Stench of corruption grows around Malloy

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When running for re-election in 2014, Governor Dannel Malloy took a $6+ million public finance grant to pay for his campaign.  In exchange for the taxpayer funds, Malloy swore, under oath, that he would not solicit, accept or use other funds to pay for his campaign expenses.

But Malloy lied and solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists, state contractors and those who have benefited from his corporate welfare programs.  That money, which in the end totaled more than $5 million, was funneled through a special account within the Democratic Party.

Last week a plea bargain deal with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission ended with Malloy’s political operatives paying a fine of $325,000 to the state, rather than the $6 million Malloy should have paid.

Not only were Connecticut citizens saddled with four more years of Dannel Malloy, but Connecticut taxpayers are out more than $5.7 million.

See: Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark and NEWS FLASH – Malloy + Dems slammed with record fine for campaign finance violations but slip off the hook

Meanwhile, it a separate situation, David Sirota, the nationally renowned investigative reporter has been covering Malloy’s actions as they relate to the attempt by CIGNA and Anthem to merge.  Both entities, but especially CIGNA have close political ties to Malloy and the Democratic incumbent has benefited from significant campaign donations from CIGNA and its executive team.

David Sirota is the senior editor for investigations at the International Business Times.  Sirota’s investigation has led to the following stories in the International Business Times:

Each one deserves a complete read-through, but Wait, What? readers should pay special attention to those marked with ***

***Will Cigna And Anthem Merge? How Health Insurance Companies Pump Money Into Politics (6/1/16)

Connecticut Groups Call For Dan Malloy To Remove Insurance Regulator In Anthem-Cigna Merger (6/2/16)

***Connecticut Rejects Request For Records About Anthem-Cigna Merger (6/7/16)

Obamacare Architect Kathleen Sebelius Questions Proposed Healthcare Insurance Mergers (6/10/16)

Cigna-Anthem Deal: Democratic And Republican Lawmakers Demand Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s Regulator Be Removed From Controversial Merger Review (6/10/16)

***Cigna-Anthem Deal: Connecticut Gov. Malloy Signs Secrecy Bill That Could Shield Insurance Information From Public Release (6/13/16)

Cigna-Anthem Deal: Connecticut Ethics Officials To Vote On Conflict-Of-Interest Controversy (6/14/16)

***Anthem And Cigna Boost Spending On Lobbying As Lawmakers Review Merger (6/16/16)

***Cigna-Anthem Deal: Connecticut Officials Vote To Launch Ethics Review Of Gov. Dan Malloy’s Insurance Regulator (6/16/16)

Cigna-Anthem Merger: California Insurance Regulators Call On Justice Department To Block Insurance Mega-Merger (6/16/16)

***Cigna-Anthem Deal: Connecticut Ethics Probe Spotlights Similar Conflict-of-Interest Charges From The 1990s (6/17/16)

Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark

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When Dannel Malloy was running for re-election in 2014 he collected a $6 million+ taxpayer funded Clean Campaign grant from the state of Connecticut with the promise that he would not solicit, accept, coordinate or use private funds to benefit his campaign.

In the following months, not only did he benefit from more than $5 million from an account funded by the Democratic Governors Association, AFSCME and AFT, he and his political operatives directly raised another $5 million, much of it from state contractors, lobbyist and people who have benefited from Malloy’s outrageous corporate welfare program.

The law was clear, if you take money in addition to the state grant, you lose the state grant.

That is, if you take money, you must pay back the $6 million in public funds.

Earlier this week, Malloy’s Democratic Party agreed to a settlement with the Connecticut State Elections Commission in which they paid a fine of $325,000 – or 5 percent – of what the taxpayer were owed.

Fair?

When it comes to Malloy, fair and proper are two terms that simply aren’t used.

In a stunning, courageous and insightful commentary piece, followed by a CT Mirror story, the lead investigator for the State Elections Enforcement Commission – Charlie Urso –  now retired – explains some of the issues that took place behind the scene.

Charlie Urso’s commentary piece – Malloy campaign law settlement was a mockery and a sham and the CT Mirror’s article – Investigator says Malloy settlement keeps voters in the darkis a MUST READ for those who really want to about Malloy and the modus operandi that permeates his operation.

While some of the details won’t be new for Wait, What? readers, the two pieces shed critically important light on what has happened to Connecticut under Malloy’s reign.

In Investigator says Malloy settlement keeps voters in the dark, the CT Mirror Reports;

Not too many investigators have Charles Urso’s resume:

He investigated two governors of different parties in different decades for different agencies, first as an FBI agent and then as an investigator for the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Near the end of his FBI career, he helped send Republican Gov. John G. Rowland to prison in 2005. He said Thursday his second career as an elections cop ended in frustration – getting stonewalled trying to find out if Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy violated campaign finance reforms inspired by the Rowland scandal.

The investigation of whether Malloy and the Democratic Party circumvented Rowland-era reforms – a ban on state contractor contributions and strict contribution limits attached to a voluntary system of public financing – ended Wednesday with a settlement.

