Charter School champion, “OxyContin producer” gives Malloy operation over $200,000  

6 Comments

This month Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy will be getting a check for $6.2 million in public funds through the Connecticut Public Financing Program to pay for part of his campaign for governor.

But Malloy’s fundraising operation goes far beyond that money.  Malloy and his political operatives are raising millions through various loopholes in Connecticut law.

Take for example, the following;

Jonathan Sackler helped Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, create Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company that owns and operates schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.

Jonathan Sackler created ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group that led the record breaking $6 million lobbying campaign to pass Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s corporate education reform industry initiative in 2012.  The bill made Malloy the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so-called “turnaround schools.”

Jonathan Sackler founded 50CAN, the ConnCAN knockoff, which is attempting to spread the charter school lobbying effort across the country.  Sackler is also a member of the board of directors of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a national hedge fund industry-funded organization that is promoting the corporate education reform industry’s activities.

Jonathan Sackler and his family also own a significant share of Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company made famous due to their product known as OxyContin.

In a stunning investigative report by the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender, we now learn that Sackler and his family have given $91,000 to Malloy’s political operation while Sackler’s company has given another $106,000.

In the article entitled, Democrats Reap $91,000 From Charter Schools Advocate And His Family, Jon Lender explains,

There may be no better illustration of state Democrats‘ massive fundraising efforts in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election year than the political donations of Jonathan Sackler and his extended family.

A total of $91,000 in donations has rolled into Connecticut Democratic Party coffers in 2013 and 2014 from four people: Sackler, a Greenwich businessman, investment executive and charter schools advocate; his wife; mother and father.

Lender adds,

Also, a privately held pharmaceutical company in Stamford with which Sackler family members have long been associated — Purdue Pharma — contributed $56,050 in 2013 and $50,000 to the Democratic Governors Association, a national group that spends its money to help elect Democratic governors across the country.

Lender lays out in stark detail the flow of money from the Sacklers to Governor Malloy’s political operation.  Donations that include,

•$55,000 to one of the two Connecticut Democratic Party’s accounts.

Jonathan Sackler and his wife, Mary Corson, each gave a maximum $10,000 donation to the Democratic Party’s state account in 2013 and already have given the same amount in 2014, for a total of $40,000 between them. Also, Sackler’s mother and father, Raymond and Beverly Sackler, have given $15,000 — $10,000 and $5,000, respectively — to that same party account this year.”

•$36,000 to the other Connecticut Democratic Party account

“Jonathan Sackler and Mary Corson each have given $10,000 to that account in 2014, and each gave $8,000 in 2013.

As Wait, What? readers may recall Jonathan Sackler also hosted a fundraiser for a political action committee associated with Malloy the day that Malloy’s “education reform” bill became a public act.  That fundraising netted more than $40,000 making it the most successful of the 14 fundraisers the Prosperity for Connecticut PAC held with Malloy and Wyman.

Sackler’s fundraiser was a “who’s who” in the corporate education reform industry including many of the board members of Achievement First, Inc. and ConnCAN as well as representatives of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst and Eva Moskowitz’s Harlem Success Academy.

You can find Jon Lender’s MUST READ article at:  http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-major-givers-0622-20140621,0,3261788.column

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Malloy is a fraud on campaign finance reform issues

10 Comments

NEWS ALERT:  Buried under the news about the massive problems facing Connecticut’s State budget and other developments and issues that have surfaced over the past couple of weeks is one of the most significant news stories of Governor Malloy’s term.

The truth is that after having run as a “pro-campaign finance reform” candidate, Dannel “Dan” Malloy has spent the last three years systematically undermining Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance reform system.

Since taking office, Malloy has pushed through a series of changes that have turned Connecticut’s stellar campaign finance reform law into little more than a joke.

At Malloy’s direction, new loopholes have been created so that Malloy’s political operation can raise millions of dollars from state contractors, big donors, lobbyists and others who were prohibited or limited from giving  campaign donations when Connecticut adopted the country’s premier campaign finance reform law.

Connecticut’s law was adopted after former Governor John Rowland went to prison and legislators finally admitted that it was time for a whole-scale change in the way campaigns were financed in Connecticut.

