Christie Facing Dual Investigations on Bridge Scandal and Sandy Aid Ads
As he prepared to deliver today’s State of the State speech laying out his vision for the year, Gov. Chris Christie’s troubles seemed to multiply yesterday.
According to an excerpt obtained by The Star-Ledger, the speech will include ambitious proposals such as a longer school day and shorter summer vacations, but whether the message will get through or gain wide support in a Statehouse consumed with the latest developments in the bridge scandal remains to be seen.
Both houses of the state Legislature yesterday announced plans to create powerful committees to investigate the September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, and federal auditors said they will review the state’s use of Hurricane Sandy aid for TV commercials starring the governor.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington said it will examine the awarding of a $25 million contract that trumpeted the Jersey Shore’s recovery. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) said he asked the federal government to investigate in August, after Christie and his family began appearing in "Stronger Than the Storm" TV ads at the height of the recent election campaign.
Christie’s spokesman downplayed the concerns about the ads and said the federal inquiry was standard.
But state Democrats remained focused on the bridge scandal, many believing it was now at Christie’s doorstep. The Democrats contend that people close to Christie orchestrated a traffic jam at the bridge to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Christie’s bid for re-election.