One of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s jobs as this year’s head of the Republican Governors Association is to help elect more GOP governors, but don’t tell that to people working on Astorino’s campaign.
“Chris Christie has done diddly squat to help the Astorino folks,’’ said a highly knowledgeable Republican insider.
“Either Christie has formed an unholy alliance with Cuomo in the aftermath of the Bridgegate scandal or he’s preoccupied with running for president. Either way, New York Republicans are noticing it and they’re unhappy about it,’’ the insider continued.
Last fall The Post disclosed that Christie had encouraged Astorino to challenge Cuomo and pledged his support — but that was before the politically damaging Bridgegate — which involved closing down George Washington Bridge lanes in Fort Lee to retaliate against a Christie political foe.
A prominent New York Democratic operative, meanwhile, told The Post, “The word on the inside of Democratic circles is that Christie has been working to help Cuomo, perhaps by providing some strategic advice.’’
We know that Cuomo and Christie have collaborated at least two times in an "unholy alliance" of Port Authority governors.
The first was the sham show they played over bridge, tunnel and PATH increases in which they colluded to push for the increases behind the scenes while publicly claiming they were trying to hold the increases at bay.
The second was when Christie called Cuomo over the Bridgegate scandal, as was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.
We know too that nothing happens at the Port Authority, even on the New Jersey side, that Andrew Cuomo isn't aware of.
And we know that Cuomo has some complicity in the Bridgegate case. Zack Fink wrote this at Salon in May:
It hasn’t been a great few weeks for New York governor Andrew Cuomo. He got in a public spat with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for closing down an anti-corruption commission, his budget was roundly criticized by many in his own party, and a new poll shows him losing serious ground to his Republican opponent if he gets a challenge on the left.
But another unwelcome development for the governor flew mostly under the radar, and has national implications. While the George Washington bridge scandal focused exclusively on the role of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the bridge is controlled by a joint New York-New Jersey bi-state authority – and last week Cuomo’s hand-picked Executive Director of the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, was issued a subpoena by the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the flap.
Investigators believe there are omissions in the carefully crafted timeline put forth by the Cuomo Administration about what they knew about the lane closures, and how they responded. ”Lots of questions need to be asked to fill in the blanks,” the committee’s Co-Chair John Wisniewski told Salon.
In a worst-case scenario, Cuomo’s version of events could come under great scrutiny and cause a number of new political and legal headaches. In a best-case scenario, he can no longer simply wave off questions about the issue as merely a New Jersey problem – and his office’s communications may now be exposed to investigators.
As I wrote back in May, this much is clear about the Christie/Cuomo relationship:
A) Cuomo knows more about the scandal than he is letting on
B) He's hiding when he learned about the closures and what he did after he learned about them
C) His Port Authority guy, Patrick Foye, is covering for him
Cuomo and Christie colluded to raise bridge/tunnel tolls and the PATH fare and as the Salon piece makes clear, they are on friendly terms, have met for dinner, and may have colluded on more than just the Port Authority fare and toll hikes.
It's time to find out if Cuomo helped Christie from his end in any way in this GWB scandal.
Here's hoping the NJ legislative committee looks to find out and whets the appetite of a US attorney in either New York or New Jersey to look more into Cuomo's complicity in the GWB mess.
With Astorino's campaign now alleging that Christie may be helping Cuomo behind the scenes for re-election, that Cuomo's using Bridgegate to keep Christie from doing his political duties as head of the Republican Governors Association to elect a Republican governor of New York, I think it's high time we get some light on just what Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's role in the Bridgegate cover-up has been.
What did he know about the closures?
When did he know about the closures?
Who told him about the closures?
What did he do with that information?
What did he tell Christie over the phone when Christie called him to turn down the heat on the Bridgegate investigation from the New York side?
What other conversations have Cuomo and Christie had about BridgeGate?
Something funky seems to be going on here and I only hope that one of the prosecutors looking into this mess is scrutinizing Cuomo as much as Christie.