STUCK AT THE STARTING GATE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno face double trouble with Bridgegate and Doublegate.
By Mark Lagerkvist | New Jersey Watchdog
Long before Bridgegate, Gov. Chris Christie and his administration have quietly tried to escape Doublegate — an alleged $245,000 pension fraud involving Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
New Jersey Watchdog revealed last week that an investigation by the attorney general’s Division of Criminal Justice was virtually non-existent, producing only a secret five-page report following a 13-month probe.
Today, NJ Spotlight followed up with a comprehensive report by Mark Magyar.
Bridgegate and Doublegate spell double trouble for Christie and company. While Bridgegate has gained national fame, the details of Doublegate are still not widely known. Here is a summary comparing the two scandals:
Bridgegate is an investigation into whether the Christie Administration closed traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge as retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, who refused to endorse Christie in the 2013 election.
Doublegate began as an investigation into alleged pension fraud involving Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. It now focuses on whether the Christie administration effectively sabotaged the investigation.
Bridgegate was investigated by an outside law firm hired by the governor. The inquiry was headed by attorney Randy Mastro.
Doublegate was investigated by the attorney general’s Division of Criminal Justice. Despite an apparent conflict of interest — Guadagno is a former deputy director of DCJ — Christie did not appoint a special investigator or prosecutor.
The Bridgegate report by Mastro is 360 pages. It was publicly released and posted on the Internet here.
The Doublegate report by DCJ is five pages. It remains a secret document, despite a public records lawsuit by a New Jersey Watchdog reporter.
During the Bridgegate probe, Mastro and his associates interviewed 75 witnesses during a two-month period
During the Doublegate probe, there is no record that DCJ contacted, interviewed or took statements from anyone during a 13-month investigation.
Christie held two press conferences to discuss Bridgegate — a two-hour marathon in January and another one in March after the Mastro report was released.
Christie and Guadagno have repeatedly refused to answer questions about Doublegate.
The Democrat-controlled New Jersey Legislature has aggressively pursued an investigation of Bridgegate that has dimmed Christie’s chances of pursuing the White House in 2016.
The Legislature has essentially ignored Doublegate, which could bring the pension abuses of both Democrats and Republicans into the public spotlight.