Dannel Malloy – Stonewalling an investigation by Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission.

3 Comments

When Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy accepted $6.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay for this 2014 gubernatorial campaign he signed a contract promising not to accept any other funds to pay for his campaign.

But despite that commitment Malloy and his political operatives funneled millions of dollars through the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s Federal Account in an unethical effort to beat his Republican opponent.  The money that flowed through the Democratic Party’s special account included hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who directly benefited from lucrative state contracts, a move that also violated Connecticut state law.

Connecticut’s bi-partisan State Elections Enforcement Commission authorized an investigation into the illegal activities engaged by Malloy and his political operatives.

But rather than address the issues, Team Malloy has been fighting to stop the investigation.

Not only has he ducked his legal responsibilities as governor and as a candidate for governor, but he is forcing the state to waste massive amounts of public funds trying to get the Malloy campaign and the Democratic Party to stop stonewalling the investigation by the Connecticut State Elections Commission.

The Connecticut State Elections Commission is hardly a partisan body.

Anthony J. Castagno of North Stonington was elected Chairman of the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission in December 2012.  He was nominated to the Commission by the Speaker of the House. Salvatore A. Bramante was nominated to the Commission by the Minority Leader of the House. Patricia Stankevicius of Wolcott was nominated to serve on the Commission by Governor M. Jodi Rell.  Attorney Stephen T. Penny was nominated to serve on the Commission by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Attorney Michael J. Ajello was nominated to the Commission by the Senate Minority Leader.

All were confirmed by the Connecticut General Assembly.

Let’s re-state that point – ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE CONNECTICUT STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION WERE LEGALLY NOMINATED AND CONFIRMED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

But rather than protect the State Election Enforcement Commission’s legal responsibility to investigate what appears to be a major crime, Malloy and his political operatives continue to do everything they can to stop what is an appropriate and necessary investigation into Malloy’s campaign.

Here is the latest news coverage of the effort to stop the duly authorized investigation.

From the Hartford Courant comes, “Final Arguments Turn Testy On Subpoena Of State Democratic Party Documents.”

Lawyers delivered at-times testy final arguments Tuesday in a trial over whether the state Democratic Party can continue to defy a subpoena that demands emails between Gov. Daniel P. Malloy and top aides, as well as other documents relating to the party’s support of Malloy’s re-election last year.

[…]

Central to the case are the clean-election laws that the General Assembly enacted in 2005, after Gov. John G. Rowland was convicted of corruption for receiving lucrative benefits from state contractors. Those laws created a system of public financing of state campaigns, along with a ban on state contractors’ executives and family members contributing to candidates for state office – all intended to banish contractors’ influence from elections.

According to the GOP’s complaint, state Democrats broke state law by paying for pro-Malloy mass mailings last year with about $250,000 from a federally regulated campaign account, which is allowed by federal law to accept heavy contributions from state contractors. Republicans said the expenditure on the mailings illegally circumvented the state ban on contractors’ contributions.

In court Tuesday, Golub reiterated past assertions that the Malloy mailers must be considered “federal election activity” – which federal law requires be paid for out of the federal account, he said.

“Federal election activity” is what Congress has decided “can influence the outcome of a federal election,” Golub said – adding that the mailers fell into that category because, even though they were dominated by photos and praise of Malloy, they included wording that urged people to vote, told them where polling places were and provided a phone number to call for a ride to the polls.

Those voters could also vote for candidates for federal office – in the person of Democratic candidates for congressional seats who were on the same ballot with Malloy. Thus, Golub has said for weeks, the get-out-the-vote language on the pro-Malloy mailers could have affected the outcome of federal congressional elections. It didn’t matter that the pro-Malloy mailers didn’t contain the names of any of those congressional candidates, he said.

However, Osborne said the state and federal laws aren’t incompatible, as Golub claims, and that it might have been possible for the Democrats to comply with both. She asked Robaina to uphold the SEEC’s authority under state law, as “the election experts,” to “carry out a meaningful investigation.”

Her comments echoed what she wrote in a recent legal brief: “The far-reaching implications of [Golub’s] argument cannot be overstated; if the … pre-emption claim is permitted to prevail, in every election in Connecticut where there is a federal candidate on the ballot, which is every two years, the SEEC’s authority to regulate contributions to state candidates will be effortlessly circumvented,” Osborne wrote. “Such a conclusion will reverberate through state elections and even beyond the borders of Connecticut.”

[…]

Golub said that although U.S. Supreme Court decisions generally give deference to subpoenas from regulatory agencies such as the SEEC, they make an “enormous exception” in cases where a party organization’s First Amendment rights to associate politically are threatened.

In such cases – and he said this is one – the regulatory agency needs to make a detailed “showing of need” that goes “beyond just a general suspicion,” Golub said. He said the subpoena seeks two full years’ worth of internal party communications that could cover strategy and internal operations, as well as the names of people who solicit money to operate the party and expand membership, adding that information is constitutionally protected.

