The ongoing probes of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his associates over the so-called Bridge-gate matter boil down to another example of political prosecutions that border on political persecutions.
The case involving the George Washington Bridge occurred in January, nearly a year ago, and should be open and shut by now.
Christie was recently cleared in a report by a New Jersey legislative committee of any prior knowledge of the plan to impede traffic onto the bridge by closing access lanes.
No one thinks or believes he ordered the closing of any bridge lanes. So why the worry?
It is clear that some of his aides may have acted out of political considerations in their decision to close the lanes. If that is the case, their actions were stupid, but not criminal.
We now have three continuing inquiries into the lane closings. The most significant is by the United States attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, which includes probing, or should I say “fishing,” as to whether the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge, was used as an instrument in the governor's re-election campaign.
According to press reports other investigations, by the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are looking into whether Port Authority funds were misused to help fill shortages in Christie's budget, and whether the Port Authority misled investors regarding bonds used to pay for repairs to road projects in New Jersey.
Just last week the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors have been considering charges based on a rarely used provision (the Times called it “obscure”) of a fraud law.
The prosecutors could argue that Christie aides used the bridge for a purpose other than its intended use — specifically, for political purposes.
The statute can be used against members of a government agency that receives more than $10,000 a year in federal money, such as the Port Authority, and is typically employed to elevate offenses committed by local officials into federal crimes.
Translated: the Feds really don’t have a reason to go after anyone so they are reaching, perhaps desperate.
Bridge-gate has become nothing more than a fishing expedition for Democrats out to get Christie and impede his presidential bandwagon.
The case is reminiscent of what former House Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay called the "criminalization of politics" in the decision by a prosecutor in Texas to indict Gov. Rick Perry on a "ridiculous" abuse-of-power charge.
Even Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat, recently told Newsmax that these type of political charges are an example of a "dangerous" trend of courts being used to affect the ballot box and politics.
Why the witch-hunt against Christie? Simple: He remains a very viable Republican candidate for the presidential race in 2016 and a likely winner if he were to get the nomination.
Though he would have an uphill battle for the GOP nomination, if he were to get it he would be an extremely strong contender for the presidency.
Christie is at first blush the perfect candidate, a descendant of Irish and Sicilian immigrants, a successful prosecutor, and a governor who championed and won pension and union reforms in a blue state with a blue state legislature. He also opposes crippling taxes and ticks off most boxes of the Reagan coalition.
Christie also has the most charisma of the current GOP presidential field.
His shortcoming is that he has miffed the GOP base by playing to the center and the mainstream media to win re-election in New Jersey, even criticizing Republican leaders nationally.
Yet in a strange way, the Left's attempt to persecute Christie could actually help his GOP standing because it is so obviously motivated by their worry he actually might be the GOP nominee.
Hence, the Democrats want to keep pushing Bridge-gate as far as they can and for as long as they can. Perhaps they have finally gone a bridge too far and should finally “shut up,” as the New Jersey governor might put it.
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