The Malloy campaign has been surrounded by controversy over the past couple of weeks following their announcement that the Connecticut Democratic Party intended to use money contributed by state contractors to pay for a mailing promoting Malloy’s bid for re-election.
Now it turns out that the tainted campaign funds have paid for at least three mailings, the 3rd arriving at households yesterday.
The money in question IS NOT the public funds that Malloy and Foley collected as participants in Connecticut’s Public Finance System nor is it the Super PAC money that has pouring into Connecticut in recent weeks.
The money that the Malloy campaign is using to pay for these mailings was raised and deposited into the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account” and comes from state contractors, people who have benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare program, federal political action committees and wealthy donors from around the country.
Note: Please read the following to understand how unethical this action is.
After former governor John Rowland was sent to prison, Connecticut adopted a sweeping campaign finance reform law. As a result of that law, “State contractors may not contribute to a party committee, nor may they contribute to a candidate seeking office in the branch (legislative or executive) for which the contractor holds a contract.
The law means that a candidate for governor is prohibited from benefiting from any campaign donation that have been made by a state contractor or an entity that does business with the state of Connecticut.
The issue is as follows: Under Connecticut law, both Malloy and Foley received $6.2 million in taxpayer funds to pay for their gubernatorial campaigns. By accepting the public funds, Malloy and Foley were prohibited from soliciting or accepting campaign donations in excess of $100 or receiving any campaign money from state contractors or political action committees.
Meanwhile, as a result of federal law, so-called Super PACS have been funneling millions of dollars into Connecticut in support or opposition to Malloy and Foley. The Malloy associated Super PAC is called Connecticut Forward, Inc. and has spent over $4.1 million to support Malloy and oppose Foley.
The Malloy money has come primarily from the national Democratic Governors Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME). On the other hand, the Foley associated Super PAC, Grown Connecticut Inc. has spent about $4.9 million.
The Foley money has come almost exclusively from the national Republican Governors Association.
The controversy surrounding the extra Malloy mailings is separate of the $12 million plus that taxpayers have given to Malloy and Foley or the $9 million that has been spent by the Super PACS.
The issue is that these Malloy mailings are being paid for with money that has been donated by state contractors, federal political action committees, lobbyists and others and is reaching they Malloy campaign by being laundered through the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”
The Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee actually maintains two accounts – a state account and a federal account. The state account CAN NOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM STATE CONTRACTORS OR FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES.
Over the decades, the state account has been the party’s sole mechanism for supporting their Democratic nominee for governor. Under Federal Law, the “Federal Account” can only be used to support candidates running for a federal position (US Senate and US House of Representatives) or for general voter registration and Get-out-the-Vote activities.
Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission recently wrote that the Federal Election Commission has determined that,
“’get-out-the-vote-activity’ includes encouraging potential voters to vote; providing information about times when polling places are open, the location of particular polling places, early voting or voting by absentee ballot; and offering or arranging transportation to the polls. The regulations go on to provide, however, that ‘[a]ctivity is not get-out-the-vote activity solely because it includes a brief exhortation to vote, so long as the exhortation is incidental to a communication, activity, or event.’”
However, in an unprecedented maneuver, Governor Malloy and his political operation are using the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “Federal Account” to pay for mailings that are exclusively about Malloy.
In fact, Malloy and his political operatives have raised more than $4.3 million into the Party’s “Federal Account” – much of it from sources that are prohibited from giving to a state campaign – AND – they are now using that money to support Malloy. This charade allows Malloy and his campaign to utilize donations from state contractors and federal PACS to fund his campaign, a move that is unethical, immoral and I believe illegal.
The tainted money includes the following:
$50,000 plus in contributions from corporate officers of Northeast Utilities despite the fact that NU is prohibited from donating to state candidates because of their contracts with the state
$50,000 plus from the owners of Winstanley Enterprises, the developers of Downtown Crossing in New Haven who directly benefited from Malloy’s decision to give Alexion Pharmaceuticals $51 million in corporate welfare payments to move to their property.
$45,000 plus from the owners of HAKS, an engineering firm that received a $8.6 million contract to conduct inspections on the Metro North power lines. $40,000 plus from the owners and senior management of Bridgeport Landing, the company that owns the property where Bass Pro Shops is opening after getting $31 million in corporate welfare from Malloy.
$30,000 plus from the operators of the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry company who recently learned that the Connecticut Department of Transportation would no longer oppose their plan to move their dock in Bridgeport
And the list goes on and on with over $1 million coming from state contractors, people who have benefited directly from Malloy’s corporate welfare program and federal political action committees.
The fundamental issue is not whether Malloy, Foley and those who support each candidate can pump millions of dollars into the race for governor. The issue is that Malloy’s action is making a mockery of Connecticut’s historic effort to keep state contractors and those who do business with the state from buying up our politicians and our democracy.