Monday, December 22, 2014

Mounting 'Bridgegate' Investigations Undercut Christie's Clout

Today, as embattled Gov. Chris Christie prepares to deliver his fourth State of the State speech to a packed Assembly Chamber, the state of the state is severely troubled, and the charismatic, hard-charging governor's political clout and ability to punish his enemies will most likely never be the same.

Mounting 'Bridgegate' Investigations Undercut Christie’s Clout

Today, as embattled Gov. Chris Christie prepares to deliver his fourth State of the State speech to a packed Assembly Chamber, the state of the state is severely troubled, and the charismatic, hard-charging governor’s political clout and ability to punish his enemies will most likely never be the same.

A week ago, Christie was the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, poised to declare New Jersey’s record of bipartisanship a model for a bitterly divided nation in his State of the State speech. He was set to celebrate his immigrant roots at Ellis Island at his made-for-a-campaign-ad second Inaugural, and pop in for a celebrity interview at the Super Bowl at Giants-Jets Stadium where air time is $8 million a minute.

Today, it’s all different.

Today, when Christie gives his speech, “it will be mostly the same speech he was going to do -- a call for a tax cut, job creation, Sandy recovery, getting New Jersey back on track -- but without the bravado about teaching Washington to be more like New Jersey,” said Monmouth University political scientist Patrick Murray.

That's not a likely lesson when his administration is facing investigations into Bridgegate by two legislative committees armed with subpoena powers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Port Authority Inspector-General’s Office, a U.S. Senate committee, and possibly the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. A federal agency is probing the propriety of the $25 million federally funded “Stronger Than The Storm” Sandy ad campaign in which he starred, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is deciding whether to find the first of his aides to testify in Bridgegate to be in contempt of an Assembly committee for taking the Fifth Amendment more than 30 times.

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