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ELEC to consider Christie campaign request to use, raise funds for subpoena response

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Gov. Chris Christie during a Jan. 9 press conference to discuss the allegations surrounding the GW Bridge scandal.
Gov. Chris Christie during a Jan. 9 press conference to discuss the allegations surrounding the GW Bridge scandal.

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Trenton to consider a request from Gov. Chris Christie's campaign seeking permission to use and raise funds to assist in responding to subpoenas received from both the Joint Legislative Select Committee on Investigations and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The commission received the request last month from Mark Sheridan, the attorney for Christie's campaign. In a letter to commissioners, Sheridan wrote that without permission to use campaign money in a postelection setting, the campaign "will find itself without the means necessary to respond to the subpoenas and will arguably face contempt charges from the JSCI and civil or criminal contempt charges from the US Attorney."

Sheridan notes that the campaign received both subpoenas on Jan. 17 requesting emails, text messages, instant messages and other examples of electronically stored data related to the closure of local lanes at the George Washington Bridge last September.

In order to fully comply, the campaign will have to retain a vendor as well as pay its attorneys' fees, Sheridan wrote.

"Our goal is to assure that the JCSI and the US Attorney have access to all of the information they require and that no relevant documents or data are lost," Sheridan wrote. "Complying with these requests will be a costly and a time-consuming process."

Currently, the campaign has roughly $126,608 on hand, Sheridan said.

Speaking last week on Townsquare Media's monthly "Ask the Governor" radio program, Christie confirmed that his office had received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney in addition to one from the legislative committee.

Though legislative subpoenas were due last week, only a few were returned as most opted for time extensions. Former campaign manager Bill Stepien and ex-deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly have announced that they will refuse to supply documents and invoke their Fifth Amendment rights.

Legislators have since been examining the subpoenaed documents that were returned in a secure room inside the Statehouse.

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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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