NJ Democrats combine traffic jam probes

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File-This Jan. 23, 2014, file photo shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressing a gathering at the Dudley Family School in Camden, N.J. New Jersey Democrats are set to pool their resources by merging separate legislative investigations into allegations that Christie’s aides blocked traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge to create backups in a nearby town to punish the Democratic mayor. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

File-This Jan. 23, 2014, file photo shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressing a gathering at the Dudley Family School in Camden, N.J. New Jersey Democrats are set to pool their resources by merging separate legislative investigations into allegations that Christie’s aides blocked traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge to create backups in a nearby town to punish the Democratic mayor. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Democrats have voted to merge separate legislative investigations into allegations that Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s aides manufactured traffic jams as political payback.

The state Assembly and Senate voted Monday to establish a joint bipartisan committee with power to subpoena people and correspondence related to the traffic scandal and other matters. The two chambers had been conducting parallel investigations.

Chicago lawyer Reid Schar will serve as special counsel to the panel of eight Democrats and four Republicans.

Co-chairs of the committee say the focus is on finding out who ordered the blocking of two lanes of traffic near the George Washington Bridge, leading to hours-long delays in the town of Fort Lee, at the base of the span.

The U.S. Attorney’s office has launched a separate investigation.

Associated Press

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