Democratic State Central Committee’s legacy of using donations to fight pro-public education Democrats

One of the newer Wait, What? readers raised a question in the comment section of the blog this week.  They took offense when one of the blog’s longest standing, and most respected readers, realsaramerica pointed out that Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and the State Democrats diverted resources away from beating Republicans and, instead, used the money to try to defeat a slate of pro-public education Democrats… Democrats who had the support of the Connecticut Education Association and the Connecticut Working Families Party.

The new reader, derpdominguez, wrote:

So the great revelation of this campaign is that local Bridgeport politics is backwards and corrupt? Have you been living in this state for the past 40 years? Does it really have anything to do with the state party?

For those who don’t know about last year’s Democratic Primary in Bridgeport for the Board of Education, you can read the earlier Wait, What? posts or here is the abbreviated version;

As many readers know, it seems that every day thousands of Connecticut activists receive emails from top Democratic elected officials and the leadership of the Democratic State Central Committee asking for donations to help bolster the Democrat’s campaign fund.

Most of these emails ask existing or potential donors to “chip” in another $3 or $5.

The emails also inform recipients that ALL OF THE MONEY RAISED will go toward beating Republicans.  In fact, one recent email pledged that the funds raised will, “help us beat the Tea Party Republicans and their multimillion-dollar super PACs.”

However, despite repeated requests for an explanation, neither the Democratic State Central Committee nor Governor Malloy’s political operatives will come clean about their inappropriate involvement in last fall’s Bridgeport Democratic Primary for seats on the Bridgeport Board of Education.

On one side was the pro-charter school, pro-corporate education reform slate that was selected and endorsed by Mayor Bill Finch and his allies on the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee.  The endorsed slate was committed to keeping Paul Vallas, the internationally renowned public school privatization czar, on as the head of Bridgeport’s Schools.

On the other side was a slate of pro-education Democrats who were committed to pushing back the corporate education reform industry, dumping Vallas and re-focusing public investments in Bridgeport’s Public Schools.

The challenge slate also had the strong support of the Connecticut Education Association and the Working Families Party.

Although the Democratic Party has consistently claimed that all the money it raises is used to beat Republicans, in an unethical, inappropriate and underhanded move, the Chair of the Democratic State Central Committee, along with the help of Malloy’s campaign operatives, used more than $50,000 in Democratic State Central funds to directly bank-roll the anti-public education slate in Bridgeport against the pro-public education Democratic challenge slate.

The move by the Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee to use its funds to beat Democrats in a Democratic primary was unprecedented.

The day before the Bridgeport Democratic Primary, the Democratic State Central Committee transferred $20,000 to the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee to pay for their get-out-the-vote effort and cover the costs incurred by Mayor Finch’s anti-public education slate. One of those expenses was a payment of $3,048.15 to a Portland, Maine direct mail company that produced and sent out a brochure for the anti-public education slate.

Meanwhile, in addition to transferring $20,000 in funds that were supposed to be used for beating Republicans, the Democratic State Central Committee sent its own check to that Portland, Maine company to cover additional direct mail brochures for the anti-public education slate.  Those checks were for 9,471.44 (8/26/13), $3,911.21 (8/29/13) and $4,735.72 (9/10/13).

During the same period, the Democratic State Central also paid Malloy’s political consultants, Global Strategies Group, consulting fees of $7,500 and $5,000.

As an aside, Global Strategies Group was already being paid by “A Better Connecticut PAC” to support the anti-public education slate in the Bridgeport primary.  “A Better Connecticut PAC,” which was set up by ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group that helped fund the record-breaking lobbying campaign behind Malloy’s education reform legislation.  To date, Malloy’s political consultants have collected well in excess of $2.5 million from A Better Connecticut and other corporate education reform advocacy groups.

The real problem is that the Democratic State Central Committee has never come clean about why it spent in excess of $50,000 to beat Bridgeport’s pro-public education Democratic slate, nor have they explained how they managed to circumvent the party rules to use money raised to beat Republicans in a campaign to beat Democrats.

Thankfully, the Bridgeport anti-public education slate lost, Paul Vallas was forced to ride off into the west, and the candidates endorsed and supported by the Working Families Party and the Connecticut Education Association took control of the Bridgeport Board of Education.

So, in short… to the person who wrote, does my potential candidacy have anything to do with Bridgeport, Malloy, the corporate education reform industry and the Democratic state party?

The answer is a resounding …. Yes.

  • Guest

    How about CEA’s new poll numbers. 4/5 teachers need/want more training
    in Common Core. How about CEA f’in get off their lazy asses and speak
    the truth. Nearly 90% of its membership wants Common Core gone! Stop
    playing patty cake with this governor and start listening to your
    members.

