New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to complain about a Cuomo appointee's handling of a growing controversy over traffic pattern changes on the George Washington Bridge, a person familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Christie, a Republican, complained in a private phone call to Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, that Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was pressing too hard to get to the bottom of why the number of toll lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., was cut from three to one in early September, according to this person. The lane closures occurred without notice to local authorities, officials have said, and snarled traffic for a week in the small borough on the Hudson River bluffs.
Messrs. Cuomo and Christie share control of the sprawling Port Authority, which oversees Hudson River bridges and tunnels and the region's airports and is rebuilding the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan.
Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey have accused Christie appointees of ordering the lane closures to punish Fort Lee's mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing the governor's re-election campaign.
On a recent afternoon, executives at Goldman Sachs invited a few hundred major investors to the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan. The bankers and their guests filed into a large room and turned their eyes to Hillary Clinton.
Ordinarily these masters of the universe might have groaned at the idea of a politician taking the microphone. In the contentious years since the crash of 2008, they've grown wearily accustomed to being called names—labeled "fat cats" by President Obama and worse by those on the left—and gotten used to being largely shunned by Tea Party Republicans for their association with the Washington establishment. And of course there are all those infuriating new rules and regulations, culminating this week with the imposition of the so-called Volcker Rule to make risky trades by big banks illegal.
But Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish. Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we're all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn't going to improve the economy—it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman's Tim O'Neill, who heads the bank's asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank. (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton's minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).
Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. Is this really the best we can do, America. Frankly, although the bridge scandal poses greater political risk for Christie, I think the casual legal graft that Clinton displays here with Goldman Sachs to be more troubling. If paying a politician $200,000 for the simple act of giving a speech is not a form of bribery, I don't know what is. It almost makes you think that 2016 is the year for a third party, except they'd likely deliver someone even worse, like Bloomberg.