inside the scandal
Here are the basics of the scandal that has embroiled Gov. Chris Christie, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016:
Q: How did this get started?
A: In September, the Port Authority closed two of three local access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., to the George Washington Bridge, which connects the two states and is the most heavily traveled bridge in the world. The closures created a traffic bottleneck in Fort Lee that has been described as the worst traffic jam since Sept. 11, 2001.
Q: How did it become political?
A: The media began asking why two of three lanes were closed and why the authorities didn’t seem to be prepared for the ensuing traffic problems. Then, Democrats began to allege that it was political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for not endorsing Christie’s re-election.
Q: Was Christie involved?
A: There is no evidence showing Christie knew about or took part in the scheme.
Q: Who was involved?
A: So far, the major players.
• Bridget Anne Kelly: Christie’s former deputy chief of staff appeared to get the ball rolling by sending an e-mail to a Port Authority official saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” She was fired Thursday.
• David Wildstein: He was the Port Authority official on the receiving end of Kelly’s e-mail, to which he responded: “Got it.” From the beginning, he was the official who Christie said was behind the “traffic study.” He resigned in December.
• Bill Baroni: He was Christie’s top appointee on the Port Authority. He resigned a week after Wildstein. Christie said Baroni failed to follow protocol in informing local officials about the study.
Q: Why would Christie’s office target a Democratic mayor for not endorsing him?