But Osborne disputed him, saying emails are often the source of information about improper activity, and the party shouldn’t be able to withhold them because they may be “embarrassing” on a personal level to those who wrote them.

In 2014, Connecticut taxpayers funded more than$33 million in campaign grants to state candidates who participated in the Citizens’ Election Program on the promise that they wouldn’t accept money from state contractors. Malloy received $6.5 million through the public-financing program.

The CT Newsjunkie story on the hearing was entitled, “Attorney For Election Regulators: Dems Tried To ‘Stonewall and Stymie’ Investigation.”

An attorney for state election regulators told Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina that the Connecticut Democratic Party was trying to “stonewall and stymie” an investigation, while an attorney for the party told him they were seeking highly confidential party communications protected by the First Amendment.

Those arguments were made Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court. Robaina gave the attorneys two hours to make their closing arguments. He asked no questions. He has 120 days to make a decision, but told the attorneys he will make one as quickly as possible.

Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne, who represents the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which is seeking to enforce the subpoena against the Democratic Party said the investigation regulators are trying to conduct “is seriously languishing” due to the lack of compliance.

The complaint against the Democratic Party, which spent more than $200,000 from its federal account on mailers featuring Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was filed by former Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola back in October 2014.

The mailers that also included a get-out-the-vote message were paid for with the party’s federal account. The federal account can accept money from state contractors. That creates a conflict between federal and state law. State law prohibits state contractor money from being used on publicly financed candidates, even though publicly financed candidates are now allowed to accept unlimited amounts from political parties.

Osborne said if the party is allowed to get away with this it amounts to a “massive circumvention route” around the state’s campaign finance laws, which were adopted in 2005 in the wake of former Gov. John G. Rowland’s corruption plea for accepting gifts from state contractors.

And the CT Mirror added to the coverage in, “Assistant AG: Democrats trying to ‘stonewall’,” writing

How the Connecticut Democratic Party came to solicit state contractors, regulated industries and beneficiaries of state aid for campaign contributions in 2014 is “highly privileged and confidential,” the party’s lawyer told a judge Tuesday.

David S. Golub, defending Democrats against an investigative subpoena, told Superior Court Judge Antonio C. Robaina in Hartford that the party has no obligation to disclose its fundraising strategy or internal communications.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has no right to the names of people who solicited campaign funds or the strategy for approaching donors, he said. Donors gave as much as $20,000 each in the two years prior to 2014 election, when the Democratic Party raised more than $7 million.

Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne, representing the commission, said the Democrats were trying to “stonewall and stymie the investigation.”

The commission is attempting to investigate whether the party illegally supported the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last year with contributions from donors barred from giving to state campaigns.

Robaina heard final arguments Tuesday on a motion by the attorney general’s office for the judge to compel the party to produce emails, bank records and other documents subpoenaed by the elections commission.

“This court should order the enforcement of the State Elections Enforcement Commission’s subpoena sooner rather than later,” Osborne said.

Robaina, who gave the two lawyers free rein to spar for two hours, has 120 days to render a decision. The judge asked no questions, made no comments and gave no hint of whether he would facilitate or hobble what might be the most politically sensitive investigation ever opened by the commission.

In trying to quash the subpoena, Golub made arguments aimed at ending the investigation. He is challenging the commission’s jurisdiction and accusing it of trying to reach too deeply into the inner workings of the state’s dominant political party, violating its First Amendment rights.

The case is testing the strength of sweeping campaign finance reforms passed in 2005 after a corruption scandal toppled Gov. John G. Rowland: a ban on donations from state contractors, limits on lobbyist contributions and a voluntary system of publicly financed campaigns.

A central issue is conflicts between state and federal campaign finance law.

While Connecticut law bars state contractors from donating to state campaigns, federal law dictates the rules for raising and spending money that is used for get-out-the-vote efforts in federal election years, when state elections are also held.

The result is state parties maintain state and federal accounts. They are free to deposit state contractor contributions in the federal accounts, which provide significant support for state campaigns by helping deliver voters to the polls.

Essentially, the state has two sets of contradictory campaign financing rules: one provides public financing to candidates who agree to accept donations of no more than $100 and abide by spending limits that vary by office; the other allows state parties to accept maximum donations of $10,000 a year and spend unlimited amounts supporting their candidates.

Malloy benefitted from both systems. He is Connecticut’s first governor to win using public financing, defeating wealthy, self-funding opponents who outspent him in the Democratic primary and general election in 2010.

He was re-elected in 2014 with $6.5 million in public financing and the support of a party that financed a sophisticated get-out-the-vote machine with funds Malloy helped attract, beginning with more than $1.5 million in 2013. That was triple what the Democratic Party had collected four years earlier in the runup to the 2010 election, when it did not control the governor’s office.

