Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Democratic State Central Committee, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas Bridgeport, Education Reform, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas
In a story entitled, Michelle Rhee revolution faces massive threat — and new accusations,” Salon Magazine’s Josh Eidelson wries, “In Bridgeport, a quiet bipartisan scheme to protect ed reformers’ favorite school chief is suspected by critics.”
The story paints a partial picture of what the Malloy, Finch, Pryor, Vallas cabal are doing to try and preserve Governor Malloy’s education reform efforts in Connecticut’s largest city.
“Education reform lightning rod Paul Vallas – who courted controversy helming school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago — isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But a school board election in Bridgeport, Conn. – the latest district to tap Vallas to oversee reforms — could effectively spell his fate. Tomorrow’s vote will offer the latest referendum on the bipartisan, billionaire-backed mainstream education reform movement, and on a multi-year effort by local Democrats – aided by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee — to defeat or disempower labor-backed dissenters.
“As I’ve gone around the country, I always point to Bridgeport as one of the signs that the people can beat the power,” former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and high-profile reform critic Diane Ravitch told activists on a conference call last month. Tuesday’s election is the latest round in a long-running war over ed reform, and who should shape it, in the largest city in one of the country’s most unequal states.
For the sake of shielding Vallas and his agenda, activists allege that the city’s Democratic machine has acted indifferent or even hostile to defeating Republicans tomorrow.
“What’s at stake is the future direction of Bridgeport schools,” said Connecticut Working Families Party executive director Lindsay Farrell, citing issues including testing and class size. “And I think, in a broader sense, the direction of public education in this country.”
As I’ve reported, Bridgeport’s school board became a battleground in 2009, when two of its Republican members were ousted in an election by candidates from the labor-backed Working Families Party. While Bridgeport is overwhelmingly Democratic, by law no more than two-thirds of its nine school board seats can be held by the same party. While the board’s Democrats and Republicans had often seen eye to eye on education, the WFP didn’t. “They were very effective at questioning the status quo,” Bridgeport Education Association vice president Rob Traber told Salon last year, and when Mayor Bill Finch’s superintendent pushed unpopular cuts in 2011, the Democratic machine and its business allies got “afraid that they might lose control of the board.”
You can read the full story at: http://www.salon.com/2013/11/04/how_bipartisan_antics_could_save_the_next_michelle_rhee_from_humiliation/.
And Salon doesn’t even deal with the campaign finance issues highlighted in the recent Wait, What? articles such as this one: Did you make a contribution to the Democratic State Central Committee?
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A few days ago, Democratic Party activists received an email from Governor Malloy asking them to help with this year’s local election by donating to the Democratic State Central Committee.
In his email, Malloy wrote;
“We only have four days left until the polls open. On Tuesday, Connecticut voters will choose local leaders who will make important decisions about their towns and cities. These decisions will affect budgets, first responders, emergency services and schools.
By making a minimum $5 contribution right now, you allow the Party to help campaigns organize more efficiently, use campaign tools more strategically and contact even more voters between now and Election Day.”
Regards, Dan Malloy
But what Malloy didn’t say in his email is far more interesting than what he did say.
On September 9, 2013, the day before this year’s local Democratic Party primary, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee siphoned off $20,000 from its state account and gave it to Mayor Finch and the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee to help them fund their endorsed slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education, candidates loyal to Mayor Bill Finch, Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas.
The endorsed slate, which ran on a platform of support for the corporate education reform industry, went down to a stunning defeat against a challenge slate made up of local Democrats who support local teachers, local schools and local public education. The challenge state won, in no small part, because they opposed Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch and Paul Vallas’ education reform initiatives.
As local Democratic town committees across Connecticut know, pumping $20,000 of in Democratic State Central funds to prop up a locally endorsed slate is unprecedented.
For decades the tradition has been to leave local Democratic primary battles to the people in the local community.
But Malloy’s commitment to anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public schools shows no bounds.
And by waiting until the day before the primary, Governor Dan Malloy, Democratic State Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee could be sure that the media and voters didn’t know that the Democratic State Party was underwriting the pro-Vallas slate until after Primary Day. (State law requires that campaign finance reports be submitted seven days prior to the primary and then in October).
