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Any chance of the George Washington Bridge closure flap going away ended earlier today, when the U. S. Attorney for New Jersey announced a preliminary review of the affair.

A spokeswoman for Paul Fishman, New Jersey's U.S. Attorney, said the inspector general for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey "has referred the matter to us, and our office is reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated."

Asked about the announcement of Fishman looking into the matter, Christie said today at a news conference addressing the bridge scandal, “I have absolutely nothing to hide. My instruction to everybody would be to cooperate and answer questions. We have nothing to hide and this administration has nothing to hide.”

From the looks of it, Fishman was going to look into this even without a request from State Senator Barbara Buono to undertake an independent investigation into the closures.  Buono, who was routed by Christie in last year's gubernatorial election, pointed out that since the state's acting attorney general is a Christie appointee, the U. S. Attorney's office is the only one that can undertake a truly independent probe.

Apparently someone close to Christie is already running scared.  Within hours of Fishman announcing his investigation, CNN reported that Fishman gave over $12,000 to Democratic candidates while he was in private practice.  Is this the best they can do?

The fact that Fishman has found enough evidence to warrant even a preliminary review is, to put it mildly, a BFD.  We already know that a lot of political careers ended yesterday.  Now we may know if those responsible will lose their freedom as well.

4:11 PM PT: Louise has a diary explaining the federal laws that could have been broken here.  Any jurisdiction Fishman has apparently rises from the fact that the Port Authority is an interstate agency.

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