Without admitting wrongdoing, the party will pay a record $325,000 over 27 months to settle allegations of impropriety involving use of state contractor contributions that flowed through a federal campaign account to support the 2014 re-election Malloy, who accepted $6.5 million in public financing through the Citizens’ Election Program.

Urso said he understands why his former employer took the deal. Democrats challenged an SEEC subpoena with a legal argument that could have neutered the commission’s enforcement authority, saying federal law largely pre-empted the commission in federal election years – which happen to also be state election years.

But he complained that Democrats succeeded in stopping an examination of how Malloy’s campaign and the party systematically raised money from contractors – as much as $10,000 at a time – in a so-called era of “clean elections.”

At the time of the settlement, the commission and the Democrats were awaiting a decision by a Superior Court judge on a motion to compel the party to honor the SEEC subpoena, which demanded bank records, emails and other documents pertaining to fundraising.

In an interview and an article published on CT Mirror’s commentary website, CT Viewpoints, Urso said Malloy and the Democrats made a sham of the Citizens’ Election Program, the system of publicly financed campaigns created in 2005 after Rowland resigned and went to prison.

“The settlement was made without allowing SEEC the ability to conduct a reasonable investigation. Despite public pronouncements of cooperation, they made a mockery of the investigation,” Urso wrote. “In response to SEEC requests, they only provided 300 pages of evidence before they refused to cooperate including ability to interview witnesses. The last time I investigated a Governor, I reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents.”

The documents were sought to shed light on about $1 million in spending through the federal account maintained by the Democratic State Central Committee. Some of the money was used to hire staff who laid the groundwork for Malloy’s re-election campaign.

Federal law requires the federal account to be used for get out the vote efforts when there are federal offices at stake, even if those same efforts also serve candidates for state office.

But federal and Connecticut campaign laws are contradictory. State law bans contractor contributions and provides public financing to candidates who agree to accept donations of no more than $100 and abide by spending limits, while federal law permits contractor contributions to the parties’ federal accounts, up to $10,000.

When Malloy accepted the $6.5 million public grant, his campaign already had benefitted from the federal account, some of which came from contractors prohibited from giving directly to his or any other state campaign.

“The paperwork he signed certified he had not and would not receive contributions from prohibited sources,” Urso wrote.

David S. Golub, who clashed with Urso while representing the Democrats, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the governor had no comment, referring all inquiries to the Democratic Party.

Michael J. Brandi, the general counsel and executive director of the commission, defended the settlement Wednesday, saying the Democrats agreed to rules that resolve a significant conflict in state and federal election law and it ended litigation that could have produced a court ruling curtailing the ability of state regulators to enforce campaign reforms enshrined in the Citizens’ Election Program.

The settlement lays out new accounting rules and other restrictions intended to keep campaign money prohibited by state law out of state campaigns. The party also dropped its claim that federal election law pre-empts the commission from issuing subpoenas to investigate alleged potential violations of state elections law.

Urso’s voice was only one of those heard Thursday.

“This is great news for the integrity of our elections,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, the president of Common Cause. “The settlement affirms that candidates for governor and the legislature cannot accept aid from companies doing business with the state; that was the intent of the law that we and our allies worked so hard to pass after the scandals of the Rowland administration.”

Hobert Flynn conceded there may be some who were frustrated that the Democratic Party was not found to have violated state law, but a protracted legal battle wouldn’t have ensured the integrity of the Citizens’ Election Program.  She said the deal sends a message that states can pass and enforce campaign finance laws that are tougher than federal law.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, strenuously disagreed.

“The settlement contains nothing innovative or groundbreaking. All this settlement says is that the state Democratic Party now promises to follow current state law – the same law they should have been following in the first place,” Fasano said. “The SEEC trying to sell this agreement as a creative and innovative approach is a slap in the face to those they are supposed to protect by defending transparency and enforcing the law.

“It’s an excuse for the obvious reality that they rolled over to the state Democratic Party and accepted a payoff instead of doing their job.”

In a statement issued before Urso released his opinion piece, Fasano said the commission owed the public a full investigation, making the same point as the retired investigator.

“If the SEEC was going to try to settle this case without a ruling, then they shouldn’t have wasted taxpayer resources to take it this far all to end up making a deal without knowing all the facts,” Fasano said. “They should have waited for a ruling, and a complete investigation, so that we could have a real, enforceable resolution.”

You can read and comment on the original story at: http://ctmirror.org/2016/06/16/investigator-says-malloy-settlement-keeps-voters-in-the-dark/

You can read Charlie Urso’s commentary piece, Malloy campaign law settlement was a mockery and a sham, at: http://ctviewpoints.org/2016/06/16/connecticut-campaign-law-settlement-was-a-mockery-and-a-sham/

 

 

CT Legislators who voted in favor of the disastrous state budget should be defeated – Period

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The twenty-one Democratic members of the Connecticut State Senate have thrown their constituents aside by voting in favor of the budget agreement that was developed by Governor Dannel Malloy and the legislature’s Democratic leadership.  The budget is an appalling, mean-spirited and irresponsible plan that stabs the people of Connecticut in the back and violates the fundamental responsibility that elected officials have to do what is right for their constituents and the state of Connecticut.

