Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gwb Lawyer Hired by Governor Is Raising Campaign Funds

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gwb Lawyer Hired by Governor Is Raising Campaign Funds

Article excerpt

A lawyer who was part of the team hired by Governor Christie last year to investigate his administration's role in the George Washington Bridge scandal is now raising funds for his presidential campaign.

Debra Wong Yang is a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, the law firm that issued a report last year clearing Christie of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal.

Gibson Dunn had billed $7.8 million for its work as of April, according to the most recent invoices released by the state Attorney General's Office. The law firm remains on retainer, handling subpoenas and other matters for Christie related to the ongoing court cases stemming from the bridge scandal.

Wong Yang, a former U.S. attorney who has been friends with Christie for years, was part of the Gibson Dunn team that came to Trenton to interview the governor and his top staff members.

According to an invitation obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Wong Yang will be one of the hosts of a Los Angeles fundraiser for Christie's presidential campaign next Wednesday. Tickets go for $2,700.

New Jersey's pay-to-play restrictions for contractors do not apply on Wong Yang in this case because she is raising funds for a federal, not state, election.

"It is not illegal or inappropriate as this is a federal campaign," said a spokeswoman for Christie's campaign, Samantha Smith.

Wong Yang and the lead Gibson Dunn lawyer representing Christie's office, Randy Mastro, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

But others said Wong Yang's dual role as an attorney and fundraiser for Christie cast doubt on Gibson Dunn's independence.

"If I were running a presidential campaign, and I were pointing to the Gibson Dunn report as having cleared me, I would not want to then shoot myself in the foot by having the very people who cleared me do a fundraiser for me," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D- Middlesex, a Christie critic who led a legislative investigation into the bridge scandal.

"Maybe this is a case of the Christie campaign being so desperate for cash that they're willing to throw caution into the wind," he added.

Wong Yang's dual role as a fundraiser for Christie and attorney for the governor's office was first reported by WNYC. …

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