they’re going to review them with OLS, and then decide when we will have the opportunity to see them,” said Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin.
The Democrats promised a fair process, but Republicans pressed on. One suggested that in addition to the two Democratic co-chairs, a third person — a Republican — be added.
“It wouldn’t add to the cost of the investigation in any way. But it would prove that this effort is more than a witch hunt. It would give everyone on both sides skin in the game,” Assemblywoman Amy Handlin said.
“This is not a witch hunt. We know one thing for certain, there’s been an abuse of power, we all know that. What we don’t know is where the abuse of power began and how deep it goes,” said Assemblyman Louis Greenwald.
For now the committee will be focused on the GWB lane closures.
Republicans wanted to know if it would extend into the Hoboken mayor’s allegation. And they wondered what would happen if the U.S. Attorney’s Office asks the legislature to hold off on certain
witnesses, since it too is investigating.
Committee co-chair Assemblyman John Wisniewski offered no assurances.
“When the Transportation committee started, we didn’t think we’d be looking at an email from Bridget Kelly, to close lanes, so for us to guarantee where the work of the committee will go is foolish,” Wisniewski said. “And what I’m hearing are suggestions after suggestions on how we ought to tie the hands of the committee for fear we might find something we don’t know.”
While the vote in the full houses was unanimous, the committee vote to approve organizational rules broke down 8 to 4, with all four Republicans voting no.
“We’re very concerned about the seemingly partisan nature of this undertaking. We were not involved in the drafting of this resoultuion, we were not involved in the drafting of the committee empowering resolution, our concerns were ignored, they voted down on party lines,” said Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll.
“We saw broad agreement on the concept of doing an investigation and then we see a lot of disagreement about the way this is implemented,” Wisniewski said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or on Feb. 3 when we receive these documents, but you’ll have a fair voice and heard voice as any other member of this committee,” said Sen. Loretta Weinberg.
It was all about process today. Unspoken, but hanging in the air, the political standing of a governor.