Later today – Friday May 13, 2016 – the Connecticut House of Representatives will voting on this unprecedented attack on public education, vital health and human services and fiscal honesty and transparency.

Despite the lies coming from Malloy and his loyalists, the state budget does not balance nor does it put Connecticut’s fiscal house in order.

What it does do is undermine Connecticut’s children, our state’s most vulnerable citizens, public employees and the programs and policies designed to make Connecticut a healthy, safer and better place to live.

It is a vicious, stupid and short-sighted spending plan that mimics the values of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker rather than the people of Connecticut.

Malloy, with the help of Democratic legislators, is ushering in an era of austerity that will hurt people and further erode Connecticut’s future and wellbeing.

Any legislator who votes for this budget voids their right to be called a representative of the people.

For More Read;

Dems slash education funding, sneak special 10% admission tax for Hartford and gag future information on deficits

Any CT legislator who votes for the proposed State Budget deserves to lose in November

Senate Passes Budget; House Up Next (CT Newsjunkie)

A handshake, then a vote on Connecticut’s next budget (CT Mirror)

Last-minute bill would rein in CT budget deficit forecasts (CT Mirror)

 

Dems slash education funding, sneak special 10% admission tax for Hartford and gag future information on deficits

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“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Beware fellow citizens…

The disastrous state budget plan developed by Governor Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly is getting worse by the minute.

Having managed to hide key budget details from the public until the day of the vote, Democratic legislators are now being instructed to approve a budget implementation bill that includes numerous outrageous provisions that would never pass if they stood on their own.

Traditionally referred to as “rats,” select legislators, lobbyists and special interests use what is called “back of the budget” language to circumvent the traditional legislative process.

A prime example of this tactic can be found in Section 188 of the new state budget bill.

Connecticut residents may remember how Governor Malloy and other state leaders endorsed the construction of the new baseball stadium in Hartford, falsely stating that not only would the facility be a win-win for the Capitol City, but that Connecticut taxpayers would not be on the hook for subsidizing the project.

Of course, such was not the case.

Legislative language hidden deep inside today’s budget bill exempts events at the Dunkin Donut stadium from having to collect Connecticut’s 10 percent Admission Tax and, instead, sets up a new law that allows Hartford to add its own 10 percent surcharge on all tickets sold at the “Home of the Yard Goats.”

The money from this extra tax would flow straight to Hartford City Hall…. Providing the boondoggle with a much-needed public subsidy from Connecticut taxpayers

To sweeten the deal, the Malloy/Democratic leadership budget also adds a provision that a group of other cities could put on their own admission tax in their particular venues, but the others could only collect up to 5% of the cost of a ticket.

Meanwhile, the same outrageous implementation budget bill includes unprecedented language that allows cities and towns to simply cut their local public school budgets by the amount of any reduction in state aid those schools.

This means that while a number of cities and towns will be getting a major pot of cash dumped on the non-education side of the budget, they won’t even have to maintain their efforts to fund their schools.

And if those two sections weren’t telling enough, any member of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives who votes in favor of this bill will be taking the truly unprecedented step of adopting a law that would literally PROHIBIT the non-partisan office of Fiscal Analysis from reporting on future budget expenditures and possible deficits that are the result of the annual increases that go with maintaining current services.

THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

With no public hearing, no public input and no public notice, Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have including language in this year’s budget implementation bill that intentionally prevents the media and the public from knowing the true ongoing costs of state government.

The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains this incredible development in his latest article;

Future state deficit forecasts are likely to shrink significantly under a method imposed in the new state budget plan that disregards billions of dollars in annual expenditures not fixed by contract or federal mandate.

The language, proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is included in an omnibus policy bill to help implement the proposed $19.76 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, blasted the measure — which was released only a few hours before the Senate was expected to debate it Wednesday morning — as a means to hide Connecticut’s fiscal woes from the public.

Malloy and his budget director, Benjamin Barnes, have been critical for several years of the deficit-forecasting methodology used by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

OFA generally tries to assess both the current and future costs of all programs, staffing, grants and other expenditures, whether fixed by contract or federal requirement, or simply set by state law.

The new methodology would disregard cost increases in most state programs, excepting debt service, retirement benefits and federal entitlement programs.

“Moving away from ‘current services’ will help us ensure that government does not continue to increase spending on autopilot,” the governor said Wednesday.  “As part the budget agreement, the state will change how it does business, and give residents and businesses the predictability they seek as government works to live within its means.”

The language is nothing but a blatant effort by Malloy and the Democratic legislature to hide the true costs of maintaining state services and preventing voters from understanding the ramifications of taxes and spending.

Dismissing the most fundamental notions of open government and democracy, Malloy and the Democratic leaders are engaged in a new political strategy based on keeping the citizens ignorant about how their government functions and how it spends their money.

