Michael DuHaime, a top political adviser to Governor Chris Christie, has been asked to furnish documents to a New Jersey legislative committee investigating intentional lane closings at the George Washington Bridge.
DuHaime, 41, is a Westfield-based partner in Mercury Public Affairs LLC, whose website describes him as lead strategist for Christie’s 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial elections.
A subpoena he received today from the Select Committee on Investigation, a 12-member bipartisan panel in Trenton, requests documents involving “abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power including, but not limited to, the reassignment of access lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the George Washington Bridge.”
In a telephone interview, Marc Mukasey, an attorney representing DuHaime, confirmed receipt of the subpoena.
“He has not been asked to testify but to supply documents, which he will do, notwithstanding the fact that this is a ridiculous fishing expedition,” said Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who works at New York-based law firm Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. “Mike DuHaime has no knowledge of or involvement in the lane closures. There is nobody who contends that he did. This is a total waste of taxpayer money.”
Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Democrats who share chairmanship of the legislative committee, said in a statement that the subpoena is part of its “continued, bipartisan investigation.”
“The committee will follow the facts to get the truth,” they said.
Lawmakers investigating the jam have examined thousands of e-mails, text messages and memos among some Christie aides and allies, including staff members in the governor’s office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge between Fort Lee and Manhattan.
DuHaime was mentioned in a report commissioned by Christie which concluded that the governor, a 51-year-old Republican, had no advance knowledge of a plot to close the lanes at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.
The March 27 report by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP placed the blame on Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff for Christie, and David Wildstein, former director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority.
In August, Kelly e-mailed Wildstein, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein replied, “Got it.” As the jams began on Sept. 9, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, asked Port Authority officials whether he was being punished for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
Christie in January fired Kelly and cut ties to Bill Stepien, who ran his campaigns in 2009 and 2013. Stepien’s name had surfaced in e-mails that derided Sokolich.
DuHaime met Wildstein at a Westfield coffee shop Nov. 11, according to the Gibson Dunn report. DuHaime said that Wildstein told him that both Stepien and Kelly knew about the bridge plan.
In a conversation later between DuHaime and Stepien, Stepien said Wildstein had devised the plot and told him about it beforehand. DuHaime, according to the report, considered the closings a “bad idea.”
Stepien, Wildstein and Kelly all invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to speak to the legislative panel. The closings also are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.