    • cape-teach

      For those dissatisfied with the current state and direction that education is heading here in CT, there is a grassroots movement founded by educators working to foster positive change. If in fact 90% of CEA members want CC gone, then let us join together and speak with one united political voice. In order to do this, professional educators in CT must find their voices and let them be heard through the political process. Anyone interested in finding out more information can go to http://www.cape-teach.org or visit our new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/capeteach We are the Connecticut Association of Professional Educators. A voice for educators, a voice for children.

      • guest

        Are you pro-union or one of those organizations that wants to dismantle the union? I want CEA to listen to its membership not make up meaningless data. I don’t want to lose the protections afforded me by my union.

        Are you in it for altruistic reasons or a front for the reformers? Don’t be offended just answer honestly.

        • cape-teach

          Guest,

          No offense taken. Take a look at the site and read the “invitation.” There you will find this quote amongst other important information.

          “CAPE is not looking to supplant local labor unions. We are not interested in labor negotiations or relations. Our goal is to have our collective professional voices be heard in the political and social arena for the benefit of those we serve, the children of Connecticut.”

          And it is no longer an “I,” it is a “we.” And yes, the founding and development of CAPE is completely altruistic. This effort truly is grassroots, founded and directed by professional educators looking to right the listing educational ship in Connecticut.

          We would encourage yourself and others to attend the inaugural meeting on the 31st. Better yet, contact us and get involved! There’s still a week to go before the meeting.

        • guest

          Are you a teacher who has been targeted? If so, write back and let me know how the union stepped up for you. CEA listens to the $$ not its members nor does the AFT-CT. If the unions were “protecting” teachers, how come so many hire outside counsel?

        • cape-teach

          In all honesty, CAPE was born out of a desire to get as far away from the classroom as possible. I am a professional educator, and it was during the application process for a doctoral program that I realized that maybe, just maybe, if enough of us still cared about the true meaning of education… Well, I’ll stop here. If you’d like to hear the rest I’ll see you on Saturday the 31st. We are the Connecticut Association of Professional Educators. A voice for educators, a voice for children.

        • Cape-teach

          And the doctoral program, it’s been put on hold. The state of public schools is far too important to walk away.

    • Bill Morrison

      I took the AFT-CT survey earlier this year. It was designed to show that teachers want/need more training in CCSS. All of the questions were tailored to elicit responses to indicate that teachers either want or do not want more training, NOT whether or not we support CCSS/SBAC. Given AFT-CT support for CCSS/SBAC, I was not surprised by AFT-CT’s results showing a strong desire for more training.
      That said, I am a staunch Unionist who is very dismayed by the fact that AFT-CT has sold teachers down the river by their strong support of Governor Malloy. Touting political deals in which Malloy appears to be backing away from using test data with which to evaluate teachers, Peters has ignored the fact that Malloy is treacherous and will renege on any deal he makes on behalf of teachers after he is reelected. For that reason, no teacher can support him. Peters is a fool for trusting him and supporting him. Her deliberate distortion of survey data indicates she is a corporate reformer, not one of us.

      • JMC

        Bill, I couldn’t agree more! The “Push-Poll” that you and the other teachers were subjected to showed by its very design that the union leadership is totally compromised.

  • derpdominguez

    Whoa! Imagine my surprise this afternoon?

    The point I was trying to get at was Bridgeport has been a backwards mess in sectors besides education long before Finch and Malloy.

    And I might as well ask again — how do we justify risking everything when it comes to policies like min. wage or health care, for a really small chance at (arguably) improving one particular policy?

    • jonpelto

      Well you’ve made the point clear and that is where we differ – min wage is great, so is the sick days bill but there are dozens of issues where Malloy has fallen far, far short.
      A quarter loaf doesn’t do it – we need a complete change in education policy. A commitment to a progressive tax structure rather than expanding the present regressive system, a government that is honest and transparent and the list goes on.
      I respect you opinion but respectfully disagree that “four more years” is the solution to CT’s problems.
      But you are certainly welcome to post all you want.

      As for Bridgeport…. The citizens of that great city deserve better and we all have the obligation to try and help them.

      • derpdominguez

        Well I appreciate not getting flamed on here for presenting a different opinion. Just trying to move discourse forward and avoid living in a state with a Republican governor for as long as I can possibly manage.

        • cindy

          Thoughts on Visconti?

        • derpdominguez

          Tea Party? No thanks.

        • R.L.

          Pelto for Governor.