No real Democrat would vote for such a measure.

Today’s original Wait, What? post is even more relevant than when it was first posted.

Any CT legislator who votes for the proposed State Budget deserves to lose in November

Any CT legislator who votes for the proposed State Budget deserves to lose in November

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There are times when an elected official is faced with a choice between doing what is right and doing what is politically expedient in an effort to get along to go along.  The vote on the proposed state budget agreement between Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democratic leadership of the General Assembly is just such a vote.

Their proposed budget is a fiscally irresponsible and mean-spirited farce.

It is a budget that relies on record cuts to vital services and public education and unfairly dumps Connecticut’s fiscal programs on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens and our children.

The proposed budget coddles the rich and claims to limit tax increases, yet will force cities and towns across Connecticut to raise local property taxes on the state’s middle class.

And for what it is worth, the proposed budget does not even balance.

After using one-time revenue, diverting public funds from their intended purposes, borrowing to pay operating costs, and laying off thousands of public employees, this sham of a budget will be out of balance by at least $100 million dollars the day it is signed into law.

Not to mention the damage this budget will do our local public schools and to the people who need and deserve the health and human services that allow them to live more productive and fulfilling lives.

Governor Dannel Malloy is wrong when he says it is a good budget and he is lying when he says it is fiscally responsible.

The Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly who negotiated this terrible “compromise” plan are wrong when they say it is a good budget and they are lying when they say it is fiscally responsible.

And the business executives who are lobbying Connecticut legislators to vote yes on this disastrous plan are throwing the state’s citizens, including our small business owners who generate the vast majority of jobs, under the bus.

Instead of patting themselves on the back, Connecticut’s elected officials should be throwing out  this piece of crap budget and get to work putting together a budget that is fair, honest and fiscally responsible.

Any legislator who votes for the Malloy/Democratic Leadership plan should be defeated in this November’s election and replaced with someone who is capable of standing up and doing the right thing for the people of Connecticut.

CT Dem Legislators – Why the silence on the layoff of state employees

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Among the most disturbing elements of the debate surrounding Connecticut’s state budget crisis is the silence on the part of most Democratic state legislators about the ill-conceived layoffs being perpetrated by Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and the their administration.

A “throw them to the wolves” mentality might not be surprising from those who hate public employees and the existence of public services, but the public, the people who rely on state services, the impacted state employees and their families deserve better from those who call themselves Democrats.

Hundreds of state employees have already been laid off.  When Team Malloy/Wyman are done with round #1, the families thrown onto the unemployment line and into chaos will exceed 2,500.

The new “super-secret” compromise budget agreement developed by legislative leaders and the governor that will be voted on in the upcoming special session will lead to hundreds and hundreds of additional layoffs of state employees.

And from the vast majority of Democratic state legislators we hear nothing but silence.

Laying off these more junior public employees is not good public policy, it is not a mechanism to bring about structural change in government and it certainly doesn’t help address Connecticut’s long-term state employee pension problem.

Real structural change comes from identifying more effective ways to deliver services, eliminating services that are not needed and implementing strategies to address unfunded pension and healthcare costs.

Malloy’s helter-skelter layoffs serve none of those solutions.

The state employee layoffs are NOT related to ensuring critical state services are provided more efficiently and effectively

The state employee layoffs are NOT related to eliminating services that are not needed

And the state employee layoffs are certainly NOT the mechanism for addressing the long-term obligations the state has due to it negligent failure to properly fund its long-term pension and health care costs.  In fact, laying off employees who belong to the Tier IIA and Tier III pension programs actually makes the funding of pension and healthcare costs even worse.

State legislators know – or better know – that more than 80% of the present pension fund crisis is the result of the unfunded costs for state employees who were enrolled in the Tier I pension program.  Enrollment in Tier I ended in 1985 and about 97% of Tier I employees have already retired.

Putting aside the reality that it is illegal to change the pension program for those who have already retired, laying off state employees who are paying into the pension and health care funds actually undermine the effort to put the pension and healthcare fund on proper financial footing.

No legislator, Democrat or Republican, who actually understands how services are provided and the massive fiscal challenges that face Connecticut should be supporting Malloy’s unstructured state employee layoff effort – even those who support reducing the number of state employees and the level of services provided in Connecticut.

But the burden to speak up, to tell the truth, and to address issues related to reducing the number of state employees falls heaviest on the Democrats.  Not only are the Democrats in control of the executive and legislative branches of state government, but they have the historical and social relationship with public employees and their unions.

The failure of so many democratic legislators to publicly speak out about the Malloy/Wyman anti-public employee policies – policies that hurt Connecticut – is a sad commentary and one that voters should consider well when voting.

Will Democrats Malloy, Wyman and the CT Dem Party disavow Ed Marcus’ disgusting attack on Sanders and all Democrats?

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Former Connecticut Democratic State Chairman Ed Marcus is, among other things, a thug.

After serving for ten years in the Connecticut General Assembly, six of which I also worked as the Connecticut Democratic Party’s Political Director, I left Connecticut politics in 1993.

