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More subpoenas coming in GWB scandal; U.S. Senator says there was 'zero evidence' of traffic study

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Assembly member John Wisniewski is chairing a committee that is investigating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
Assembly member John Wisniewski is chairing a committee that is investigating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. - (Facebook)

Just hours after voting unanimously to create two separate committees to continue investigating the September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, both the state Senate and the Assembly have made it clear they intend to issue more subpoenas in the widening scandal.

Assembly committee chair John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) wouldn't provide a list of possible targets but did say the committee intends on issuing 20 subpoenas, three of which are for groups. Wisniewski said it wouldn't be fair to those receiving subpoenas to first hear about it publicly through the press.

"This is the next logical step in our investigation into this threat to public safety and abuse of government power," Wisniewski said. "We have many unanswered questions about what happened here, who was involved and why. I am confident these subpoenas will shed more light on this situation, and I look forward to cooperation from all parties."

Meanwhile, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), chair of the Senate committee, told Salon.com in an interview Thursday afternoon that her committee will be subpoenaing Port Authority Chairman David Samson, authority Commissioner Pat Schuber and Gov. Chris Christie's incoming chief of staff, Regina Egea.

Though the committees were established through unanimous support in both houses, state Republicans expressed concerns in their respective chambers about the process being bipartisan and transparent. In the Assembly, questions were also raised over the choosing of special counsel Reid Schar without bipartisan input.

The seven-member Senate committee includes three Republicans while the 12-member Assembly panel has four Republicans.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, issued a statement about receiving a requested letter from the Port Authority about the closures. Rockefeller said the authority's response provided "zero evidence that the purpose of these closures was to conduct a legitimate traffic study."

Christie spent Thursday in Stafford Township for a Superstorm Sandy event but declined to take questions. He has not spoken with reporters since last week's press conference addressing the issue.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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