    • CTedFromTheTrenches

      Malloy might be a ‘democrat’ but most of his actions are shameless. He lies about and manipulates situations on a regular basis. If he really cared about keeping republicans out of office, he would have refused to run for reelection. Perhaps you can follow him to wherever he ends up next…

      • Bill Morrison

        I’m sorry . . . Malloy is a Reagan Republican, not a true Democrat. He is all about corporate America, not about us.

        • JMC

          And he is backed by a complacent Democratic legislature. I know it sounds sophomoric to restate, but the Legislature allots the funds and writes the laws. To ignore this is to ignore reality.

        • 27Reasons

          I conquer, but I would add that it is MALLOY who invited Michelle Rhee to town, and MALLOY who appointed, and continues to stand by Stefan Pryor.

        • Linda174

          Malloy gets his laminated index cards with reformy platitudes directly from Stefan, the lawyer and Michelle, the edufraud.

        • Bill Morrison

          JMC,
          I am not ignoring the role of the legislature. I am, however, acknowledging Malloy’s leadership within the legislature.

        • JMC

          Good enough.

      • derpdominguez

        Look I know you don’t get this but I genuinely think you are being too hard on Malloy’s overall performance. There are some significant accomplishments that should not be scoffed at.

        The only person who could have theoretically stepped into a campaign for governor had Malloy not run for re-election with a chance to win would have been Wyman imo. Guessing they had that discussion. I get the impression that the “politics” part of politics is abominable to you, and it certainly brings out the worst in some people, but it’s part of how this thing works.

        • Bill Morrison

          Malloy ran on what appeared to be an outstanding education policy that resulted in teachers supporting him, thereby giving him the governorship in a close election. He then turned against us like a rabid dog, ushering in the corporate education reform program, Stefan Pryor, Stephen Adamowski, charter schools, CONNCan, etc. If you are a teacher, especially a teacher in an urban setting, you know firsthand the devastation wrought by Malloy. He is the most destructive governor in CT history to education. No self-respecting teacher can possibly support him for what he has done to us. I will vote for Jon first, but, in lieu of Jon, I will vote for Anybody But Malloy!

        • derpdominguez

          “I will vote for Jon first, but, in lieu of Jon, I will vote for Anybody But Malloy!”

          Yeah, and that’s the part that scares me.

        • Philip Stull

          It is better to have R Governor acting like a Republican with a D Legislature, than a D Governor acting like a Republican with a D Legislature.

        • Linda174

          Agree!

        • derpdominguez

          No, it isn’t. We did that for 20 years. It was an unmitigated disaster. That line of thought is just short-minded and historically inaccurate.

        • Linda174

          And you should be scared because 45,000- 50,000 teachers agree with Bill. He has brought nothing but misery to our classrooms and our profession. Goodbye Dan. You are a disgrace.

        • derpdominguez

          That’s a pretty outrageous number to throw out there. But yeah, that does scare me. It scares me because teachers would be, as the saying goes, cutting off the nose to spite the face.

        • Linda174

          Even half that number and Malloy is screwed. Disagree….if it gets any worse it will all collapse; it’s already on its way and only a matter of time. A democratic legislature would fight Foley on further privatization while they bend over for Malloy and take it.

          Let the games begin. Buh bye, Danny boy.

        • derpdominguez

          Talk to folks in New Jersey and Wisconsin and see how they feel about your theoretical political environment.

          And once again, let’s not even talk about the hatchet work he would do on a host of other critical policies, Malloy policies and liberal policies in general.

        • Linda174

          Danny is not a liberal. He has you fooled. Don’t spend your weekend defending a traitor.

        • derpdominguez

          No, I think your anger with his education policies has tainted your opinions on everything he’s done. I am quite confident in my stance, and it’s not hard to prove. What you need to do is convince me why Tom Foley wouldn’t follow the Christie/Walker/Jindal playbook, and why we would even tease letting our state go down that road. It WILL be worse. Much worse. As the erstwhile founder of Men’s Warehouse would say, I guarantee it.

        • Linda174

          Malloy lies all the time on many issues. Can’t elect a man who I wouldn’t even let walk my dog. His days are numbered.

        • derpdominguez

          I get it.

        • R.L.

          Malloy is crooked. He’s a racketeer. I’m looking forward to seeing him share a facility with Roland.

        • R.L.

          This is not Wisconsin or New Jersey.

        • derpdominguez

          that in no way addresses the point i am making.

        • R.L.

          This teacher will NEVER vote for Malloy again. No more lesser of two evils. No more democrat or republican.