But massive loopholes weren’t enough for Malloy and his political operation.

The Democratic Governors Association recently announced that it was suing the state of Connecticut.

Why?

Because Connecticut law requires that independent expenditures MUST BE independent of the candidate that they are supporting.  That is why it is called an “independent” expenditure.

But the Democratic Governors Association, a political action committee that is expected to spend $3 million to $5 million in support of Malloy’s re-election this year wants to “coordinate” its “independent” campaign in support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy with Malloy’s political campaign.

However, coordination under Connecticut law is illegal.

Yet rather than try and change that law through Connecticut’s legislative process, the Democratic Governors Association has gone to court to try and have the court strike down the law that they can “coordinate” their “independent” expenditure with Malloy.

Who is the Democratic Governors Association?

The Democratic Governors Association is, “…an independent voluntary political organization organized to support Democratic governors and candidates across the nation…The DGA is proud to support the 22 Democratic governors who hold office now.”

Governor Malloy has been extremely member of the Democratic Governors Association and he is sponsoring an upcoming major fundraiser in Greenwich so that they can fill the DGA’s campaign account with money.

And what does Malloy, the former supporter of campaign finance reform, think of the Democratic Governors Association legal action to undermine Connecticut law?

As CT News Junkie reported in their article entitled, Malloy Says DGA Responded ‘Appropriately’

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday the Democratic Governors Association’s recent legal action against state election regulators is an appropriate response to what it sees as a misinterpretation of Connecticut campaign finance laws.

“I’m not weighing in on the lawsuit. It is important that the laws be enforced and that the right laws be enforced in the right way. In this case [the DGA] feels that there is a misinterpretation of the law. So they’ve responded, I think appropriately but, you know, I hope for a swift decision,” Malloy said when asked about the complaint.

Malloy, who is seeking reelection this year, has been a fundraiser for the DGA and member since winning his election in 2010 and the group is seeking to spend money to help his reelection bid. It filed a preemptive lawsuit in federal court Wednesday contesting the State Elections Enforcement Commission’s interpretation Connecticut’s campaign finance rules.

What does this all really mean?

Just take a look at what good government and watch-dog organizations like Common Cause, CCAG and the League of Women Voters are saying about the Democratic Governors Association attempt to support Malloy’s re-election campaign.

From Common Cause:

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) filed suit in federal court yesterday against Connecticut’s State Election Enforcement Commission alleging that Connecticut’s strong campaign finance laws interfere with their First Amendment right to spend millions of dollars in so-called “independent expenditures” in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

An independent expenditure, in elections in the United States, is a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate.

The problem for the DGA is that Governor Dannel Malloy raised more than $20 million for them in 2011 and at least $1.4 million of that came from Connecticut donors. So if the DGA spends millions on behalf of Malloy when he runs for Governor, can they say with a straight face that these expenditures are “independent?” Of course not! Coordination between a candidate and an organization making Independent Expenditures is illegal in Connecticut. The DGA claims that this violates their right to free speech. What?

The DGA does not have a First Amendment right to break campaign finance laws.

Governor Malloy has been a champion of campaign finance reform and credited Connecticut’s landmark Citizens’ Election program for helping him have clean resources to commpete against a millionaire in the 2010 primary and a millionaire in the general election.

Call Governor Malloy today at 1-800-406-1527 and tell him to ask the DGA to drop their lawsuit!

P.S. Want to know more? Check out “When Independent Expenditures Aren’t” on Common Blog! 

From CCAG (Connecticut Citizen Action Group):

Money should not be more important than democracy. The Democratic Governors Association should be ashamed of their effort to undermine the clean elections system and our strong campaign finance laws in Connecticut.

Last week the Democratic Governor’s Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of consultants to eviscerate CT’s laws making it illegal for independent expenditure to be coordinated with campaigns. This lawsuit, if successful, will allow the Koch Brothers and their consultants to coordinate making existing campaign finance restrictions obsolete. Please, sign the petition, help us deliver a strong message to Governor Shumlin.

SIGN THE PETITION!

The DGA must withdraw its lawsuit against Connecticut’s Independent Expenditure Campaign Finance Rules.  We must not allow the Koch Brothers to continue to spread political corruption with their billions.  Thank you for your help.