But now that the post primary State Elections Reports have been filed, the news is even more incredible.
In addition to giving Bridgeport’s endorsed slate $20,000, Malloy, DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee picked up the cost for all three local mailings for the Bridgeport endorsed slate.
Democratic State Central paid an out-of-state direct mail company of $9,471.44 on August 26, 2013, $3,911.21 on August 29, 2013 and $4,735.72 on September 10, 2013.
This means that in addition to the $20,000 donation to the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, Democratic donors from around Connecticut paid an additional $18,118.72 to support Bridgeport’s losing pro-corporate education reform slate.
And the amount spent to support Finch’s losing slate may be even higher since the State Party’s expenditures are listed as being for printing and don’t reveal if the Democratic State Central Committee also paid for the postage for these mailings.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that during the same time period, Democratic State Central Committee paid Governor Malloy’s chief advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso, a total of $13,500. None of those funds were allocated to the Bridgeport campaign, which seems odd considering how active Occhiogrosso has been in the corporate education reform effort in Connecticut.
Since January of this year, Occhiogrosso’s company has billed A Better Connecticut, the leading charter school advocacy group, over $2.3 million for television ads, polling and strategy to support Malloy’s education reforms.
Oddly, the latest Democratic State Central Committee report also fails to show any expenditures for polling and opposition research in Bridgeport even though it is widely known that a poll was done by the pro-Finch operation and an opposition research firm out of Oregon was hired to do background checks on the individual members of the challenge slate and their supporters.
With no expenditures listed for public opinion polling, opposition research or Occhiogrosso’s firm, the Bridgeport and Democratic State Central Committee campaign finance reports reiterate the likelihood that Finch, Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee violated Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.
Considering the historic role of the Democratic State Central Committee, the Bridgeport situation seems like an utter fiasco.
At least $40,000, and perhaps much more, was diverted away from helping Democrats beat Republicans and instead it was used to silence the opponents of Malloy’s education reform strategies.
Did the Democratic State Central Committee approve these massive expenditures?
Were Democratic Town Chairs told that they were raising money that would be spent in a Bridgeport Primary and not to beat Republicans?
What about the many donors to the Democratic State Central Committee’s annual Jefferson, Jackson Bailey dinner. Where they told their contributions were going to be used to fight Democrats and not Republicans?
And why is Governor Malloy misleading Democratic donors now by claiming that their contributions will go toward one thing when he knows that money is being spent for something else?
Finally, Malloy’s email contains one other extraordinarily interesting tidbit.
The small print of the email reads; “Your contribution will be used in connection with federal elections and is subject to the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contribution exceed $200 in a calendar year.”
In fact, in recent months Malloy has been raising money into the Party’s Federal Account. While Malloy can use those funds in a gubernatorial campaign year they cannot legally be used in local elections.
So while Malloy’s email says give $5 to help local races, it also reveals that the money may be shifted to the Democratic State Central Committee’s federal account where it can be used next year, when there are federal races, but not this year.
The questions about Malloy’s fundraising practices are growing exponentially.
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Prosperity for Connecticut PAC, State Elections Enforcement Commission, Stefan Pryor Campaign Finance, Gubernatorial, Malloy
Thanks to the changes in Connecticut’s campaign finance system that were initiated and signed into law by Governor Malloy, corporate education reformers Jonathan Sackler and Mary Corson each wrote $10,000 checks to Connecticut’s Democratic Party this year.
It is hardly the first time that Sackler and his wife, Mary Corson, have ponied up for Governor Malloy.
Over the past two years Malloy has attended fifteen (15) fundraisers for a political action committee named Prosperity for Connecticut PAC. Three of these events were held in Washington D.C., three in New York City and the rest here in Connecticut.
The most successful Prosperity for Connecticut fundraising event was held at the home of Jonathan Sackler and Mary Corson. (See Wait, What? post: Malloy affiliated Political Action Committee cashes in on education reform bill). The event raised nearly $50,000 and donations came from education reform industry leaders from around the state and country. The event was held on the day Malloy’s education reform bill became a Connecticut Public Act.