        • jonpelto

          So instead of having a discussion about repealing and fixing malloy’s education reform bill, getting rid of pryor and his minions, committing to a fairer tax structure and stopping to corporate welfare – they call my anti-union?
          They are making the choice easier and easier by the day.

          We’ve raised legitimate issues, claiming foley is walker and a democratic legislature is really a tea-bag republican front is probably not the best way to address the issues I’m raising.

        • derpdominguez

          I think that the statement released is pretty absurd and politically unwise. Not defending it.

          I don’t think the D legislature is a Tea Party front. I just don’t think that a Republican governor would somehow galvanize them anymore than it did under the clown brigade we endured for two decades. And the GOP, nationally and locally, has gotten -much- worse even since 2010.

        • 27Reasons

          @Linda – Add in most of their immediate families and it looks more like 90,000-100,000 …and that’s just on the conservative side.

        • Bill Morrison

          I’m sorry if that scares you, but Hitler was also popularly elected. If you had voted in the 1932 elections in Germany, would you have voted for him again given his record? I would have voted “Anybody But Hitler” if given a chance; similarly, I will vote “Anybody But Malloy. Malloy has already proven his character! He is my enemy. Any friend of his is an enemy of mine.

        • derpdominguez

          what? would I have voted for Hitler in 1932? that is one heck of a stretch comparison, my friend.

          you’re kind of proving my point for me.

        • Bill Morrison

          Actually, I am refuting your point that, no matter how bad Malloy has proven to be, the Republican candidate will be worse. Hitler proved to be horrible; would his opponent have been worse? Malloy has been despicable. It would be exceedingly difficult for anyone to be worse.

        • derpdominguez

          No, you’re trying to, but you aren’t. I’m really not here to continue discussing Malloy/Hitler comparisons.

          In an unrelated note. Jonathan, based on some really bizarre responses I’ve gotten here I have serious concerns that some of these folks commenting are operating under an ulterior motive. It happens everywhere.

        • Linda174

          My motive…Dannel packs up and moves out of our house. Hit the road liar.

        • Bill Morrison

          Actually, Derp, I have refuted your point. And, there is nothing ulterior to my comments. Malloy’s animosity towards teachers has earned him these comments. Nobody did that to him; he did it to himself. Malloy has not earned any teacher’s vote. He and he alone has thrown our votes away. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

        • derpdominguez

          Wasn’t specifically talking about your comments, hence it was an “unrelated” note.

        • Bill Morrison

          Besides, I am not comparing Malloy to Hitler; I am using the election of Hitler as an analogy to refute your point that the next guy would be worse. I am sorry that you cannot see it, but your point that Foley, assuming that he is the GOP candidate, would usher in an era similar to that of Walker in Wisconsin seems off base. Malloy has proven himself to be similar to Walker with his demonization of teachers and his attempts to undermine our unions. We already have our Walker. Foley could not be any worse for us. We elected our “Hitler”; I’ll be [email protected]#%&d if I vote for him again!

        • Bill Morrison

          I guess Derp gave up. He obviously could not justify his stance that a Republican would be worse than Malloy. Granted, Foley would be bad for the state, but we have already seen how bad Malloy has been. I will gamble on “Anybody But Malloy”. That scoundrel has earned my stance!
          Jon, should I have bumper stickers made up on your behalf?

        • derpdominguez

          Didn’t give up. I’ve made my point, and seen the responses, and don’t feel the need to harp. The second someone explains how Foley, an absolute downgrade on education notwithstanding, would be better for any of the other MAJOR policy issues facing that state, will be the second I get this movement a bit more.. can’t seem to get that answer. weird.

        • Bill Morrison

          Okay, I’ll listen. Specifically, to what points do you refer?

        • derpdominguez

          Well, start with the big ones. Minimum wage increase. Overseeing the ACA here. Universal Pre-K. Broad-based issues like protecting the environment and preparing for the effects of climate change. Medicinal marijuana. Common sense firearms reforms. And, yes, protecting unions. Even though you are pissed at the man, nothing he has done will compare to what a Foley Administration would attempt to achieve.

          Foley is a miserable candidate. It’s a shame, and it’s a symptom of the rot in the GOP in general, but he just sucks. He will be a puppet for the national GOP agenda, and that will target all of those sorts of policies I mentioned above. Beyond that, the turd doesn’t say much so it’s hard to pin him down. Which speaks volumes itself, in my opinion.

          I’m not willing to jeopardize those issues. That’s all I’ve ever been saying here. Is that unfair or politically unwise?