From the Connecticut League of Women Voters:

Important News for LWVCT Members

On April 23rd the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) filed a lawsuit against the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) claiming that our state’s campaign finance laws infringe upon their free speech rights “…to advocate for the election or defeat of Connecticut candidates for Governor…” The DGA is seeking an injunction to bar the SEEC from enforcing campaign finance rules. Governor Malloy is a member of the DGA and during his term as finance chair in 2011 raised a reported $20 million dollars for the Association.

LWVCT urges the State Election Enforcement Commission and the CT Attorney General to vigorously defend our state’s campaign finance laws and SEEC rules regulating independent expenditures in political campaigns. We regret that this lawsuit forces the SEEC to devote limited staff resources for monitoring and enforcement instead to defending in court our valuable campaign disclosure and transparency measures.

In recent election cycles, nonprofits and other organizations have been utilized to influence election outcomes through media spots and other advertisements intended to qualify as “independent expenditures.” The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the CT campaign finance laws and the SEEC rulings are necessary to increase disclosure of independent expenditure activity and to enable the electorate to make informed decisions regarding candidates for state level offices. For more info on what’s at stake, click here.

 

The fact is, when it comes to campaign finance reform, Malloy is a fraud.

Even More Corporate Education Reform money flows to Malloy’s political operation

6 Comments

The latest federal campaign finance reports are in and Governor Malloy’s political operation continues to rake in the cash from those associated with the effort to privatize Connecticut’s public schools and undermine Connecticut’s teachers.

As a result of Connecticut’s campaign finance program, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is on track to collect $6.2 million in public funds to pay for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

But thanks to a loop-hole in Connecticut law, the Malloy campaign has already diverted nearly $2.2 million in individual and political action committee donations into an account controlled by the Democratic State Central Committee.  Malloy is rounding up donations to this Democratic account so that his team will have additional money to supplement Malloy’s publicly funded campaign this year.

The campaign finance loop-hole is so large you could drive a truck through it.  As a result, much of the money that Malloy and his team has raised into the separate account is coming from individuals and businesses who have state contracts, as well as, from registered lobbyists, political action committees and special interests that would otherwise be banned from contributing to Malloy’s campaign.

One of the most “generous” sources of money for Malloy’s “off-line” political operation has been the corporate education reform industry.

The latest report filed with the Federal Elections Commission reveals the proponents of Malloy’s “education reform” initiative continue to line up to give the Governor campaign donations.

New contributions in March included,

  • Another $20,000 from Jonathan Sackler and his wife.  Sackler helped Stefan Pryor create Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company.  Sackler also founded ConnCAN, Connecticut’s leading charter school advocacy group and 50CAN, a national charter school advocacy organization. 
  • Sackler and his wife have now given $38,000 to the Democratic Party “special” account and another $20,000 to the Connecticut Democrats regular account.  In addition, Sackler hosted a fundraiser that brought in almost $50,000 for the Malloy affiliated Prosperity for Connecticut Political Action Committee. 
  •  $10,000 from Susan Mandel, the spouse of billionaire Steve Mandel.  Mandel is the primary supporter of the Bridgeport charter school advocacy group called Excel Bridgeport, Inc. and serves on the national board of directors of Teach for America.  Mandel and his wife have now contributed $30,000 to the Democratic account that is being used to fund Malloy’s political operation. 

These new contributions to help Malloy come on top of tens of thousands of dollars in additional donations that have been sent by other key players from the corporate education reform industry. For example, Michelle Rhee’s PAC and the Wal-Mart PAC have already sent large donations to boost Malloy’s re-election chances.

You can read about the other donations in the following Wait, What? posts,

Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation (Feb 2014)

Malloy’s campaign donation haul from corporate education reform industry tops $70k (Dec 2013)

Malloy continues to cash in on Education Reform initiative (Nov. 2013)

Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform (Oct. 2013)

Weekend Posts on Gubernatorial Campaign 2014

4 Comments

On Governor Malloy:  Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

And on a Pelto candidacy for governor:  Saw it on the Internet so it must be true… (No, but…)

After an email exchange [Friday], Neil Vigdor, a leading reporter for the Hearst Media Group, put up a blog post entitled, “Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left?”

