Et tu, Brute? – Democrats line up to betray Connecticut’s Latinos

Despite the herculean efforts of the political spinmeisters surrounding Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s Democratic Party leaders, the truth about what is taking place in Hartford, Connecticut is becoming increasingly apparent.

While the outcome of Hartford’s Democratic Primary for Mayor won’t be known until the last votes are counted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, Greenwich Native and Hartford newcomer Luke Bronin appears to be on the verge of defeating the only Puerto Rican mayor of any major city across the 50 States.

If the political take-down occurs, the vast majority of the “credit” goes to the “Divine Invisible” hand of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, Malloy’s political operatives and Luke Bronin’s record breaking expensive campaign.

The harsh and disturbing reality is that if successful, Luke Bronin’s defeat of Mayor Pedro Segarra may very well be the most audacious political attack on the Latino community by a sitting Democratic Governor.

Novice Luke Bronin’s quest to become the next Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut is a case study on Dannel Malloy’s effort to deliver the money and political support necessary to install an affluent, white, protégée as mayor of Connecticut’s Capital, a community in which so-called “minority” residents make up well over 70 percent of Hartford’s 125,000 population and where at least 48 percent of Hartford residents speak a language other than English at home.

In Hartford’s public schools, less than 10 percent of the students are White and just over 50 percent are Latino or Hispanic.  Approximately one in five Hartford students is not fluent in English and 85% of all students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

But in an extremely unreported, but extraordinarily dramatic set of circumstances, an individual who has never run for office, never worked in municipal government and never attended a public school is poised to defeat Hartford’s Latino Mayor, Pedro Segarra.

While Mayor Segarra has had his problems, challenges and difficulties, the race isn’t so much about the incumbent as it is about the challenger’s unprecedented campaign, a challenger who belongs among the 1% but claims his golden pedigree has prepared him to save Hartford.

And with that, the spotlight shifts to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

  • Andrew Doba, who serves as Luke Bronin’s spokesman and cheerleader, spent the last two years as Governor Dannel Malloy’s Communications Director and official mouthpiece. While Bronin’s campaign broke Connecticut Campaign Finance Law this summer by accepting an illegal campaign donation form Doba’s New York based public relations company, following Wait, What? coverage of the issue, it now appears that Bronin is finally paying Malloy’s former aide for his services.  Considering Malloy’s pro-charter school, pro-education reform, anti-teacher agenda, it is not surprising that Doba is also Connecticut point person for the New York City based charter school industry front group known as Families for Excellent Schools. The lobbying group has devoted more than $1 million to help pass Malloy’s “education” initiative that has diverted millions in scarce public funds to privately owned charter schools rather than to inadequately funded public schools in Hartford and the state’s other poor school system.
  • In recent weeks, Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s chief advisor and alter ego has also collected more than $58,000 from Bronin’s campaign for “polling and advertising services.”
  • Bronin’s major donors includes many individuals with direct ties to Malloy, including Malloy’s former chief of staff, his former campaign manager, his former campaign treasurer, and a number of Malloy’s gubernatorial and campaign aides.
  • More than 50 of Malloy political appointees, including many who are collecting six figure incomes after getting appointed to state jobs by Malloy over the past few years are also on Bronin’s contributor list including present and former state commissioners and deputy commissioners, executive assistants and appointees to various boards and commissions including the Parole Board, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Board of Regents.
  • In addition, an unprecedented number of Bronin’s campaign donations have come from State lobbyists.

As of Bronin’s July campaign finance report, at least 33 state lobbyists, along with a number of their spouses had given to Luke Bronin’s campaign.  The list includes many of the most influential names in the lobbying business.

  • Bronin has been cashing in with Dannell Malloy’s previous gubernatorial donors, especially with those who have large state contracts.

For example, The Konover Company, a real estate management firm that profits from state contracts poured at least $71,000 into Malloy’s 2014 campaign effort via the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”  Those same individuals are among Luke Bronin’s largest campaign contributors.

Another prime example of the Malloy/Bronin reach is the fact that Bronin has collected $4,000 from Anthony Gaglio, Anthony Gaglio Jr. and their spouses.

The Gaglios own Viking Construction Inc. a company that donated $63,500 to Malloy via what the Harford Courant called, “a controversial state Democratic Party federal account that supported Malloy’s re-election.”

Reporting on Viking Construction’s donations to Luke Bronin, the Hartford Courant explained,

“Calls to Viking were not returned Thursday or Friday. Viking, a major player in residential construction, was general contractor for an affordable housing development recently built in Darien in cooperation with Malloy and state economic development officials.

Bronin, responding to a question about the Gaglios’ contributions, said in an email Friday, “I was introduced to them by a supporter, and after sharing my vision for a vibrant Hartford, I was pleased to get their support.”

  • Connecticut’s largest law firms, most of which also have lucrative state contracts, have also served as a major source of campaign funds for Bronin’s effort to defeat Pedro Segarra.

Among the large law firms that have provided Bronin with campaign donations are Pullman & Comely; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Shipman & Goodwin; Murtha, Cullina; Day, Pitney and Robinson & Cole.

These same firms were instrumental in funding Malloy’s Democratic Party campaign slush fund with about $45,000 coming from Pullman & Comely, $30,000 from Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, $11,000 from Shipman & Goodwin, along with sizable donations from Day Pitney; Robinson & Cole and others.

  • And other key Democratic Party officials also appear involved in the effort to defeat Pedro Segarra.  Attorney General George Jepsen’s two top aides, the AG’s Deputy Attorney General and his Chief Adviser, have donated to Segarra’s opponent.  Luke Bronin’s contributor list also includes top aides to State Treasurer Denise Nappier.
  • Equally telling is the fact Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, once considered a leading voice for Latino causes and a strong supporter of Pedro Segarra, has been utterly silent as the Malloy and the Democratic Party has targeted Segarra for defeat…as has many of Connecticut’s other key Democratic elected officials.

In the end, Governor Dannel Malloy’s decision to help remove one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican elected officials is not only noteworthy because Malloy is a Democrat and relied heavily on support from Latino and Hispanic voters to get elected to a first and second term, but also because Malloy will be take the helm of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in just a few months.

In that role Malloy’s duty will be to raise money for the various Democratic candidates running for governor in 2016, while helping to get out the vote on behalf of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Malloy has already been to New Hampshire to campaign for Hilary Clinton.

Considering the Democratic Party needs strong support from Hispanic and Latino voters in order to win a the national and state level in 2016, Dannel Malloy’s involvement in helping to take down a major Latino leader is nothing short of stunning.

Perhaps the only thing more stunning has been the complete lack of national media coverage about the developing situation in Connecticut.

Malloy is a fraud on campaign finance reform issues

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.