N.J. POLITICS ROUNDUP
A collection of political news from the Statehouse and around New Jersey
TRENTON — The George Washington Bridge scandal was back to dominating headlines Thursday.
The law firm hired by Gov. Chris Christie’s office to conduct an internal investigation into the controversy released a review that cleared the governor of any involvement.
Instead, it laid the blame largely on former Port Authority official David Wildstein and former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly. The review said Kelly was the only Christie staff member involved.
The attorney for Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager, seized upon the fact that the report found no evidence of his client’s involvement in scandal.
Attorneys across New Jersey said the report may be of some use to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, even though it’s not likely to affect the pace and timing of his investigation into the scandal.
Meanwhile, the Star-Ledger Editorial Board writes that the review is a “million-dollar whitewash.”
For Christie, the report came at the right time: As he heads to Las Vegas to speak at a crucial event.
At night, Christie gave his first television interview in months, telling ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that his aides did “inexplicably stupid things.”
Meanwhile, the review also said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s claims that Christie’s office threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy money were false.
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NO AGREEMENT ON PROPERTY TAX LAW
There was no resolution Thursday on a law set to expire Tuesday that New Jersey mayors say has been crucial to keeping property tax growth in check.
POLL: WAGES FOR TIPPED WORKERS
Should lawmakers pass a bill that would increase the minimum wage for waiters and other workers in New Jersey who rely on tips for a living?
IN OTHER NEWS …
• State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) is attempting to require New Jersey to re-enter a multistate carbon pollution reduction program through legislation.
• Raritan Bay Medical Center is looking for a new partner to buy its hospitals in Old Bridge and Perth Amboy.
• Hundreds of Newark parents, teachers, students, and community activists rallied in Trenton to demand the return of local control of Newark schools and full funding for the state’s largest school district.
Star-Ledger staff writers Christopher Baxter, Matt Friedman, Jason Grant, Ryan Hutchins, Susan K. Livio, Peggy McGlone, Jenna Portnoy, Salvador Rizzo, Ted Sherman, and Steve Strunsky, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.