Jonathan Sackler was also an initial donor and Board member of Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company co-founded by Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education.
Sackler also formed ConnCAN, ConnAD and 50CAN, all major corporate education reform advocacy groups.
Last year, at the last moment, Sackler wrote a check for $50,000 to help pay for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s failed attempt to change the Bridgeport Charter to do away with a democratically elected Board of Education and replace it with one appointed by Finch.
In recent days, various Connecticut media outlets have been writing about Connecticut campaign finance issues.
The CT Mirror posted an article entitled, “CT GOP, Democrats joust over Malloy’s fundraising,” while CT Newsjunkie published “Heavy Hitters Ride to the Rescue For Dems Under New Fundraising Rules.”
The controversy surrounding Malloy and the Democrats is hardly a new one.
In a Wait, What? story last June entitled, “Malloy, legislature continue to water-down Connecticut’s “landmark” campaign finance laws,” readers were informed that;
“This year, Governor Malloy and the Democrats in the legislature made their most dramatic and audacious effort, to date, to undermine the law.
And they succeeded…with Malloy signing the new bill into law yesterday.
At a time when the public understands that campaign money plays too much of a role in American politics, Malloy and the Democrats took significant steps to reverse earlier limitations on campaign donations and spending.
As a result of the new law, significantly more money will be spilling into Connecticut campaigns.
Among other things, the law doubles the amount campaign donors may contribute to political parties and actually removes the cap on how much political parties can spend on publicly-financed candidates.
The most incredible new development is that the law now allows a candidate to help raise money for a political action committee that will later spend that money to support the very candidate who helped raise it.
As reported here at Wait, What? and elsewhere, Governor Malloy has held at least 15 fundraisers for a political action committee called Prosperity for Connecticut. Under the old law, there were severe limitations on how that committee could spend its money, ensuring that its primary purpose was not to support any affiliated candidates.
The new law changes that system completely.
Malloy can now help a Super PAC raise unlimited amounts of money and that PAC can then spend that money to support Malloy.”
Now Malloy is capitalizing on his successful efforts to undermine Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.
In its most recent campaign finance story, the CT Mirror writes,
“Emboldened by looser campaign-finance rules and a rainmaking governor, the Connecticut Democratic Party is raising money nearly three times faster for the 2014 election than it did four years ago in preparation for 2010. At the same time, Republican fundraising is stagnant. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a first-term Democrat up for re-election next year, is aggressively headlining his party’s fundraising, utilizing a law passed this year by the Democratic state legislature that raised donor limits and allows the state parties for the first time to make unlimited expenditures to support candidates for governor and other state offices.”
The CT Mirror further explains, “The Democratic Party, which dominates the General Assembly and holds every statewide and congressional office, has raised more than $1.5 million since January in its state and federal campaign accounts, compared with $566,530 over the same period four years ago. And the numbers do not reflect proceeds from Malloy’s most recent fundraising efforts, a series of events a week ago in California.”
The power of the Malloy driven changes can be seen in that, “Of the $1.5 million raised this year by Democrats, $430,000 came from a roster of donors who wrote $10,000 checks, the maximum allowed by law. Those donors include top executives of the state’s largest utility, the company that manages state athletic venues, a major state landlord, a provider of state parking services and developers of a major real-estate project supported by state assistance.”
While the CT Mirror story reports that “Brian McAllister of New York, the chief executive of a ferry company that has urged the state to build a new terminal in Bridgeport, wrote two $10,000 checks, one for the party’s federal account and another to its state account,” the story fails to make reference to the fact that Malloy is collecting campaign checks from people like McAlister in a number of was.
A December 2012 Wait, What post highlighted the rest of the story by noting, “15+ family members and employees of a New York tug boat towing and ferry boat company give to Malloy PAC.
In fact, many of the $10,000 checks to the Democratic State Central Committee come from people who attended one of the 15 fundraisers held by the Prosperity for Connecticut PAC.