And so it goes…..

Apparently laws are for the little people….

Connecticut Public Financing Program “Safe”, For Now … But…

2 Comments

As CT Newsjunkie reported late yesterday,

“By the end of the day Thursday, both House and Senate Democrats who proposed suspending Connecticut’s landmark public financing system in 2016, had withdrawn their proposals.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, made the announcement early Thursday afternoon and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz agreed to find the money elsewhere later Thursday afternoon. The news of the reversal came part way through a press conference held by ConnPIRG, Common Cause, lawmakers and other defenders of the clean election system.”

As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? post entitled, Connecticut’s Democratic Legislative Leaders call for suspending elections to save money…,

The Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly proposed suspending Connecticut’s public financing system, thereby allowing legislators to transfer about $11 million toward the $254 million budget deficit in this year’s state budget.

Their plan would roll back the campaign finance system that Connecticut adopted after former Governor John Rowland resigned in disgrace and was sent to prison.

Instead of keeping Connecticut’s Clean Election Program in place, Democratic leaders would return the state to the “Wild West” campaign fundraising system that favored incumbents and ensured that campaigns for the legislature were primarily financed by political action committees, lobbyists and those who benefit financially from state contracts.”

Former Governor Jodi Rell joined in condemning the Democratic leader’s move to end the Clean Elections Program but correctly noted that Governor Malloy and the General Assembly had already undermined some of the most important aspects of the historic effort to keep dirty money out of Connecticut politics.

In a statement Rell observed,

“The Democrats have effectively eviscerated the spirit of the law since 2011 and now they are looking to overturn the actual letter of the law altogether.”

Meanwhile, faced with a state budget deficit in excess of $254 million, the Senate Democrats issued their own proposal yesterday. (See CT Newsjunkie’s The Democratic Divide and CT Mirror’s Senate Dems break with House, go own way on deficit.)

As the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains,

Senate Democrats issued their own deficit-mitigation plan Thursday, pressing for a retirement incentive plan opposed by House Democrats and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as damaging to the state’s overburdened pension system.

The retirement incentives were offered in place of suspending the state’s public financing of campaigns, a measure included in a list of spending cuts they jointly proposed Monday with House Democrats.

[…]

An estimated $163 million would be saved over this fiscal year and next, Senate Democrats say, by paying incentives to encourage senior state employees to retire.

Of course Connecticut has learned the hard way that while retirement incentives “reduce” the state payroll by persuading state employees to retire early, it does that by moving employees from the state payroll over to the pension fund, which is already extraordinarily underfunded.

In addition, since some state employee positions must be refilled in order to maintain some of the most critical state services, early retirement programs never save as much money as initially proposed.

For Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens, early retirement incentive programs disrupt the level and quality of vital services they receive.

In addition, while the budget cutting plans issued by Governor Malloy, the House Democrats, the Senate Democrats and legislative Republicans differ in various ways, all target the University of Connecticut, Connecticut’s State Universities and the state’s Community Colleges for even more devastating cuts ranging in size from a low of $12 million to Governor Malloy’s high of $28 million.

Malloy has already dealt Connecticut’s public colleges and universities with the biggest budget cuts in Connecticut history, which in turn have led to massive tuition increases and reduced educational opportunities and programs.

Connecticut’s Democratic Legislative Leaders call for suspending elections to save money…

1 Comment

Well, their proposal is pretty damn close to that…

Earlier this week, the Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly proposed suspending Connecticut’s public financing system, thereby allowing legislators to transfer about $11 million toward the $254 million budget deficit in this year’s state budget.

Their plan would roll back the campaign finance system that Connecticut adopted after former Governor John Rowland resigned in disgrace and was sent to prison.

Instead of keeping Connecticut’s Clean Election Program in place, Democratic leaders would return the state to the “Wild West” campaign fundraising system that favored incumbents and ensured that campaigns for the legislature were primarily financed by political action committees, lobbyists and those who benefit financially from state contracts.

Without consulting the members of the Senate or House Democratic Caucuses, the plan to suspend Connecticut’s campaign finance system was announced by Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Democratic Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and Democratic House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz.

The 2006 campaign cycle was the last time Connecticut incumbents enjoyed the full pay-to-play campaign finance game that ensured that most campaign donations went to incumbents and that those funds came from state contractors, lobbyists and political action committees.

In fact, the old “incumbent protection” system was working so well that neither Senator Martin Looney nor Representative Brendan Sharkey even had opponents, while Senator Bob Duff and Representative Joe Aresimowicz were able to easily raise far more campaign money than their challengers.

Although Senator Looney didn’t even have an opponent that year, he raised more than $43,000 for his campaign, nearly 60 percent coming from PACs and a large percentage of his individual contributions from lobbyists and state contractors.