          I said in another post that Jonathan is just starting too late. One of his newer posts highlights the issues with his potential candidacy. I sincerely believe that he would be serving his cause better by pursuing alternative political options. I might even support said actions. But this, right now, at this moment, I cannot support.

          The comment re: ulterior motives was not directed at you. But I think there are some GOP trolls on here egging Jonathan on for their own purposes. It is not beneath them.

        • Bill Morrison

          Okay. I would like to go on record as stating that I am in no way a Republican, nor do I support Republican agendas. That said, I am thoroughly disgusted by the way that Malloy turned on we teachers after we in large part got him elected. We are stuck with the results of his reform agenda in which our students have no skills and precious little knowledge, preventing them from being successful in high school. I am disgusted by his mandating that we be evaluated based on the performance of others over whom we have no control. This even includes teachers being evaluated not only on the performance of students on standardized tests that have nothing to do with the course content we are obligated to teach, but on the performance of other teachers in our school. This is unfair!
          You might counter that the unions have negotiated away much of his reform agenda, that he is coming around to support us. BUT, he keeps Stefan Pryor as the Commissar of Education; he also retains Adamowski as “Special Master”. He turned on us once; he will do so again. He is thoroughly untrustworthy.
          Many of his accomplishments that you cite were made this year, an election year. They are, to many, nothing more than ploys for reelection. Again, he has done so many “about faces” that I simply cannot support him. Nor can I support any democrat who does stand up for him.
          I do not support Foley. I will support Pelto, even with campaign donations. But, I will not support Malloy in any way. Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice . . .”

        • TMS

          For what it’s worth @derpdominquez, I hear the points you are making. I’m only going to address your concern about a Republican being in control for now. You are afraid all of those other issues will get swept away if Foley gets into office, but I will tell you what I’ve found in my years hear in Connecticut. What a Republican governor does is ensure checks and balances in decision making. I’m disappointed that this Democratic legislature gave Malloy a free pass for EVERYTHING without the benefit of discussion or another perspective. They have been negligent in their duties to serve their constituents and abdicated their responsibility and let Malloy do whatever he wanted, good or bad. There has been some good, much bad. Since the probability of the state legislature being turned over to the Republican’s is unlikely, the only thing that will force everyone to come to the table would be different parties in the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. Like it or not, EVERYONE should have a voice in the government and the Democrats have shut Republicans out of the discussion and I don’t think that’s fair or right. After all, they were voted in to office just as the Democrats were and the Democratic behavior shows me that they are not looking out for the best interest of the citizens of the entire state. It’s not and doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but there should be reason and discussion. If Jonathan’s campaign forces that, then so be it. Now that’s true politics. I disagree that anyone here has to convince you of anything. You are entitled to your opinion and your stance. Your argument doesn’t sway me because I don’t see fear as reason not to want something better for my kids and family. We only get one chance to educate our kids and make it effective and I’m not willing to put that at the bottom of the list. However, I respect your right to have your opinion.

        • bill Morrison

          TMS,
          Amen!

        • Joel Gonzalez

          “He will be a puppet for the national GOP agenda…”
          Wait, what? Minutes after Dan Malloy heard President Obama utter the words “Minimum Wage Increase,” Malloy returned to Connecticut and pushed through the Minimum Wage Increase. Are you not supporting a puppet here? Hasn’t this puppet of yours been pushing the agenda of the likes of the Koch brothers?

        • Joel Gonzalez

          “I have serious concerns that some of these folks commenting are operating under an ulterior motive.”
          At least they’re not a bunch of derpbags. 🙂

        • derpdominguez

          LOL just saw this.

        • JMC

          I would merely add that Hindenburg defeated Hitler for the office of President, but the Nazis gained so many seats in the parlement (Reichstag), I believe c. 37 %, that Hindenburg had no choice but to appoint him Chancellor, since the Nazis with their plurality had the parliamentary means to disable government. Hindenburg’s and the others’ hopes that Chancellor Hitler and the Nazis would support a coalition government were quickly proven false.

        • TMS

          First of all, it sound as if you are only focusing on only one aspect of Jon’s campaign. He NEVER said he was against a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare or some of the other things you feel will disappear if Jon ran. I don’t get your opposition to him running. If you’re so worried about the “politics” in the political system, then you don’t understand what politics is. ANYONE can run and should if they feel than can do better then what’s in place. It’s called choice and I, for one appreciate having one. We each have one vote. You use yours and I’ll use mine.

        • 27Reasons

          My thoughts exactly.

  • Kiernan Majerus-Collins

    Why don’t progressives get their act together and take over the Bridgeport DTC? Seems like a pretty straightforward objective to me.