Following the Rowland scandals, Connecticut passed some of the most far-reaching campaign finance reforms in the country. Our law was a model for how the people could take back their democracy.
Since then Governor Malloy, with the help of the Democratic controlled legislature, has been destroying and undermining Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance laws.
We are well on our way back to becoming the “pay to play” state that ended up with a governor in jail.
Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Last April, Governor Malloy attended the “the star-studded White House Correspondent’s Dinner.”
His ticket and travel expenses were picked up by People Magazine.
The trip sparked a lot controversy including blog posts here at Wait, What? (Dannel’s Spring Break 2013 – The White House Correspondent’s Dinner April, 27 2013 and Wait, What? Malloy Reimburses People Magazine…)
At the time of the trip, Malloy’s office released a statement saying, “Instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayers, the Governor is personally paying the cost.”
Actually Malloy told Channel 8 news, “I could do it with state dollars, or I could do it with someone else’s dollars. I thought doing it with somebody else’s dollars made a lot of sense,”
But six months later, the Governor’s Office finally responded to a Freedom of Information request about the trip.
The documents that were released to NBC news revealed that while Malloy did “pay his own way” to the White House Gala, taxpayers picked up the $4,808.58 bill for his security detail.
When confronted about the conflict with the earlier statement, Malloy’s spokesperson explained that the Governor never said he was paying for all the costs associated with the trip to the Correspondent’s Dinner.
Instead the spokesman explained, “What we said was the Governor, rather than saddling taxpayers with the cost for his travel expenses, he paid for it himself.”
It campaign speak it is called “political spin.” In the real world it’s called never quite telling the whole truth.
Now questions are raging about Malloy’ recent California fundraising trip.
Both the governor’s office and the Connecticut Democratic State Party have refused to reveal details about the trip that Malloy took last Friday and Saturday.
According to the media reports, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee paid for Malloy’s trip…but that excludes the costs incurred by the state troopers who went with the governor.
So despite what the Governor and his operation said about the Democratic Party picking up the tab, the cost to Connecticut taxpayers for Malloy’s trip ran into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, as the Hartford Courant reported, the governor’s fundraising trip apparently including a stop to raise money from a California Democrat whose company has had “lucrative state contracts.”
But Malloy’s office and the state Democratic Party also refused to provide answers about the possible solicitation of a state contractor.
The Courant explained, “According to press reports, while on his fundraising trip, the governor was a guest of Lenny Mendonca, a prominent Northern California Democrat who co-founded the public sector practice at McKinsey & Company,” which has had contracts with UConn totaling $4 million over the past two years.
The Courant quoted Republican State Senator John McKinney as saying, “The revelation that the governor met with a state contractor while on a fundraising trip for the Democratic Party raises a number of questions. If the governor was soliciting a state contractor, or his employees for political contributions, then he clearly violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, if not the laws themselves.”
The Courant added,
“There was no response from the governor’s office. Malloy’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, referred questions to the state Democratic Party. The party’s spokesman, James Hallinan, had this to say: ‘The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’
But did Malloy meet with Mendonca, as Peterson’s tweet suggested?
Hallinan would not answer that question. Instead, he said: ‘Again, we don’t comment about [Democratic Party] finance issues. That’s just our protocol. The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’”
At a press conference yesterday, reporters asked Malloy, once again, about the California trip and whether he met with the state contractor.
About the trip, Malloy said “talk to the party.”
About raising money from Mendonca, Malloy said, “I think I did have contact with such a person but not in connection with raising — to the best of my knowledge — money for Democratic causes.”
Such a person?
To the best of my knowledge?
Whether you call it political spin or not telling the whole truth it is a sad commentary about Governor Malloy’s “commitment” to transparency, open government and telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Bridgeport, Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, State Politics Bridgeport, Democratic State Central Committee, Kenneth Moales Jr., Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas
Connecticut residents who attended the Democrat Party’s recent Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey dinner will be shocked to learn that according to a new campaign finance reported filed by the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, the State Democratic Party siphoned off $20,000 in donations to the state party to cover the outstanding costs associated with Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee’s recent loss in the September Bridgeport Board of Education primary.