I ended my career in elective office and Democratic Party politics a number of reasons, the primary one being that I wanted to be an active, engaged and hands-on father for my newborn daughter.

However, in addition, I left because the Democratic State Central Committee selected Ed Marcus to be the Party’s Chairman.  Marcus ran on a platform claiming that he would fire me his first day in office due to my legislative work on behalf of a fairer and more progressive state tax structure that included a new state income tax.  He also condemned my “liberal” politics.  It was with a sense of honor that I cleaned out my office and left Democratic Headquarters the day Marcus became its leader.

Today, just like back then, Ed Marcus was utterly unable to recognize that the underlying principle of being a Democrat begins with the concept that a Democrat believes in democracy (a word that beings with a lower-case d).

Now, in a truly unbelievable and disturbing commentary piece in the CT Mirror entitled, Letting Sanders run as a Democrat was a big mistake by the DNC, the former head of the Connecticut Democratic Party proclaims that Bernie Sanders is not “Democrat” enough to run for President as a “Democrat.”

For those of us who were brought up to believe in the principles that motivated millions of Democrats to support and vote for elected officials who would make our towns, states, nation and our world better, safer and healthier places to live and raise a family, a world in which the most important elements of an egalitarian society would exist for ourselves and our children, Ed Marcus’ diatribe is nothing short of hate speech.

And thus it requires an immediate and uncompromising response from Connecticut’s “so-called” Democratic Leaders:

Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy

Connecticut Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman

Connecticut Democratic Chairman Nick Balletto Jr.

 The spotlight is on you!

Do you totally and completely disavow the repugnant and idiotic words of Ed Marcus.

This is not about whether one intends to vote for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, although Marcus makes an excellent case for why Democrats should be voting for a real change.

The is about the meaning of American democracy and being a Democrat;

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Democrats, here in Connecticut and across the nation, can read and comment on Marcus’ “commentary piece” at http://ctviewpoints.org/2016/02/29/sanders-a-democrat/.  It is also reposted below.

Democratic Leaders must immediately speak out against Ed Marcus and others who, if unchallenged, will destroy what is left of the historic Democratic Party.

Letting Sanders run as a Democrat was a big mistake by the DNC  (By Former Connecticut Democratic State Chairman Ed Marcus

Bernie Sanders.  A Democrat.  Really?

Sanders has run and been elected as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont; run for and been elected a Vermont Congressman; and run and been elected as a U.S. senator from Vermont. In none of those elections has he ever identified himself as a Democrat. He has run as either a socialist, or independent, but never as a Democrat.

So how is he able to run as a Democrat in 2016? I guess we would have to ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.  She is directly responsible for permitting Sanders, an avowed socialist, to run as a Democrat.  Did she think it would just be a good workout for Hillary, or did she not have the guts to say no?

I believe that it is the latter. What the Democratic National Committee has done to the Democratic Party by declaring Sanders eligible to run as a Democrat is to force Hillary to spend time, money, and energy that could have been devoted to the general election against a Republican.

Sanders is so far to the left that he could never be elected as President, despite his recent showing in the New Hampshire primary.  His values, and that of most of us who have been lifetime Democrats, are not the same.

It is easy to attract support from college kids who know nothing about the real world.  In Connecticut he’ll get help from people who see support for Sanders as a way of becoming a delegate to the National Convention, as well as from those who believe in distributing other people’s money to those who may not be as fortunate. We already do this by way of progressive taxation, but for some folks that isn’t good enough.

Sanders is an annoyance much in the way of a Jerry Brown in 1992, Ted Kennedy in 1980, and Bill Bradley in 2000. We do not need another George McGovern disaster for the Democratic Party which, particularly in this election would impact every resident of the United States.  If by some weird confluence of events we have Sanders as a candidate, ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz what she possibly could have been thinking.

I think back to the National Convention of 1968, at that time National Delegates were chosen by the delegates to the State Convention and the State Convention was basically controlled by the late John Bailey who was then both chairman of the State Democratic Party and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Bailey did not want a primary since that would have been embarrassing to him and a sign of lack of leadership to the people in Washington, including Hubert Humphry who was the “establishment candidate.”

What happened was that Bailey, Catherine Quinn who was Secretary of the Democratic State Central Committee, and myself, along with one or two other people whose names I can’t recall, met in the so-called “Green Room” at the Bushnell and decided that we would give the people who were supporting U. S. Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota (who ran against Humphry at the convention) 12 delegates. Among the delegates selected was Paul Newman, his wife Joanne Woodward, Arthur Miller, Irving Stolberg who later became Speaker of the House in the state General Assembly.  At that time I was the Senate Majority Leader.

I am not in any way implying that it was democracy at work, but it was leadership at work.  The bottom line is Connecticut did not have a divisive primary and although Humphrey lost the election to Richard Nixon, Bailey was able to hang on to his leadership positions both here and nationally.

Was that system better than the existing one? In all honesty I’m not certain, but I’m also not certain if the existing system works since so much of what occurs in a primary is based on who can get out the vote and who develops a following like the next Messiah, which is what has happened with Sanders.