As the saying goes, take the story with a grain of salt.  Like much of what we read on the Internet, aspects of the story are true while other elements aren’t quite so accurate.

What the story does represent is the growing concern that many of us have about Governor Malloy’s record over the past four years and his extraordinary failure on a number of fronts.

A direct challenge, either as a Democrat or as a third-party, independent Democratic is just one of many options for those of us who truly believe that another four years of a Malloy administration would be disastrous for a variety of reasons – one of those reasons being our on-going effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and the pressing need to retake control of our public schools.

So….let me be perfectly clear, I am not a candidate for governor (at this time).

The Hearst Media Group blog post begins with the following;

Just when the denizens of Connecticut thought the debate over Common Core was caustic.

Now there’s this.

Jonathan Pelto, a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda and former state representative, is entertaining a run for the state’s highest office, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers has learned.

The 53-year-old from Storrs, who has expended significant bandwith on his “progressive” blog and on Facebook railing against Malloy, could run either as a Democrat or a third party candidate, a person familiar with Pelto’s thinking told the newspaper.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Pelto told Hearst by email Friday afternoon.

A campaign spokesman for Malloy, who is considered by political pundits to be vulnerable in the midterm elections this November, declined to comment on the prospect of a Pelto candidacy.

On his blog, “Wait What?” Pelto penned an April 13 entry titled “the growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.”

“Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.”

Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

2 Comments

Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

 

Malloy’s double dipping campaign finance gravy train

5 Comments

By participating in Connecticut’s public financing system, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy will receive $6,500,400 in public funds to pay for his 2014 re-election effort…. Yes, that number is Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand, Four Hundred Dollars.

As readers know, public campaign finance systems were designed to take “big money” out of politics. 

By agreeing to be part of the public finance program, candidates agreed that they would NOT ACCEPT campaign contributions from political action committees, corporations or large donors.

Following the scandal that sent former Governor John Rowland to prison, Connecticut adopted the nation’s premier campaign finance system.

However, in 2013 at the request of Governor Malloy, the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly intentionally undermined Connecticut’s public finance system by creating a series of loopholes that will allow Malloy to take the $6.5 million dollars in public funds yet still participate allow him to benefit from a “shadow campaign” in which millions of dollars are funneled through political committees to benefit Malloy’s re-election aspirations.

At the time, Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan and others warned their colleagues of the consequences of undermining Connecticut’s campaign system, but legislators went ahead and did Malloy’s bidding.

Malloy’s scheme to double-dip campaign funds was laid out in a What, What? post entitled, “Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party.”

And now the fruits of Malloy’s efforts are coming to fruition.

As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? post, “Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation,” Team Malloy has raised approximately $2.5 million into one of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s accounts and that doesn’t even count the money that is being laundered through other party or political action committees.

So who are writing the big checks for Malloy’s shadow campaign operation?

Here is just a partial list,

Political Action Committee Amount
Wal-Mart PAC $5,000
Bank of America PAC $5000
Comcast PAC $5,000
Dominion PAC $3,500
AT&T PAC $5,000
Cigna PAC $5,000
Praxair Inc. PAC 5,000
Webster Bank PAC $3,000
United Healthcare PAC $5,000
Travelers PAC $5,000
Phoenix Companies PAC $5,000
Xerox PAC $2,500
Walt Disney Productions PAC $5,000
JIM PAC $5,000
Coventa Energy PAC $5,000
Dominion Energy PAC $3,500
GHC Ancillary Corp PAC $3,000
Purdue Pharma PAC $5,000
Boehringer Ingelheim PAC $2,500
GE PAC $5,000
National Confectioners PAC $2,500
Pfizer PAC $5,000
Pitney Bowes PAC $3,500
WellPoint PAC $2,500
Northeast Utilities PAC $2,500
 

And the list goes on and on and on….

 

Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation

10 Comments

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the nation…And to see how appreciative the corporate education reform industry is, one need only look at Malloy’s campaign fundraising program which has already raised more than $100,000 from the anti-public education industry.

As a participant in Connecticut’s public financing system, candidate Malloy is only supposed to rely on the taxpayer dollars that he will receive as a qualified candidate for governor.  But thanks to a gigantic loophole in the law, the Malloy political operation has been raising money for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee in order to augment the millions in public funds he will get to pay his campaign expenses.