Senator Duff raised over $100,000 in 2006, with well over 60 percent coming from PACS, Lobbyists and state contractors, while Representative Aresimowicz collected over $40,000 with more than 70 percent coming from PACS, lobbyists and state contractors.

The leadership proposal designed to return Connecticut campaign finance system and elections to the dark ages drew immediate condemnation from organizations dedicated to more open and transparent elections and government including,the Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG), Common Cause and the national democracy advocacy group, DEMOS.

As the CT Mirror reported,

Tom Swan, executive director of CCAG, said it was especially galling to see Democratic leaders willing to end a program that has provided political newcomers a level playing field for raising money, while they also are proposing cutting business taxes.

“For them to try to stack the deck by eliminating clean elections to fund corporate loopholes is one of the worst public policy proposals from a political perspective I can think of,” said Swan

Common Cause added,

After years of Connecticut being a beacon for the nation for open, transparent elections where money is identified and visible, our successful public financing program for state elections is under attack from Democratic leadership in the Connecticut General Assembly. They are poised to cut $11.7 million from the Citizens’ Election Fund, which will essentially end public financing in Connecticut.

State budget shortfall is a serious issue.  However, the answer is not to cut a program which successfully removed the moniker “Corrupticut” from our state – a program overwhelmingly supported by the public that allows people to run who are not wealthy or connected to power and has been used by over 74% of candidates running for state office.

And Demos, a national advocate for Clean Elections stated;

While Seattle and Maine make progress in getting big money out of elections, Connecticut is poised to undo a signature accomplishment—the Citizens Election Program. Facing budget cuts, some legislators in Connecticut have proposed allowing wealthy donors to, once again, dominate the state’s elections.

Connecticut has had state-wide public financing since 2008. Through financing from the Citizens’ Election Fund, candidates who obtain the required number of small donations can receive a lump sum to fund their campaign.

The program has increased participation, diversified the donor pool, helped more candidates of color run for office, and led to policy outcomes more responsive to the needs of the general public rather than the elite donor class.

While the negative response from advocacy groups and newer legislators sends a powerful signal that allowing PACS, lobbyists and state contractors to control Connecticut politics will not be tolerated, this latest Democratic leadership proposal is actually a continuation of the strategy Governor Malloy and the Democrats and the Connecticut General Assembly have used to significantly undermine Connecticut’s once prominent Clean Elections Program.

In recent years, Malloy and Democrats have adopted a series of loopholes in the campaign finance reform law that resulted in Malloy taking $6.5 million in public funds to pay for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign and then collecting millions of dollars for his campaign activities from political action committees and state contractors, funding entities whose donations are supposed to be completely banned under Connecticut’s Public Financing System.

You can read more about the Democratic proposal to drop the “Clean Elections” program at CT Newsjunkie: Dems Would Scrap Clean Election Program To Balance Budget

You can read more on how the existing program has been undermined via the following Wait, What? posts or by going to Wait, What? and searching under “Campaign Finance”.

Malloy, legislature continue to water-down Connecticut’s “landmark” campaign finance laws;

Malloy’s “Final Destruction” of Connecticut’s Campaign Finance Reform Law;

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

When THEY take dirty money it is BAD, but when WE do … well that’s different.

8 Comments

One of this week’s Emails from the Connecticut Democratic Party was another Call to Action to fight the influence of Corporate Money that is destroying our Democracy.

The email urged me to add my name to the historic effort to end the damage that is being caused by Supreme Court’s decision in the infamous Citizens United case that allowed corporate money to corrupt politics in the United States.

The Connecticut Democratic Party’s email reminded,

Ever since the disastrous decision of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, the Koch brothers and their corporate cronies have been buying our democracy out from under us—and we can’t let it stand anymore.

Add your name and call for an end to Citizens United

NAME: Jonathan Pelto

SIGNATURE: PENDING

We have some bad news for you: your money is being used to help radical Tea Party Republicans win.

We know this is a shock to you—but it’s sadly true. That’s because HUGE corporations—where we buy our groceries, our gas for our cars, cleaning supplies—have unlimited influence over our elections, and they are POURING money into races to try to elect radical right-wing Republicans.

Had enough of this? We sure have. Sign on to end the deluge of corporate money into our elections.

With a simply click I could act on the outrage of HUGE corporations buying American politics.

I could add my name to the Democratic Party’s outrage about “the deluge of corporate money into our elections.”

One click and I would be standing side by side the Connecticut Democratic Party fighting the terrible fact that;

HUGE corporations —where we buy our groceries, our gas for our cars, cleaning supplies—have unlimited influence over our elections…

Of course the Democratic Party’s argument is a “bit” disingenuous.

Despite Connecticut’s extraordinary effort to ban corporate and state contractor money from contaminating Connecticut politics following disgraced Governor John Rowland’s resignation, Governor Malloy and the Democratic Party watered down those laws and used loopholes to take the very corporate contributions they now claim that oppose.