Sanders raves and rants but basically his theme is generally the same: You would have a better life if it weren’t for the people on Wall Street that make millions and billions of dollars.  Part of that may be true, but this is America and we are a capitalist society and it’s a country where everyone has the opportunity to make it.  All you have to do is look at Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and others like them over the years who basically started with nothing and ended up as President.

Leadership is vital in heading a party both on a state level and national level. I believe that Debbie Wasserman Shultz has failed the Democratic Party and has put Hillary Clinton into a hotly contested primary season — that need not have happened if Wasserman had simply indicated that Sanders, an avowed socialist, who had never before registered as a Democrat, could not run as a Democrat.

In New Hampshire as well as several other states anyone can vote in a Democratic Primary. That is a bad idea and concept. After all it is not a general election and if anyone can vote they vote for in essence against candidates for different reasons. There are many Republicans and some Independents who have supported Sanders only because they know that Hillary is electable and Sander is not.  That type of voting pattern was clearly in play in New Hampshire. It should not be permitted. Cross over voting is not what a Democratic Primary is all about.

There’s no question in my mind that the Democratic Party needs a new chairperson who understands what leadership means, with the gumption and common sense to lead the party, not to permit a non-Democrat to run as a candidate in what after all are Democratic Party Primaries.

Edward Marcus is former chairman of the Democrat State Central Committee in Connecticut, former state Senate majority leader, and principal of Branford-based Marcus Law Firm

CT Republican Strategy 101 – Snatching Defeat out of the Jaws of Victory

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Political observers and students of Connecticut politics are fond of noting that while many Connecticut voters are perfectly comfortable splitting their tickets, the Connecticut Republican Party has had a tendency to nominate statewide candidates who, when the critical moment arrived, were unable to gather the support of a majority of those who cast their votes on Election Day.

In the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Dannel Malloy won a second term in office despite the fact that a majority of voters had an unfavorable opinion of him.  In the hours leading up to Election Day 2014, the Quinnipiac Poll reported that 49% of voters had an UNFAVORABLE opinion of Malloy, while only 43% had a FAVORABLE opinion of the first term governor.

However, although the political table was set for a Republican victory, the Republican Party’s nominee squandered the opportunity to build a coalition and message that would have earned him enough votes to win.

Had the Republican candidate for governor been former state senator John McKinney or Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, the outcome might have been different and Connecticut might now have a Republican governor.

But the ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory was alive and well.

The Republican Party’s commitment to reducing their chance of winning federal and statewide offices was clearly evident today when the Republican State Chairman J.R. Romano ducked an opportunity to speak out against Donald Trump’s Un-American, fascist, and disgusting attacks on Muslims.

While Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and a broad array of other prominent Republican leaders, including leading conservatives, have condemned Trump’s remarks, the Connecticut Republican Party leader’s decision to hide behind silence speaks volumes.

The Hartford Courant reports,

“…J.R. Romano isn’t among those calling out the Republican presidential frontrunner. Asked Wednesday about Trump’s comments, Romano tread carefully.

“The presidential election is a way’s away for us,” Romano said. “I’m more concerned about what the Democrats are doing in this state.”

What a terrible commentary from Connecticut’s Republican leader.

Sure the Republicans should be concerned about Connecticut public policy.

Led by Governor Dannel Malloy, Democrats may very well have provided an opportunity for Republicans in 2016, but the lesson – over and over and over again – is that Connecticut voters are extremely sophisticated.  Voters need a reason to vote for a candidate, in addition to assessing the reasons not to vote for one.

Connecticut State Senate and House Republicans had positioned themselves well during the recent budget “re-debate.”

But Trump’s remarks are truly reprehensible and Republican Chairman Romano’s failure to step up and join the chorus of condemnation is beyond disturbing.

Meanwhile, proving that there are at least a few Republican leaders in Connecticut who are committed to the fundamental ideals underlying the nation’s Constitutional system of government, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton did speak out against Trump.

Boughton was critical of President Obama and the his administration’s foreign policies, but Boughton, unlike the Republican State Chairman, had the decency (and political insight) to note that Muslim Americans are Americans and that the concept of closing our boarders based on one’s  religion is reprehensible.

In the Hartford Courant article Boughton explained,

“We need the Muslim community on our side to make sure we can root out members of that community who want to do harm…Otherwise this problem will not get solved.”

As for the political issue, Boughton noted the Trump’s outrageous remarks will limit the Republican Party’s efforts to “enlarge its base.  Boughton added, “We’re trying to broaden the tent, His comments are not reflective of who we are as Americans.”

Boughton’s observation about Trump applies equally as well to the Republican State Chairman’s silence on the issue.

Perhaps standing up for a free and egalitarian society, while broadening their base is simply something the Connecticut Republicans are unwilling or unable to do.

