Rogue Political Operatives? Highly Unlikely

Posted on January 9, 2014


At 7:34 am on August 13, 2013, Bridget Anne Kelly, Governor Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff, wrote in an email to the director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Gov. Christie appointee David Wildstein, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein responded at 7:35 am, “Got it.”

August 28, 2013 – Wildstein emails Kelly and asks her to call about Fort Lee.

August 30, 2013 – Kelly responds in email that she will call him that day.

September 7, 2013 – Wildstein emails Kelly telling her that he will call her Monday “to let you know how Fort Lee goes.”

September 9-12, 2013 – two-to-three toll lanes are closed for the first four days of school, unbeknownst to Fort Lee government officials, first responders and emergency workers creating queues of vehicles more than 600 deep and snarling traffic for hours.

After five months of denying a problem existed, making fun of the situation and yelling at reporters who kept asking probing questions about the GWB traffic issue, and one day after the Kelly and Wildstein emails were discovered, Governor Christie called a press conference to read prepared remarks apologizing to the people of New Jersey for the traffic mayhem. Christie was much more angry that someone lied to him… and the scapegoat was Bridget Kelly, whom he fired on January 9th.

This brings me to the big question: Why would Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein, who plead the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination during today’s NJ legislative hearing, go rogue and create traffic Armageddon in Fort Lee without Governor Christie’s tacit or expressed consent – which is what Governor Christie argued during today’s presser?

The short answer is that they wouldn’t.

Kelly is a 41-yr old, mother of four, who has been involved in NJ Republican politics for the past decade. In 2010 she was hired by Governor Christie as the director of legislative relations, and was promoted last April to her deputy chief of staff position. Working for Governor Christie, who is/was the 2016 GOP Presidential front-runner, Ms. Kelly is two years away from winning the political operative lottery – working in the White House. Why would she conspire with Wildstein in a way that would jeopardize a potential west wing office? That makes no sense.

At the very least, Chris Christie created a culture where political retribution was condoned and even celebrated by his minions. This culture may have led the political operatives that surround the Governor to perform such acts as to shut down three lanes of the GWB in retribution for Fort Lee or Jersey City’s Democratic Mayors not providing support to Governor Christie.

At the worst, Chris Christie ordered political retribution and is lying about it.

Where is the truth? It’s probably somewhere in the middle, but it will be fascinating to watch this unfold and to watch Chris Christie fight for his political life.