Even worse, not only did they open the flood gates to allow corporate and state contractor money to undermine our democracy here in Connecticut, but they are actively engaged in an effort to prevent the Connecticut’s State Election Enforcement Commission from investigating the apparent illegal activities that Malloy and the Democratic Party engaged in during last year’s gubernatorial campaign. (See Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party and Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee – In plain English it’s called obstructing Justice.

And what corporate money have the Connecticut Democrats taken?

Dannel Malloy’s Re-Election and the 2014 Election Cycle AMOUNT
AETNA INC. PAC $2,500.00
ALCOA INC. PAC $2,500.00
ALEXION PAC $2,500.00
ALVAREZ & MARSAL HOLDINGS LLC PAC $5,000.00
AT&T INC. PAC $5,000.00
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION PAC $5,000.00
BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM PAC $7,500.00
CBS CORPORATION PAC $1,000.00
CERNER CORPORATION PAC $2,500.00
CIGNA CORPORATION PAC $10,000.00
COMCAST CORPORATION PAC $10,000.00
COMPUTER SCIENCES CORPORATION PAC $5,000.00
COVANTA ENERGY CORPORATION PAC $8,500.00
DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM PAC $5,000.00
DOMINION PAC $3,500.00
ENTERPRISE HOLDINGS INC. PAC $1,000.00
FOX PAC $5,000.00
FUELCELL ENERGY PAC $2,500.00
GENERAL DYNAMICS PAC $5,000.00
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY PAC $10,000.00
GHC ANCILLARY CORPORATION PAC $4,000.00
HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP INC PAC $10,000.00
HNTB HOLDINGS LTD. PAC $5,000.00
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL PAC $5,000.00
JOHNSON & JOHNSON PAC $5,000.00
LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION PAC $1,000.00
MAXIMUS INC. PAC $5,000.00
NORTHEAST UTILITIES PAC $2,500.00
PFIZER INC. PAC $10,000.00
PRAXAIR, INC. PAC $5,000.00
PUBLIC SERVICE ENTERPRISE PAC $1,000.00
PURDUE PHARMA PAC $5,000.00
SAFELITE GROUP INC. PAC $2,000.00
SPECTRA ENERGY CORP PAC $5,000.00
SYNERGY PAC $5,000.00
THE NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA INC. PAC $2,000.00
THE PHOENIX COMPANIES PAC $3,500.00
THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES PAC $10,000.00
THE WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS PAC $5,000.00
THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC. PAC $2,000.00
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. PAC $10,000.00
WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT $5,000.00
WALGREEN COMPANY PAC $2,500.00
WEBSTER BANK PAC $3,000.00
WELLPOINT, INC. PAC $7,000.00
XEROX CORPORATION PAC $5,000.00
XL AMERICA. INC. $1,500.00

 

Even more money in 2015… AMOUNT
ANTHEM, INC. PAC $5,000.00
CIGNA CORPORATION PAC $2,500.00
COVANTA ENERGY CORPORATION PAC $1,000.00
DOMINION RESOURCES INC. PAC $2,500.00
ECHOSTAR CORPORATION AND DISH NETWORK CORPORATION PAC $3,000.00
FOX PAC $2,000.00
GDF SUEZ ENERGY NORTH AMERICA, INC. PAC $1,000.00
GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY PAC $5,000.00
H&R BLOCK INC. PAC $2,000.00
HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP PAC $5,000.00
HNTB HOLDINGS LTD. PAC $2,500.00
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL PAC $2,500.00
MAXIMUS INC. PAC $1,000.00
PFIZER INC. PAC $5,000.00
PITNEY BOWES, INC. PAC $5,000.00
PURDUE PHARMA PAC $5,000.00
RETAIL, WHOLESALE & DEPARTMENT STORE PAC $2,000.00
SAFELITE GROUP INC. PAC $3,000.00
THE PHOENIX COMPANIES PAC $1,500.00
THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES PAC $5,000.00
UGI CORPORATION PAC $3,000.00
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. PAC $5,000.00
WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT $1,000.00
WEBSTER BANK PAC $5,000.00
XEROX CORPORATION PAC $1,000.00

 

Malloy continues to coddle Connecticut’s Charter School Industry

1 Comment

The massive financial investment the charter school industry made in Malloy’s last gubernatorial campaign appears to be paying off yet again as Governor announces a new plan to cut state spending.

As the CT Mirror is reporting in an exclusive article entitled, Malloy pitches $350M in cuts; GOP wants mix of cuts, labor savings;

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy presented legislators Thursday with almost $350 million in budget-cutting options that would fall heavily on social services, education and municipal aid, according to documents obtained by The Mirror.

Details are scarce, but in classic fashion, Malloy is targeting the majority of his new budget cuts on health care, human services, education and Connecticut’s Public institutions of higher education.

