New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie's Administration abruptly cancelled meetings and cut ties with Jersey City's Democratic mayor after he declined to endorse the governor's re-election campaign, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Star Ledger and others.
This comes after emails and other documents released last week proved that top aides to the governor worked with his appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge in retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee. That mayor also declined a request to endorse the governor’s re-election. The lane closures disrupted thousands of motorists over four days ... and at least one person died after emergency response times doubled.
The documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal through a public records request showed communications between Mr. [Steven] Fulop and Christie administration staff members arranging the meetings in June and July, until the commissioners all canceled one meeting after another. ...
Bridget Anne Kelly, a senior staffer to Mr. Christie, was involved in the lane closures, and also appears in emails documenting the administration arranging meetings for Mr. Fulop. ... On July 18, Mr. Fulop was informed by his aide that four commissioners had canceled the meetings. No explanation was given, according to the emails. On July 19, Mr. Fulop was told that Mr. Baroni had canceled, and on July 22nd the last commissioner canceled, the documents show.
Mr. Fulop later sends several emails to Mr. Baroni to try and reschedule their meeting, but they aren't returned, according to the documents.
Kelly was the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie who was fired last week after the release of documents showing she gave the signal to shut down local traffic lanes feeding into the GWB: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee!"
Federal authorities are also investigating the state's use of Hurricane Sandy relief funds for a television advertising campaign that featured the governor and his family.
The revelations around the Christie Administration's hardball tactics aren't surprising. Everyone knows that Christie delights in confrontation and obstruction—this is the man who vetoed the marriage equality legislation passed by both houses of the legislature. But what is surprising: Christie was easily expected to sail to a comfortable re-election and didn't need the endorsements. What would happen in a hypothetical Christie presidency ... would he cut off heating oil assistance or delay SNAP benefit to states that didn't support him?