Mission Accomplished – Dem Party’s Colonialism takes down country’s only big city Puerto Rican Mayor

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Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy, Malloy’s entourage of neoliberals and Connecticut’s Democratic Establishment are doing the Happy Dance today with the news that their plan to install Greenwich native and political newbie, Luke Bronin, as the next Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut has taken a giant step forward with the news that Mayor Pedro Segarra has given up his re-election bid and endorsed the Bronin.

If independent candidate Joel Cruz fails to win the November general election, the outcome of the 2015 Democratic Primary will mean that the nation has lost the only Puerto Rican mayor of a major city in any of the fifty states.

An especially serious situation for the national Democratic Party considering the vital role Latino and Hispanic voters will play in the 2016 election.

While Luke Bronin eagerly plans for his installation as Hartford’s next chief elected official, much of the credit for the defeat of Hartford’s Latino Mayor rests with Governor Malloy and his political operatives.

Although Malloy, and to an even greater extent, Malloy’s Lt Governor, Nancy Wyman, appeared alongside Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra dozens and dozens of times over the past five years, always applauding Segarra, Malloy turned on his political ally earlier this year when Malloy’s protégée and lead legal counsel officially announced that having moved to Hartford, he was now ready to seek the Democratic nomination to become Hartford’s mayor.

While every major Democratic leader in Connecticut looked away, Malloy and his political operation kicked into high gear on Luke Bronin’s behalf.

As the most recent campaign finance report reveals, in the day leading up to last week’s Democratic Primary for Mayor, Bronin raised an additional $236,226 for his campaign, bringing his total cash haul to a record-breaking $835,000 and counting.

Bronin’s tsunami of campaign cash came from people who benefit from state government including contractors, lobbyists, Malloy appointees, Malloy donors, the charter school industry, and a significant number of large donors form Bronin’s hometown of Greenwich and his friends from around the country.

What makes Bronin’s campaign unique is not only the fact that it will go down in the record books as the most expensive mayoral campaign in state history, it will also be the only campaign in which the challenger benefited from huge amounts of money from state contractors, lobbyists and political appointees.

And for that, Bronin has Dannel Malloy to thank.

Not only did Malloy grease the money spout, but Malloy’s former mouthpiece served as Bronin’s spokesperson and Malloy’s chief adviser collected more than $58,000 in campaign consulting funds from Bonin.

Bronin’s political connection to Governor Malloy and Malloy’s role in helping to defeat one of the nation’s leading Puerto Rican leaders had already received coverage here at Wait, What?  See, for example, Malloy playing key role in the effort to unseat Pedro Segarra and install Luke Bronin as Hartford’s Mayor.

But as Bronin’s latest campaign finance report makes clear, even more state contractors, lobbyists, Malloy appointees, former Malloy donors and the biggest actors in the corporate education reform industry all wrote checks to Bronin’s campaign in the closing weeks of his primary.

The list of people giving Bronin the maximum allowable contributions of $1,000 per person included the President of Anthem, the State of Connecticut’s primary contractor for state employee and retiree health care.

Other major state contractors showing up on Bronin’s list of donors included executives with many of the companies that have received the largest state contracts during Malloy’s time in office, including executives from Newfield Construction, Suffolk Construction, Tomasso Brothers Construction, Manafort Construction, the Konover Company and from many others such as Figure 8, DATTCO, LAZ Parking and the list goes on and on.

Even Viking Construction, a Stamford company that was one of Malloy’s largest campaign contributors in his 2014 re-election effort gave even more money to Bronin.

In addition to the money flowing in from state contractors, almost twenty more state lobbyists or their spouses ponied up contributions worth thousands of dollars in recent weeks. The new donations bring the total number of state lobbyists who donated to Bronin’s campaign to approximately fifty, a total that is unprecedented when it comes to contributions to a municipal candidate from state lobbyists, especially to a candidate who is “challenging” an incumbent.

Bronin’s take from state lobbyists included at least five maximum one thousand dollar contributions from the lobbying firm that Hartford hired to represent the city in its dealings with Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly.  The checks to Bonin are certainly ironic since one of Bronin’s false claims in his attack on Segarra was that the mayor had not done enough to lobby Malloy and the General Assembly for state funds.

Bronin’s latest campaign finance report also clears up some of the mystery about why Bronin was unwilling to forgo political donations from the charter school industry, a move that cost him the endorsement of the Hartford Federation of Teachers. See: Luke Bronin’s failure to stand with Hartford’s teachers, students and parents cost him key HFT union endorsement

According to the report, Bronin collected $2,000 from charter school champion Jonathan Sackler and his wife.  Sackler, a Greenwich resident whose company, Purdue Pharma, makes OxyContin, is Connecticut’s leading pro-charter school advocate, having founded and funded Connecticut’s major Corporate Education Reform Industry advocacy groups including ConnCAN, ConnAD and A Better Connecticut.  Sackler also created 50 CAN, a national charter school advocacy group and Sackler was a major financial backer and advocate for Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company formed by Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s former commissioner of and his associate, Dacia Toll, who now serves as the CEO of Achievement First, Inc.