Malloy’s list of “cuts” includes $2.3 million “less” for Connecticut’s privately owned but taxpayer funded charter schools…but such a claim obscures the truth.

According to the CT Mirror, the Charter School “cut is possible because fewer students enrolled in charter schools than the state budget provided. This happened because the State Board of Education approved a smaller expansion of charter schools than initially anticipated.”

However the real truth is that as a result of Malloy’s demand that charter schools get the money they wanted, the present Connecticut budget includes $8.6 million more for Charter Schools this year and an additional $13.1 million more in next year’s budget.

Lest people fall for the claim that Charter Schools are being “cut,” even if Malloy’s latest proposal is adopted, the Charter Schools – which refuse to educate their fair share of students with special education needs and those who aren’t fluent in English – will still be getting $6.3 million more this year and a total of $19.4 over the two year budget period.

While protecting charter schools, who proved to be among his largest campaign donors, Malloy’s new spending plan actually includes a variety of significant cuts to public education programs including a $15 million cut in the school transportation grant which will simply shift the burden for those costs onto local property taxpayers.

In addition, while protecting charter schools and cutting public schools, Malloy returns to one of his favorite targets, proposing an additional $28 million in cuts to UConn and the Board of Regents (Connecticut State University and Community Colleges).

Malloy is also proposing to cut an additional $16.5 million to Connecticut’s hospitals, many of which are already unable to maintain their present level of services due to Malloy’s previous budget cuts.

The CT Mirror is also reporting that;

Meanwhile, leaders of the legislature’s Republican minority offered an array of spending cuts and new restrictions on state employees’ wages and benefits, all of which presumably would require negotiations with labor unions.

You can read the full CT Mirror article at: http://ctmirror.org/2015/11/12/malloy-pitches-350m-in-cuts-gop-wants-labor-concessions/

Campaign Finance Violations will follow Bronin (Win or Lose)

2 Comments

Call it Pay-to-Play or Play and Pay…

Greenwich native and Hartford mayoral wannabee Luke Bronin has not only run the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, but his campaign that has made a mockery of Connecticut’s Campaign Finance Laws.

Win or lose, Luke Bronin will be facing the State Elections Enforcement Commission to address his significant and far-reaching violations of the State’s laws about who can donate and how campaign donation’s must be reported.

As part of his unprecedented effort to buy the Hartford Mayor’s Office, Bronin and his political operation violated numerous provisions of the Connecticut’s election laws including the failure to properly disclose contributions from lobbyists and from companies and individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports indicate, his campaign failed to accurately identify more than 80 percent of the lobbyists who donated to his campaign and well over 100 individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

The reports suggest that Bonin and his campaign have also violated even more significant provisions of the law.

Any issues that have not already been raised in complaints to the State Elections Enforcement Commission will be included in a wrap-up complaint that will be filed with the state authority in the next couple of days.

Interestingly, while the breadth of campaign violations are obvious, the Hartford Court chose not to cover the issue at all.

The following are some of the Wait, What? posts about Bronin’s campaign, others can be found on the Blog;

Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Billionaires for Bronin

Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.

And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium

Luke Bronin and his campaign know – Campaign Donation Limits are for Losers

Luke Bronin the “outsider” is looking more and more like an “insider” – the Carlos Lopez Story

Outside money turns Hartford Democratic Town Committee into a Luke Bronin slush fund

Hartford parking lots a Goldmine for Luke Bronin

1 Comment

Operating pay to park garages and lots in Hartford is extremely profitable and campaign finance reports indicate that parking garage and lot operators in Hartford have been lining up to give Greenwich native Luke Bronin large donations for his campaign to become Hartford’s Next Mayor.

LAZ Parking, owned by Alan Lazowski, operates at least 12 major pay to park garages and another 5 pay to park lots in Hartford.  Lazowksi also owns that LAZ Fly Economy Airport Parking at Bradley Airport.  Lazowski, his wife and other corporate officers and employees have donated at least $7,000 to Bronin’s campaign.  Lazowski has kicked in two $1,000 checks, one before and one after the September 16 Democratic primary, while his wife, the company’s COO and other executives have donated thousands more.

While LAZ Parking dominates the parking garage market in Hartford, ProPark Inc. is the leader in the lot market with 11 pay to park lots and 2 garages.  Owned by John Schmid of Litchifield and other ProPark Inc. management team have dropped at least $5,000 on Bronin.

The story of Hartford’s Connecticut Parking Services owner Carlos Lopez was featured in the Wait, What? post entitled, Luke Bronin the “outsider” is looking more and more like an “insider” – the Carlos Lopez Story.  CT Parking Services operates a garage and lot in Hartford.