On September 10th, the Democratic Party’s endorsed slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education, candidates loyal to Mayor Bill Finch, Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, went down in a stunning defeat against a challenge slate made up of candidates opposed to Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch and Paul Vallas’ education reform initiatives.
The successful challenge slate had the support of local public education advocates, the Connecticut and Bridgeport Education Associations and the Working Families Party, as well as others.
Now the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee’s October campaign finance report reveals that with the local Bridgeport Town Committee facing a shortfall of at least $12,000, the State Democratic Party bailed Finch and the Bridgeport machine out with a $20,000 check the day before the primary was held.
By waiting until the day before the primary, Governor Dan Malloy, Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee could be sure that the media and voters didn’t know that the Democratic State Party was underwriting the pro-Vallas slate until after Primary Day. (State law requires that campaign finance reports be submitted seven days prior to the primary and then in October)
According to the campaign finance report, nearly all of the money spent was used to cover more than 140 checks to individual campaign workers who were apparently canvassing for the losing slate.
With no expenditures listed for direct mail, public opinion polling or an opposition research report that was conducted during the campaign, the new campaign finance report reiterates the likelihood that the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee has violated a series of campaign finance laws. A full investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Committee will be needed to determine just what Connecticut campaign finance laws the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee broke.
The direct financial involvement of the Democratic State Party in a local primary is very unusual. Traditionally, state Democrats have left those intra-party battles to the local Democrats.
The fact that the Democratic State Central Committee donated at least $20,000 and allowed the endorsed, pro-Finch, Moales and Vallas slate to use the Democratic State Central Committee’s non-profit mailing permit suggests that Governor Malloy and his pro-corporate education reform allies will do whatever it takes to try to defeat candidates who support Connecticut teachers and Connecticut’s public education system.
Check back for follow-up posts on any state investigations into the alleged campaign finance violations by the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee.
Bridgeport, CT Post, Democratic Party, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Working Families Party CT Post, Democratic Party, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Working Families Party
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” - Edward R. Murrow
I’ve used that quote before here at Wait, What? I believe it to be one of the most important political statements in American history. It was uttered by the great journalist Edward R, Murrow. As one of the greatest war correspondents, Murrow’s impact on the american people was profound. But his greatest contribution was probably his willingness to stand up and speak the truth when it came to Senator Joseph McCarthy. When Murrow and his team created a hard-hitting documentary on Joe McCarthy, CBS refused to pay for any publicity related to the piece or allow Murrow to use CBS’ logo. So Murrow and colleagues purchased their own newspaper advertising.
Murrow understood that when the opposition is silenced, the demise of democracy is not far behind.
It is that very understanding that made yesterday’s Connecticut Post’s editorial entitled, “Opposition’s emergence benefits city” so noteworthy.
The Connecticut Post wrote;
“In a city like Bridgeport, where an entrenched political establishment seemingly gets its way on everything, days like Tuesday don’t come around very often.
Party-endorsed candidates lost across the city in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. The makeup of the City Council and school board will be dramatically different thanks to a combination of voter unrest and organized opposition of the sort that rarely makes a dent in city elections.
The Bridgeport electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic. Republicans seldom make any noise, and have been mostly surpassed by the Working Families Party as the Democrats’ main opposition. Still, whoever wins the Democratic nomination is considered a heavy favorite on the November ballot. That’s what made the primary vote so important.
The City Council has for years been all Democrats, but a number of longtime incumbents were beaten on Tuesday. Some of the winners look like they will be critical of the city’s entrenched powers, which would be a healthy sign. A council that agrees on everything is the cause of debacles like the $400,000 airport driveway for a connected developer, which was approved this year while the council slept.
The biggest change will be on the school board. With four incumbents not running, there would have been serious turnover anyway, but now it looks as though control of the board will shift away from party-endorsed members. If the general election goes as expected, a majority on the board will be staunch opponents of the mayor’s school-reform efforts, and dedicated skeptics of the work of Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas.
