Bridgegate Panel Alleges Christie Fear Factor [POLL/AUDIO]
After roughly five hours of sworn testimony Tuesday, the Democratic co-chairs of the joint legislative committee probing the Bridgegate scandal said one thing is becoming increasingly clearer: the Christie administration operates through fear.
Christina Renna, Gov. Chris Christie's former director of Intergovernmental Affairs, admitted under oath that she did not send information she related to September's unannounced George Washington Bridge lane closures up the administration's chain of command. She said one reason was, she was worried about getting fired.
"Ms. Renna testified that she was worried about her job," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), co-chair of the Select Committee on Investigation. "There were reasons why she did not challenge Bridget Kelly or raise questions with Bridget Kelly, because she was concerned for her job. That's a very disturbing development because it really says that we have a government that is run by intimidation."
Kelly was fired in January as Christie's deputy chief of staff after the governor learned she was the author of the now-infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email. Renna said Kelly requested that she delete an email from Kelly that was related to the Bridgegate scandal. Renna deleted it from one account but saved it in another, and told the SCI on Tuesday she didn't share that information with others for several weeks.
This isn't the first time a legislative committee has heard testimony from those afraid of losing their jobs. Members of the Port Authority made similar claims several months ago.
"That's the theme that we're seeing being played out here," said SCI co-chair, state Senate Democratic Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck). "So, we're talking about an atmosphere (and) an environment."
Christie has always denied that there is a culture of fear and intimidation in his administration.