New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's ballyhooed and ridiculed "internal" investigation into Bridgegate, which was taxpayer-funded and which found Christie innocent of any wrongdoing, has not been received by the public and the press like the governor likely hoped. And now, after weeks of criticism and calls for greater transparency, the team behind the report has decided to release some (not all) of the documents associated with the so-called investigation. If they were hoping such a release would bolster their claims of independence, though, early reactions to the documents show they, too, have reason to be disappointed.
Here's the latest out of New Jersey concerning the Garden State's embattled governor:
- The Star-Ledger reports that documents released by the team responsible for the Christie-clearing internal inquiry show the governor was interviewed by three people, one of whom was Debra Wong Yang, a close friend of Christie's. How close? Their families have previously vacationed together and Christie, when he was U.S. attorney, once steered a lucrative government contract her way. Yang was never the sole or lead interviewer, however.
- Another revelation from the notes going public: The New York Daily News reports that Christie worried more members of his staff were involved with Bridgegate than has been discovered thus far. Christie, according to the Daily News, was concerned that involvement with Bridgegate was much more widespread than known, and that his firing of Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien would not be enough to distance himself from the incident.
- In non-Bridgegate news, a new Quinnipiac poll finds about half of New Jerseyans approving of the governor's handling of post-Sandy cleanup and recovery. Complaints about the speed of the recovery process have been prominent at many Christie town hall meetings throughout 2014. Quinnipiac finds his approval rating in this regard dropping from around 85 percent a year ago to about 51 percent today. Christie's still better-rated on this issue than is FEMA, though, so at least he's got that going for him.