Carroll, Schepisi Slam Transparently Partisan Beginning to Assembly Bridgegate Investigation
The legislature’s formal inquiry into Bridgegate is off to an ignominious start, Save Jerseyans, surprising no one (or at least not this blogger).
Republican committee members are fuming over it but are likely no less surprised by the Democrats’ hyper-partisan approach.
I touched base with Asm. Michael Patrick Carroll on Thursday evening, one of four GOP members of the specially-created Assembly Special Committee on Investigation (SCI) tasked with probing the Bridgegate affair, to see if he thought Chairman John Wisniewski was being fair to both the Republican and Democrat panel members during Thursday’s inaugural meeting…
“It’s somewhat distressing to find that outside counsel — from Illinois — has been hired by the Speaker and the Chairman without even consulting the members of the committee,” Carroll said. “The organizing resolution provides the Chairman with immense, essentially unchecked power. We were not consulted about the contents of the resolution; it was handed to us right before the meeting, and our entirely reasonable suggestions for amendments were voted down on a party-line vote. At least for today, the spirit of bi-partisanship did not extend to taking Republican concerns very much to heart.”
The primary amendment, proposed by Asw. Holly Schepisi, would have added the following critical language to the resolution: “All members of the Committee shall have equal access to books, papers, correspondence, other documents and materials, and electronic records and date received by the Committee.”
“Responding to my questions on the floor of the Assembly, Chairman Wisniewski gave the impression that this would be a fair and non-partisan committee,” the Assemblywoman complained in a Thursday night press release. “I am frustrated and disappointed that my proposed amendment to ensure that did not pass. I received assurances that this will be an impartial and balanced process as we move ahead. Despite the rejection of my proposed amendment, I respectfully hope the chairman keeps his word. Only by working together in bipartisan fashion can we properly serve the people of New Jersey.”
In addition to expressing completely justified outrage over a committee that doesn’t allow all committee members to consider the relevant evidence, Asm. Carroll also shared with Save Jersey that he’s less-than-sure whether each of the twenty subpoenas issued by the SCI on Thursday were entirely necessary.
“I question whether this committee is really necessary, because its purpose is not entirely clear, vis a vis the ‘Bridge-gate’ matter,” he continued. “We are not prosecutors and lack the right to punish wrongdoing. So, if there are credible allegations of wrongdoing, those should, in the first instance, be investigated by the officers with the authority to address crimes or ethical violations. It is not clear to me what it is that we hope to learn, and to what legislative use we might put the information.”
It’s looking like we know the answer, Save Jerseyans: Democrats intend to use whatever information they discover for purely political reasons. Shocker. Or not.