Lopez, who is a Farmington, Republican gave Bronin $1,000 and donated another $2,000 to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee to help with Bronin’s Get-Out-The-Vote effort. Lopez’s family, associates and employees gave Bronin an additional $5,000 on top of that.

The lucrative parking garage and lot contracts are handed out by the Hartford Parking Authority, a five member commission appointed by the Mayor.  The Chair of the Hartford Parking Authority is none-other-than state lobbyist Paddy LeShane, who along his her husband Patrick Sullivan run one of the most influential lobbying firms in Connecticut.   Both LeShane and Sullivan have become generous contributors to Bronin’s political aspirations.

Bronin has also collected checks form other parking companies including Park Ride Fly USA, Roncari and Park New Haven.

Companies that contract with the City of Hartford have proven to be among Luke Bronin’s biggest sources of campaign cash.  According to his campaign finance reports, at least sixty-six (66) companies with large city contacts have donated to his campaign, some having donated tens of thousands of dollars.

Calculating the full amount of money Hartford City contractors have given to Bronin is impossible because more than 100 donations from contractors are not coded as such, a major violation of Connecticut’s campaign finance law.  One of the problems with the Bronin for Mayor campaign finance reports is that the reporting errors are so prevalent that one might guess that they are miscoded to cover-up how much contractor and lobbyist money has flowed into his campaign war chest.

Stadium Developers give big to Luke Bronin – Sarah Bronin responsible for approving big changes that Stadium Developers want

2 Comments

The City of Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 260 Constitution Plaza, Plaza Level Conference Room, Hartford, CT 06103 at 6:00 p.m. on the developers plan to modify the DoNo Hartford Development Project.

Sara Bronin, wife of Harford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin, is the Chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission.

The contact between the City of Hartford and the developers of the Dunkin Donut Baseball Stadium and the entire DONO Downtown North Development Project required that construction on Phase II (Parcel E), which includes the desperately needed north-end grocery store, was to begin no later than November 1, 2015.

However, the developers failed to fulfill that responsibility and now want permission from the City of Hartford to delay and modify the construction plan related to Phase II (Parcel E).

The conflict of interest that Sara (and Luke) Bronin face is obvious.

As reported in a Wait, What? post on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 entitled, Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day, the Greenwich native who moved to Hartford and now wants to be Hartford’s next mayor revealed in his latest campaign finance report that he had raised another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium and the DONO Project.

The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already collected from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting a large amount of campaign money from the contractors hired to build the DONO project including the new baseball stadium.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a number of the DONO contractors including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

Four of the leading companies involved in the DONO Development Project are owned by lead developer Bob Landino who is a former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.  The developers are represented before the City of Hartford by the law firm that is led by Tom Ritter, the former Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

While Luke Bronin’s flip-flop on the stadium issues is newsworthy on its own, the immediate and more incredible news development may very well be that the developers of the Hartford Stadium donated to Luke Bronin at the exact same time that the stadium developers are seeking to modify the project after having failed to break ground, as required, on Phase II of the DONO project.

With no construction taking place on the grocery store, housing and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E), Luke Bronin’s wife will be convening a Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday – the day after Election Day – to approve changes that release the Stadium Developers from their commitment to begin Phase II and to make significant changes to the scope of Phase II.

While the developers have sought to trivialize their change in plans, their failure to follow through on their commitments concerning Phase II has a profound impact on the project and the credibility of those behind the entire Hartford Downtown North Development scheme.

The Hartford Courant reported on importance of Phase II this past summer in an article entitled, Developers To Break Ground On Downtown North Grocery Store In October,

City officials and developers of the Downtown North project, which includes retail, housing and a baseball stadium, said Wednesday that they will break ground on a parcel that includes a grocery store by late October.

Yves-Georges A. Joseph II, vice president of development for Centerplan, said the developers don’t yet have a supermarket operator on board, but they are in conversations with operators.

Joseph, who attended a forum on the Downtown North project Wednesday at the city’s public library, said the deadline to begin construction is Nov. 1.

The area, known as Parcel E, is the first phase of housing and retail in the project. The parcel, which would include 328 apartments, a grocery store, a fitness center, other shops and parking, would be located across Main Street from a 9,000-capacity minor league baseball stadium.

Joseph said Wednesday that if developers don’t reach a deal with a supermarket operator, “we as an organization will own or operate a supermarket.”

The Hartford Courant’s June 2015 story ended with,

Panelists at Wednesday’s forum, sponsored by Hartford 2000, expressed skepticism about the developer’s ability to bring in a supermarket.

Denise Best, a North End activist, said many promises have been made and broken by city leadership.

So now October has come and gone and there is no sign of any construction related to the grocery store, or the associated housing, fitness center, shops and parking.

What has occurred over the last few weeks is that the developers have become a major source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin’s campaign for Mayor and, the day after Election Day, Bronin’s wife will be chairing the Commission that is supposed to hold the developers accountable for their failure to produce as promised.

Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Comments Off on Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Hartford Courant columnist and fellow blogger Kevin Rennie has reviewed candidate Luke Bronin’s campaign finance reports and has discovered another disturbing fact.

Not only has Greenwich native and political newcomer run the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, but Bronin ended up paying a truly shocking amount of money for each vote he received in his successful effort to be crowned the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor of Hartford..

In a post entitled, Democrats Will Be Outraged: Bronin Spent $170 a Vote in Primary Win Over Segarra, Kevin Rennie writes;

Democrat Luke Bronin spent more $872,625 to garner 5,110 votes in his September 16th primary victory over incumbent Pedro Segarra in their race for mayor of one of the state’s poorest communities, according to campaign finance reports. That’s $170.76 a vote, a figure that will evoke howls of protest from the traditional voices of campaign spending restraint. Those voices were curiously muted as Bronin rolled over Segarra in their showdown.

Bronin’s last campaign finance report before the primary showed the Greenwich plutocrat spent $673,821.75. That reporting period included expenses from July 1st through September 7th. Bronin’s post-primary report shows an additional $198,804 in payments made up to and including primary day.  It includes more than 100 payments of $125 for primary day field work. The largest expense was a $53,224.77 payment for commercial broadcast time.

Rennie article, strengthened be a great complementary video, can be found on his blog at: http://www.dailyructions.com/democrats-will-be-outraged-bronin-spent-170-a-vote-in-primary-win-over-segarra/

Readers may remember that it was Kevin Rennie who broke the story about Luke Bronin’s wife, Sara Bronin, having used her state employee account in support of Bronin’s campaign for Mayor.  (See: Sara Bronin Has a Primary Request–and Sent It From Her UConn Email Account.  Followed by Wait What?’s Luke & Sara Bronin and the “Laws are only for the Little People” Crowd)

It is unclear whether the State Auditors have begun an investigation into Sarah Bronin’s illegal use of her email account, but in the past state employees have lost their jobs or been put on lengthy periods of unpaid leave for using their state email accounts for political activities.

 

Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Comments Off on Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Having already spent a record-breaking $1 million to try and buy himself the mayor’s job in Hartford, Dannel Malloy wannabee, political newcomer and Greenwich native Luke Bronin has raised another $174,000 for his campaign effort according to a campaign finance report filed with the Hartford Town Clerk late yesterday afternoon.

Bronin and the Hartford Stadium Developers

Bronin’s latest collection plate overflows with another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium.  The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already raised from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)  The additional bundle of checks to pay for Luke Bronin’s political aspirations includes a $1,000 check from lead developer Bob Landino.

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting the big money from contractors hired to build the new baseball stadium.

However, in recent weeks, Bronin has more than made up for lost time, raising tens of thousands of dollars from DONO developers including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

The Hartford Stadium contributions to Luke Bronin come at the same time that the stadium developers are seeking permission to postpone ground breaking for Phase II of the DONO project which was supposed to include the grocery store, retail and housing portions of the development plan.  The developers are also asking to reduce the amount of housing to make room for a new hotel that they’d like to build instead.

Luke Bronin’s wife, Sarah Bronin, is the chairperson of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission and a special meeting of the Commission has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, 2015 (The day after Election Day) to review and approve the stadium developer’s request.

Bronin and the Constitution Plaza Developers

Bronin’s latest campaign report also includes another $1,000 from Abul Islam, the CEO and President of AI Engineers, Inc., the company behind the $17 million publicly subsidized project to build more upscale apartments in downtown Hartford. (See: Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.  This is the second $1,000 check for Bronin from Abul Islam.  (State law allows a mayoral candidate to take $1,000 per person unless there is a primary in which case they can collect a second $1,000 check.)

Bronin and Lobbyist Money

More lobbyist money is also flowing into Bronin’s campaign and his campaign continues to violate Connecticutstate law by failing to properly identify whether a donor is a lobbyist or a member of a lobbyist’s family.  (See: Luke Bronin hauls in Lobbyist cash, generates multiple violations of CT Campaign Finance Law.)

In addition to the massive amount of lobbyist money previously collected, Bronin’s latest report indicates that he has raised thousands more from those who are paid to influence public policy.  Again, more than half of the lobbyists who have donated to Bronin’s campaign are not properly identified as such.

Bronin and Downes Construction

When it comes to getting construction contracts from the City of Hartford, few companies have been as successful as New Britain’s Downes Construction.  The company has built many of Hartford’s new schools and has been involved in a number of other city-related construction projects.  While contributions to Luke Bronin’s campaign from executives and employees of Downes Construction have trickled in during the campaign, the faucet really started to gush in recent weeks with four executives from Downes Construction, including company president John Downes, providing Bronin with a second round of $1,000 checks.

A number of other city contractors also made second round donation’s prior to the close of the latest reporting period.

 

Older Entries