By the end of February 2014, Malloy’s fundraising program had already collected more than $2.4 million into just one of the two accounts managed by the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Not surprisingly, Malloy has turned to the corporate funded pro-charter school, anti-teacher, anti-public education forces to help him raise record amounts of money.

The infamous Democrats for Education Reform, an anti-public education political action committee based in Washington D.C., has already provided Malloy with a check for $5,000.

Jonathan Sackler and his wife have donated a total of $36,000 to Malloy’s operation in just the past six months.  Sackler is the one who helped Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, create and expand Achievement First Inc., the large charter school management company.  Sackler was also a co-founder of the Connecticut charter school advocacy group ConnCAN and went on to create the national charter school advocacy group called 50 CAN.  When Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch tried to eliminate the democratically-elected board of education in that city, he turned to Sackler for a last-minute campaign donation of $50,000 to help pay for what proved to be his failed effort to undermine democracy.

Another nationally-recognized corporate education reform advocate to pour money into Malloy’s campaign is billionaire Stephen Mandel Jr.  Mandel, who was behind the creation of the corporate-funded education reform advocacy group, Excel Bridgeport, Inc., has already written two $10,000 checks for Malloy’s political activities.

Los Angeles, anti-public education billionaire Eli Broad has also gotten in on the act donating $8,000 to Malloy so far in this campaign cycle. Broad’s foundation is one of the three major national foundations funding the corporate education reform effort across the country.

And Sackler isn’t the only member of Achievement First Inc. and ConnCAN’s Board of Directors to have ponied up for Malloy.

To date, board members of these two Connecticut-based education reform groups have donated well in excess of $50,000 to Malloy’s political aspirations and that doesn’t even count another $50,000 that these same people dumped into another political action committee affiliated with Malloy.

So much for campaign contribution limits…and with Election Day still seven months away, we can be sure that Malloy will continue to cash in on his anti-public education agenda.

The Malloy Campaign Money Machine: Whatever you do, don’t call it pay to play!

28 Comments

More big money for Malloy campaign operation from contractors who got state funds…

As the website Raising Hale continues to reveal, contractors who benefited from the Malloy administration are coming through with hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions for Malloy’s re-election operation.

But whatever you do, don’t call it “Pay TO Play.”

“Pay AFTER Play” maybe, but let’s be clear, the generosity these contractors are showing the Governor Malloy re-election effort WASN’T because they WANTED to get state funded work, they are SIMPLY saying THANK YOU for the state funded work they did received.

Now that is a WHOLE different thing… (please note the satire)

DOT preferred developer brings 2013 gifts to Democrats up to $90,000 with December contributions  (From the Raising Hale Website) February 1, 2014 by Zachary Janowski

The joint venture selected by the Department of Transportation to redevelop part of Stamford near the city’s train station gave $90,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s federal account last year, including $32,500 in December.

DOT selected Stamford Manhattan Development Ventures in June to take charge of the $500 million project, including $35 million in state funding for parking garages.

Weeks after DOT told the joint venture it won, the family behind JHM Group, which belongs to the joint venture, gave $30,000 to the Democratic Party’s federal account.

Since the company is a prospective state contractor, its executives are prohibited from giving to the party’s state account, but are allowed to give to the federal account.

Executives from other joint-venture partners, including Ciminelli Development and AllPro Parking, gave another $27,500 in November.

In December, Paul Ciminelli and Dennis Penman, executives at Ciminelli Development, gave $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.

John and Raymond Gizzi, of ECCO III Enterprises, Inc., another joint-venture partner, gave $10,000 each last month, bringing the total to $90,000.

For more go to: http://www.raisinghale.com/

Connecticut Democratic Party Leaders: It is okay to lie, as long as it’s to raise money…

4 Comments

The question bothering a number of Democrats these days is what happened to our political party? 

We all know it takes money to run effective campaigns, but Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee is reaching new lows when it comes to misleading potential donors in their effort to raise funds.

