Republican lawmakers on Monday accused Democrats of unlawfully leaking documents during the legislative probe into the 2013 New Jersey lane closures at the George Washington Bridge and cast the committee's work as overtly political.
The four Republican members of the Democrat-led legislative panel probing GOP Gov. Chris Christie's connection to the traffic jams unveiled their own 119-page report Monday, just before the panel approved releasing the group's report to the public.
"Legislative Select Committee co-chairs John Wisniewski and Loretta Weinberg pushed the boundaries to advance their own political ambitions and what can be characterized as the dream agenda of national Democrats: to tarnish a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate," the Republicans said.
Wisniewski said Republicans were unhappy about the report "so they came up with a distraction."
"They're going to accuse just about everybody on the committee of having some taint or some disqualification to try to distract attention away from the facts," Wisniewski said.
"There is nothing in this report that has been manufactured by anybody," Weinberg said. "The report stands for itself and to answer it with a personal attack on members of this committee without discussing what they want to refute, if anything, in the report was clearly in my opinion inappropriate."
Republicans say confidential documents and information was routinely leaked to the media and "destroyed the credibility of the committee and its ability to carry out fair proceedings." Several media outlets, including The Associated Press, obtained the legislative committee's report last week after it was released to lawmakers.
The GOP lawmakers said that they are turning their report over to the state attorney general and that lawmakers on the panel may have violated laws during the investigation.
At the start of the hearing, Wisniewski called the 12-member committee's interim report a "shining example" of legislative oversight.
That report says no evidence has been found showing Christie played a role in the scheme to close lanes or that he knew about it as it happened. Supporters of the governor say the report clears him, while his opponents say it shows a lack of curiosity about how his administration is run.
It's not likely to be the final word on the matter. The U.S. attorney also is conducting an investigation.