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GOP leader wants probe into Newark school spending

According to recent reports, the Newark school district spent $22,000 a month for 15 months on takeout food and catered meals. The top Republican in the Assembly said he wants the Select Committee on Investigation to brush aside its probe of Bridgegate and investigate the Newark scandal instead. That is not likely to happen.

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Assembly Chamber at the Statehouse
(Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). “If this is how money is being spent for takeout food and catered events can you imagine what other waste there is?”

For months, the SCI has been investigating the unannounced lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September. Some Democrats feel the lanes were closed in Fort Lee to punish that city’s mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s reelection bid. Christie has denied any involvement and the committee has yet to link the governor to the scandal.

“We have an investigatory body in effect that’s spending over a million dollars investigating allegations about Bridgegate. They could easily turn their attention to a subject that saves people by investigating the Newark situation and beyond,” Bramnick insisted.

The wasteful spending in Newark is one reason why the public loses confidence in government and the way it spends education dollars, Bramnick said. The SCI will not be doing what Bramnick is asking according to a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats.

“The minority leader is so twisted up that he can’t decide whether he wants the committee to stop its work or expand its scope, but in all seriousness the committee’s first obligation has always been the terrible threat to public safety and abuse of power surrounding the GWB lane closings. That important work remains ongoing,” said spokesman Tom Hester Jr.

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