A month ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was coming off a big re-election win and had the wind at his back as the front-runner among likely Republican presidential candidates. But as he began his second term, Christie's administration faced investigations on multiple fronts and a number of current and former Christie appointees — including some who have lost their jobs — have been subpoenaed by a legislative committee looking for answers. The scandals suggest the possibility of political dirty tricks to playing politics with federal disaster relief funds.
Here's what is swirling around the governor's office and those in his camp who have been implicated:
The two-term New Jersey governor is known nationally for his swagger and his straight-shooting style of governing. He leads Republicans in early polling for the 2016 presidential nomination although he has not said whether he'll run. A series of scandals lashing his administration at home this year has amplified criticism of him as a bully whose aides employ "hardball" tactics and practice petty politics to advance his agenda.
Christie made history when he chose Guadagno, who like him is a former federal prosecutor, to run as the state's first elected lieutenant governor. She also serves as New Jersey's Secretary of State, a position appointed by the governor.
O'Dowd is Christie's pick to be the state's next Attorney General. He served as a prosecutor under Christie when he was U.S. Attorney from 2002-08.
Kelly worked on Christie's 2009 gubernatorial campaign and went on to run legislative affairs in the Christie administration and became one of the governor's top aides in Trenton.
The former policy adviser to Christie's 2009 campaign is now his incoming chief of staff. She formerly served as a Christie senior staffer and the governor's point person to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other agencies.
Michael Drewniak has served as Christie's spokesman ever since their time in the U.S. Attorney's office. Drewniak is a former reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger and is viewed by the state press corps as a pugnacious communicator.
Maria Comella, Christie's top communications adviser, is a veteran Republican operative who previously worked on Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign. She has been a member of Christie's inner circle since his 2009 election as governor.
Constable was appointed to the state's community affairs commissioner post by Christie and his agency is involved in the distribution of Superstorm Sandy recovery funds. Then-U.S. Attorney Christie hired Constable for his anti-corruption unit back in 2002.
Stepien managed Christie's two gubernatorial campaigns but also served as a liaison between the governor's official and political sides. He was at one time primed to play a major role in any Christie presidential run. Though little known outside of New Jersey circles, Stepien was one of Christie's most trusted senior advisers.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, a Democrat, claims Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno approached her in a parking lot in May and told her that if she didn't support a redevelopment project proposed by The Rockefeller Group, a firm with Christie ties, that her city wouldn't receive Superstorm Sandy recovery funds. She has told her story to the U.S. attorney. Guadagno denies the allegation. Read more »
Guadagno denies telling Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that if she refused to back a Hoboken development project proposed by The Rockefeller Group, a firm with Christie ties, the mayor wouldn't receive Sandy recovery funds, calling the allegations "illogical."
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said Constable demanded she move a Christie-backed development forward if she wanted Sandy recovery funds. Constable calls Zimmer's claims "patently false and absurd on their face."
Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee first raised suggestions of political payback for not supporting Christie in his re-election bid after what was characterized as a "traffic study" closed access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from his city from September 9-13 last year, causing massive traffic jams in and around his town. Read more »
Wildstein is a former high school classmate of Christie's who was Bill Baroni's deputy at the Port Authority. E-mails suggest that Wildstein carried out the George Washington Bridge access lane closures in Fort Lee that triggered the traffic fiasco. Wildstein has since refused to testify about the controversy before state legislators and has been subpoenaed in their ongoing investigation. He has left his job.
The release in January of Kelly's e-mail to David Wildstein at the Port Authority – "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" – weeks before the gridlock occurred has been considered "Exhibit A," the "smoking gun" in the George Washington Bridge saga. It amplified calls by Democrats all fall that Christie's administration had abused its authority at the expense of New Jerseyans. It also clouded the administration's initial explanation the gridlock was the result of a bungled traffic study. She has been the only official fired over the matter, which Christie has denied knowing anything about. She has been subpoenaed.
Baroni, appointed by Christie, was the top New Jersey official on the Port Authority until he resigned in December over the unfolding political scandal. Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich complained to Baroni that Port Authority police were blaming the George Washington Bridge traffic woes on a mayoral decision. In one e-mail released by state legislative investigators, Baroni apparently told another Port Authority official at the height of the traffic controversy that there could be "no public discourse" about it. Baroni has also been subpoenaed.
In an e-mail exchanges with a Christie Port Authority appointee, Stepien described Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, as an "idiot." E-mails also suggest that Stepien was aware of the maneuvering that led to traffic gridlock around the George Washington Bridge. Christie asked him to leave his New Jersey political post and he has been subpoenaed as part of the Democratic-led New Jersey state legislative investigation.
Internal e-mails suggest Egea, then a senior staffer and the governor's point person to the Port Authority and other agencies, was aware of concerns that the lane closures were not part of an ongoing traffic study. She has been subpoenaed.
E-mails revealed that Drewniak and former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director David Wildstein had dinner in December, when reporters were beginning to ask questions about the Fort Lee shutdown and shortly before Wildstein left his position. Drewniak has been subpoenaed.
E-mails show Comella was monitoring the media reaction weeks after the George Washington Bridge gridlock. She has been subpoenaed.
Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, a Democrat, suggests the governor's office canceling meetings between him and state officials after Fulop decided not to endorse Christie for reelection. Read more »
Kelly raised the idea of setting up a series of meetings with Fulop and later sent a note to a Fulop fund-raiser and the Mayor saying, "We're looking forward to working closely with you and your administration." The meetings were intended to introduce the new mayor with Christie and members of his administration.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop e-mailed repeatedly to try and reschedule cancelled meetings, emails that weren't returned.