Last week, Democratic State Central Committee Chair Nancy DiNardo sent out a blast email to donors and Democratic activists requesting a “contribution to our 2014 Early Action Fund. A $15, $10 or $5 contribution will ensure the Party is ready to support Democratic candidates at every level this fall and beyond.

This from the same individual who apparently played a leading role in diverting $40,000 in State Party funds to pay for Mayor Bill Finch’s failed attempt to elect the “endorsed” pro-corporate education reform industry slate against a Democratic challenge slate that was committed to dumping education reformer extraordinaire Paul Vallas and ending the effort to privatization Bridgeport’s Schools.

The money had been raised with the promise that it would be used to “support Democratic candidates” and yet it was actually spent on trying to defeat pro-public education Democratic candidates.

When repeatedly asked about the apparent violation of party rules and the waste of $40,000 that should have been used to fight Republicans, Democratic State Central Staff refused to respond.

When the Wait, What? post was sent to State Central Committee members and local Democratic Town Committee Chairs, one state central committee member wrote back, “Stop the bull shit,” a Democratic Town Chair responded “What is your point?” and two others asked to be removed from the mailing list…despite the fact that as Democratic State Central and Democratic Town Committee members they actually hold elected positions under Connecticut law.

Then today along came another blast email from the Connecticut Democrats. 

This one came from the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s Executive Director.  Jonathan Harris wrote, “Tuesday marks the 4-year anniversary of the Citizens United decision. While Super PACs and Tea Party groups are gearing up to target Connecticut Democrats in 2014, the Connecticut Democratic Party is building our Grassroots Organizing Program. It’s the only way we can compete.

Now we need you. Every $3, $5 and $12 contribution adds up to something big. Contribute to our Grassroots Program, and tell the Koch brothers and Karl Rove that in Connecticut, our elections are not for sale

A powerful and convincing statement…

Except it comes from an organization that is engaged in a widespread “pay to play” scheme to funnel tainted money from state contractors and other politically connected companies to the Democratic State Central Committee’s “federal account” as a way to by-pass Connecticut laws that restrict those types of contributions.

Malloy and his advisors may claim that the in a world in which the “end justifies the means,” it is necessary to fib a little or a lot to persuade Democrats to donate to the Democratic Party.

But the fact remains, the blast emails from DiNardo and Harris are misleading at best and outright lies at worst.

These and other Democratic Party officials are not doing the Party or the cause any favors when the create an environment in which a growing number of Democratic Party members realize that they are taking the Democratic Party in the wrong direction.

For more background on the diversion of $40,000 to influence a Democratic Primary for Board of Education in Bridgeport see Wait, What? posts: Connecticut Democratic Party hit with campaign finance complaint (1/8/14);  Connecticut Democratic Party Chair fails to explain – Why did the Party divert 40k to fight pro-public education Democrats in Bridgeport Primary? (12/10/13); Time for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee to come clean about spending (12/3/13); Malloy/Finch/Vallas lose in Bridgeport but questions remain about role of State Democratic Party (11/6/13); Did you make a contribution to the Democratic State Central Committee? (11/4/13); State Democratic Party (quietly) dumps $20k into losing Bridgeport slate (10/18/13); Connecticut Democratic Party subsidizes Mayor Finch’s Bridgeport Board of Education Slate (9/6/13)

For additional background on Malloy’s “Pay to Play” fundraising strategy see the following Wait, What? posts, Malloy’s Steelpointe Harbor corporate welfare package; the gift that keeps giving; Malloy’s Campaign donation controversies continue to grow; Malloy’s campaign donation haul from corporate education reform industry tops $70k; Malloy pulls in $36,000 plus from Connecticut nursing home industry; Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party; Democratic response to Malloy’s fundraising strategy is absurd and insulting…; Meanwhile…..John Rowland? No Dannel Malloy; Did you see the “For Sale” sign that the Malloy Administration put up?; Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform;

The following Raising Hale blogs are also very informative: DOT contractor gave $30,000 to Connecticut Democrats weeks after; Employees, family of DOT contractor gave $45,000 to Conn. Democratic Party last month; NU employees step up giving to Conn. Democratic Party; New Board of Regents chairman and wife maxed out to party weeks before selection; Democrats continue to collect donations from DOT preferred developer; Did employees of DOT contractor attend NYC fundraiser with Malloy?

