New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) recently declared that he’s done with his multiple ongoing scandals. The obvious follow-up question, of course, is whether Christie’s scandals are done with him.
The New York Times first reported Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into potential securities law violations over a repair project for a New Jersey skyway.At issue is whether the Christie administration requested funds from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – which were supposed to be used to fund a rail tunnel under the Hudson River – to go toward fixing up the Pulaski Skyway three years ago, both the Times and NBC News reported. The Times noted that the skyway was outside the purview of the Port Authority, since it is operated by the state of New Jersey.As msnbc reported in January, Christie’s cancellation of the Hudson tunnel project sparked controversy in the state. It also freed up $1.8 billion from the Port Authority, which was used to fix up the skyway and other roads in New Jersey.
Keep in mind, this isn’t related to the Christie bridge scandal that federal prosecutors, a federal grand jury, and a state legislative panel are looking into.
Rather, this is another Christie bridge scandal that criminal investigators are exploring.
From the New York Times’ report:
The inquiries into securities law violations focus on a period of 2010 and 2011 when Gov. Chris Christie’s administration pressed the Port Authority to pay for extensive repairs to the Skyway and related road projects, diverting money that was to be used on a new Hudson River rail tunnel that Mr. Christie canceled in October 2010.Again and again, Port Authority lawyers warned against the move: The Pulaski Skyway, they noted, is owned and operated by the state, putting it outside the agency’s purview, according to dozens of memos and emails reviewed by investigators and obtained by The New York Times.
The governor’s team didn’t listen, pushing “relentlessly” to redirect the funds. In one instance, the governor even said publicly that New Jersey would use on Port Authority funds on the Pulaski Skyway before an agreement was in place to do so.
In one especially damning instance, the Port Authority describing the Skyway reconstruction in bond documents as “Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements.”
It’s worth noting that there might be some connection between the related controversies. As WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein explained on the show back in February, “What we are learning increasingly is that this scheme was part of an effort by Governor Christie to use the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a giant bi-state agency, really as an additional arm of this government and a political wing to solve his political problems.”
That was in reference to the George Washington Bridge scandal, but it apparently has broader applicability.