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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript: New Jersey Port Authority Scandal


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For more, let me bring in New Jersey Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. Mr.
Greenwald who serves as the Democratic Majority Leader. Mr. Greenwald,
good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
I want you to pick up on the point that I just made. And maybe I`m wrong,
maybe they`re out there supporting Governor Christie in a very vocal
manner, and I just didn`t happen to catch it. I don`t think that`s the

Where`s the Republican support? With politicians who have got skin in the
game that have to face the public. Why aren`t they standing with the
governor vocally?

question. They`ve been very silent on this issue up until this point.

I will tell you that when we had the committee hearing last week, they did
vote to hold the witnesses in contempt took the fifth amendment from the
DRPA. And we`ll -- it`ll be very telling come Thursday in New Jersey, our
legislature reorganizes that of the elections from November an entire new
legislature that just won election will be sworn in tomorrow.

On Thursday, we are having a special session to form this special committee
to continue the investigation and to continue the subpoena power under our
chairman, Chairman Wisniewski. It`ll be very interesting to see whether
Republicans are on that vote.

SCHULTZ: Do you think Governor Christie is telling the truth?

GREENWALD: You know, Ed, I`ll tell you I`ve worked for the governor for
the last four years and in his time, prior to that in the US attorney`s
office, I have to take him at his word.

But I will tell you, as I learned from the governor when I watched him as a
US attorney, we will follow this evidence wherever it goes. The governor
himself, after interviewing his senior staff thought that he himself is
going to hold his own internal investigation. As an executive, I think
that`s the right decision to make.

But he clearly has questions. We have questions. And the truth of the
matter is, the one thing that is indisputable, there is no one who seems to
believe that Bridget Kelly ordered the lane closures herself, that she
would have that authority or make that decision on her own.

SCHULTZ: What`s your response to the story that Governor Christie called
Governor Cuomo to ask to ask him in a personal phone call with no paper
trail in the culture of this whole Bridgegate? There`s a bunch of e-mails
flying back in, where there`s over 2,000 documents here that are related to
this. Yet there`s no paper trail to a communication to the governor but
there`s a personal phone call where as Governor Christie was very -- doing
I think a pretty adorable sell job in his press conference that he didn`t
have anything to do with it.

He`s just, you know, blindsided by all of this. Yet it was on his radar
screen enough to call someone from the Democratic side of the ledger and
unequal to him to ask him for help to back off and again, he`s got to back
off in an investigation. Don`t you think that that`s a rather important
piece of information?

GREENWALD: Well, Ed, it raises a red flag. What`s so distressing about
this in itself is that I`m hearing about this as I`m listening to your show
and to lead in to this interview.

But again, the governor made a statement last week that the first he had
heard of this was at 8:50 before his press conference. What I have asked
for and I think what we are asking for is members of this committee and
following through with the legislative investigation is that those e-mails
that you just referenced be turned over without the redactions.
And the governor has preached transparency. We should see those documents
at their cleanest form.

The one thing we know, Ed, is that this process is going to be a very much
methodical and systematic approach. I don`t think the answer at this point
as much as we would all like to go the last chapter and see how the story


GREENWALD: I think we really need to see what was the root of this? The
one thing we know certainly, there was an abuse of power, how deep did it
go, who was involved, and who knew will only come across as this
investigation takes its proper form and it`s going to take a tremendous
amount of patience on everyone`s part.

SCHULTZ: We`ll the governor said in his press conference last week that he
was given a full briefing by his staff. Now, I would take that to be
plural, more than one person in the room if it is staff. And I`d be
interested to know as far as that full briefing is concerned in
relationship to the phone call to Governor Cuomo try to cool the jets and
cool the heels on everybody working on that side of the river when it comes
to the Port authority.

On the other issue of potential misuse of disaster relief funds, do you
think Governor Christie is out of bounce being involved in these
commercials, these funds for the, you know, the stronger -- they were
supposed to be used for the storm yet they were used for a tourism
campaign. What`s your response to that?

GREENWALD: Ed, you know, I know how close you are physically to New
Jersey. And you know very well as hopefully your viewers do that the
Jersey Shore is a treasure for us and it`s a backbone of our tourism
economy. It`s a .


GREENWALD: . $40 billion industry for the state of New Jersey.
So these commercials were critically important. The question is whether or
not the governor needs to participate in them to show that New Jersey was
open for business or not.

Clearly in the past, Republican members have criticized Democrats being in
commercials and saying that it wasn`t appropriate, that it was a misuse of
public dollars. Again, that was a different legislature in a different

Reality is, you know, people are going to look at this. I think again,
what`s interesting here is that there was a federal inquiry into whether or
not this was appropriate long before any of us knew about Bridgegate.
That inquiry is now turned into an investigation as to whether or not those
dollars were spent wisely. What is troubling to us as elected leaders is
that we have families and businesses that even after going through the
first season of tourism and vacationing, still are not back in their homes,
businesses that are still not up. And, you know, what`s more important
than a commercial talking about how strong New Jersey is the strength of
that industry, and the strength of the rebuilding of that tourism trade .


GREENWALD: . to make sure that as we come in a yet another budget cycle,
we`re fiscally and financially healthy.

SCHULTZ: And there were some questions about who exactly won the bid and
how the more expensive bid was taken. Were you aware of that?

GREENWALD: You know, Ed, we had heard rumors that there was a bidder that
was less than the previous bidder. But again, this is a federal
investigation that we are not ...


GREENWALD: . involved in right now started long before this.
But in any bid like this, in any state bid, we`ve reformed so much of New
Jersey`s contract in bidding malls (ph).

The reality is that there -- this should be more than just a request for a
proposal of contracting fees and going to the lowest bidder. It could also
be about who is the most qualified to do the work. But it is a reasonable
and legitimate question to ask how a bid could be selected that was almost
twice as much. And it should be more than just that one bid was going to
include the governor and another bid was not.

SCHULTZ: All right. Louis Greenwald who is the Democratic Majority Leader
-- assembly leader, I appreciate your time tonight on the Ed Show, sir.
Thanks so much for joining us.


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