Another new Bronin donor, Jeff Klaus,  Toll‘s husband and serves as a Regional President at Webster Bank.  Interestingly, Bronin’s most recent campaign finance report also records that Bronin collected a $1,000 contribution from Webster Bank’s political action committee.

Not satisfied with outspending his opponent by at least a 5-1 margin, Bronin also collected more than $17,000 from residents of his hometown of Greenwich in recent weeks and another $42,000 or more from out-of-state donors.  The total amount Bronin raised from out-of-state and Greenwich donors is now close to $300,000.

But Hartford citizens need not worry since Bronin has promised to cut taxes, increase spending, expand programs and successfully plow all of Hartford’s city streets when winter comes.

Malloy playing key role in the effort to unseat Pedro Segarra and install Luke Bronin as Hartford’s Mayor

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With “challenger” Luke Bronin’s campaign on track to become the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, the Hartford Democratic primary has become much more than simply a battle between the two opposing candidates – Mayor Pedro Segarra and political newcomer Luke Bronin.

Of the many interesting factors impacting next week’s Democratic Primary for Mayor in Hartford is the role Governor Dannel Malloy is playing on behalf of his former aide, Luke Bronin.

In addition to anti-Segarra comments Governor Malloy’s spokesperson has made about Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, a review of Luke Bronin’s campaign finance reports reveal that while Bronin has raised considerable amounts of money from out-of-state and from his hometown of Greenwich, Bronin’s massive financial advantage is due, in no small part, from the money Bronin has raised from Malloy’s gubernatorial staff, former members of Malloy’s campaign staff, Malloy’s political appointees and Malloy’s campaign contributors.

From a national perspective, the connection between Malloy and Bronin’s successful campaign fundraising is particularly noteworthy since Pedro Segarra is the only Puerto Rican mayor of a large city in the continental United States.

In addition to his duties here in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy will become the Chairman 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 incredible importance of Hispanic and Latino voters across the nation, Malloy’s involvement in helping to take down a major Latino leader will certainly not go unnoticed.

While Malloy claims to be neutral in the Hartford mayor’s race, the list of Bronin’s donors speaks volumes about the connection Malloy and his campaign operatives have been playing in the Hartford race thus far.

The latest campaign finance reports from Hartford’s mayoral candidates are due today, but as of the July 1, 2015 report, Luke Bronin had raised $611,000.

Bronin’s donors list includes many individuals who presently work in Governor Malloy’s Office or worked on Malloy’s campaign, including Malloy’s former chief of staff, his former campaign manager, his former campaign treasurer, and other who presently work for Malloy or were paid employees during the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns.

Bronin’s campaign donor list is also flush with 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.  The list includes 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.

Perhaps most telling of all is the extraordinary and unprecedented amount of donations that Luke Bronin has received from state lobbyists.

As of the last campaign 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.

While a handful of lobbyist donations to incumbent mayors and first selectman are not uncommon, the outpouring of campaign donations to Bronin, a mayoral challenger is unprecedented.

As the Hartford Courant reported in a story about the money influencing the Hartford Mayoral race last weekend,

“Nine of the lobbyist donors belong to the prominent lobbying firm Gaffney, Bennett & Associates, which held a fundraising cocktail reception at its New Britain offices in March. Employees there have contributed $2,575 to Bronin, according to campaign filings.”  Bronin’s donors from the firm include John Rowland’s former campaign manager and Chris Dodd’s closest advisor.

When asked by the Hartford Courant whose idea it was to hold the fundraiser for Bronin, Gaffney Bennett’s managing partner, Jay Malcynsky, responded, “I can’t remember, to be honest, what the circumstances were.”

Luke Bronin has also cashed in with those many of Malloy’s previous donors, especially those who have 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.”

As previously reported here at Wait, What? another significant pool of money for Bronin’s effort to defeat Hartford’s incumbent mayor comes from Connecticut’s largest law firms, most of which also have lucrative state contracts.

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.

Interestingly, Bronin’s campaign finance reports also show that he has also been able to cash in with the Democratic Party’s elite West Hartford donors, including $2,000 from West Hartford Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband and thousands more from other long-time West Hartford Democratic donors.

Of course, in addition to the campaign finance connection with Governor Dannel Malloy is Luke Bronin’s decision to hire Malloy’s former spokesperson, Andrew Doba, as his own Communications Director and his use of a number of campaign consultants that worked for Malloy’s campaign.

It is far too early to determine the political fallout from the Hartford mayor’s race, but as Latino and Hispanic leaders at the national level, and across the country, prepare for the 2016 campaign cycle, Governor Malloy’s efforts here in Connecticut to help unseat a major Latino leader will undoubtedly remain an issue of concern for the Democratic Party.

You can read more about Luke Bronin’s campaign donations and these issues at:

Connecticut State Contractors pouring money into Luke Bronin campaign

Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry lining up for Luke Bronin

Luke Bronin breaking the law with illegal corporate in-kind contributions

More and More and More out-of-state campaign money pours into Hartford for Bronin

Ridiculing Latino Leaders says volumes about Luke Bronin’s Campaign for Mayor of Hartford

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