Malloy’s Steelpointe Harbor corporate welfare package; the gift that keeps giving

3 Comments

This past September, Governor Malloy and the State Bond Commission approved $31 million in taxpayer funded subsidies for the development of a Bass Pro Store and other improvements to support the Steelpointe Harbor development project in Bridgeport. 

 

Malloy’s corporate welfare package came on top of $11 million in Federal funding, various subsidies from the City of Bridgeport and an undisclosed amount of previous state grants for the project.  Much of the latest funding will come from bonding schemes that will require taxpayers to not only pay the principal but the interest associated with borrowing those funds.

The site will host a Bass Pro Shop.  Commercial and residential space is planned for future phases of the project.

According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, even before the State Bond Commission voted on September 27, Malloy’s “investment” of taxpayer was already paying dividends.

In the days leading up to the vote, Florida residents Robert Christoph Sr. and his son, Robert Christoph Jr., the two principal owners of Bridgeport Landing LLC and Mark Summers, the project’s manager, sent in checks to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account”  for $1,000, $1,750, $7,250 and $10,000.

Another projected major beneficiary of the Steelpointe Project is the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Steam Boat Company.  Just a week before Bridgeport Landing LLC officers and employees sent in their $20,000, New York resident Brain McAllister, the President, Vice President and Director of the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Steam Board Company sent in his check for $10,000 to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”

McAllister is also an officer in McAllister Towing and Transportation, Inc.

Last year at least 15 family members and employees of McAllister Towing and Transportation Inc. donated to the Malloy affiliated Prosperity for Connecticut political action committee.

As the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender wrote at the time;

“Executives and others with ties to a major New York-based tugboat and ferry business made about $11,000 in contributions this year to a political action committee run by a friend of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — a PAC that Malloy has helped to raise more than $200,000 in its 18 months of existence.

State campaign finance records show that at least 15 contributions — mostly at the maximum annual amount for an individual, $750 — were made in May and September to the Prosperity for Connecticut PAC by people with ties of employment or kin to Capt. Brian A. McAllister of New York City. He is the head of McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. and the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co., which operates the ferry between those two ports.”

Unlike the donations in 2012 that went to a political action committee, this latest round of campaign money is being deposited in to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account”

The donations appear to be part of a strategy in which Malloy and his political operatives are raising money to augment the $3 million dollars or so that Malloy would receive from Connecticut’s public financing system.

By funneling campaign donations into the Democratic Party, the Malloy campaign will be able to implement an “independent” campaign to support the Governor’s re-election efforts.

While directed donations are illegal under Connecticut state law, the Malloy Team is relying on a loop-hole in the federal law that they apparently believe allows them to raise money for Malloy’s benefit as long as it flows through the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”

In yet another story originally reported by Jon Lender, the CEO of Northeast Utilities sent out an email earlier this year instructing his top corporate officials that they could support Malloy’s re-election effort by donating money to the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”

As the media and bloggers such as Raising Hale have reported, the Connecticut Democratic Party has raised tens of thousands of dollars over the last few months from companies doing business with the State of Connecticut.

You can read more about the Steelpointe Harbor Project in an article written by Ken Dixon and Brian Lockhart at: http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/State-approves-22-million-TIF-bond-for-Bass-Pro-4850398.php

You can read Jon Lender’s article about the McAllister donations to the PAC affiliated with Governor Malloy at: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-column-pac-contributions-1209-20121208,0,1249593.column

And you can read more about Malloy’s campaign donation strategy in the following posts:

Malloy’s Campaign donation controversies continue to grow

Malloy’s campaign donation haul from corporate education reform industry tops $70k

Malloy pulls in $36,000 plus from Connecticut nursing home industry

Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party

Democratic response to Malloy’s fundraising strategy is absurd and insulting…

Meanwhile…..John Rowland? No Dannel Malloy

Did you see the “For Sale” sign that the Malloy Administration put up?

Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform

The following Raising Hale blogs are also very informative:

DOT contractor gave $30,000 to Connecticut Democrats weeks after

Employees, family of DOT contractor gave $45,000 to Conn. Democratic Party last month

NU employees step up giving to Conn. Democratic Party

Older Entries