Voter turnout was a disappointment. But the conventional wisdom that low turnout favors the party machine was turned on its head. In fact, it was a blowout in favor of the school board’s challenge slate, with the three Row B candidates racking up wins across the city, often by large margins.
It would be hard to view this as anything other than a rebuke to the city’s ongoing education reforms. The endorsed candidates had each pledged support for Vallas and the changes he has wrought, and the challengers all spoke against his work. The challengers won, and it wasn’t close. District leadership will have to respond to that message.
Most promising, even given the low turnout, is the appearance in the past year or two of a viable opposition. It took hold in the defeat of a charter revision plan last year that would have removed the public’s right to elect a school board, and the momentum continued Tuesday. Anyone who chalked up last year’s charter defeat to the simultaneous presidential election, which always attracts high turnout, must face the fact that a low-turnout election has now produced the same result.
Opposition is healthy. Change is good. The city will be better because of it.”
You can read the Connecticut Post’s editorial at: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Opposition-s-emergence-benefits-city-4806360.php
Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Tom Foley Campaign Finance, Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, Democratic Party, Malloy, Tom Foley
Today’s headline from of the Democratic State Central Committee press release reads, “TOM FOLEY WAS AGAINST PUBLIC FINANCING BEFORE HE WAS FOR IT…”
The release seeks to mock Tom Foley for changing his position from being against Connecticut’s campaign finance system to now being for it.
The Democratic State Central Committee’s move is pretty damn funny since supporters of Connecticut’s campaign finance system recognize that Governor Dannel Malloy was for Public Financing until he was against it…
In today’s press release, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee blasted Tom Foley saying that in 2010 Foley was against public financing of gubernatorial campaigns but has now said he will try to qualify for public financing during the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
According to the Democratic State Central Committee’s statement, back in 2010, Foley’s campaign manager condemned Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance program observing, “As a Republican, I don’t mind a primary, but I do mind that the lieutenant governor [Fedele] is trying to use taxpayers’ dollars to finance his campaign…He is asking people for contributions so he can qualify to use taxpayers’ money for advertising, balloons, bumper stickers, and high priced consultants against a fellow Republican.”
Now, Foley announced that he is not only seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for governor but he plans to participate in what is left of Connecticut “Citizens Election Program.”
But what the Democratic State Central Committee’s press release fails to admit is that since taking office Governor Malloy and his political operatives have been engaged in an on-going and underhanded effort to destroy and undermine some of the most important elements of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.
Over the past two years, the most important campaign finance changes arose as a result of the passage of PA 11-48 — HB 6651; AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE BUDGET CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT,
The Governor’s veto of PA 12-117—HB 5556: AN ACT CONCERNING CHANGES TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AND OTHER ELECTION LAWS
And the adoption of PA 13-180—HB 6580: AN ACT CONCERNING DISCLOSURE OF INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AND CHANGES TO OTHER CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AND ELECTION LAWS
The notion that Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee are attacking Foley on his position on campaign finance is….let’s just say, ironic.
Readers can search the Wait, What? archives to read more about Malloy’s efforts to damage Connecticut’s campaign finance laws or just keep an eye out of the posts that will be forthcoming.
Here is the press release from Democratic State Central:
CONNECTICUT DEMOCRATIC PARTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 10, 2013
TOM FOLEY WAS AGAINST PUBLIC FINANCING BEFORE HE WAS FOR IT
Today Tom Foley said he will try to qualify for public financing. Why the change of heart? Here’s what his chief spokesperson said about the issue on Mr. Foley’s behalf in 2010:
Foley’s campaign manager, Justin R. Clark, is ripping Fedele for his plans.
“As a Republican, I don’t mind a primary, but I do mind that the lieutenant governor is trying to use taxpayers’ dollars to finance his campaign,” Clark said. “He is asking people for contributions so he can qualify to use taxpayers’ money for advertising, balloons, bumper stickers, and high priced consultants against a fellow Republican.”
Clark added, “Most Republicans don’t understand how a candidate for governor whose most important leadership challenge will be reducing government spending can start off by asking taxpayers to pay up to $2.5 million for his primary campaign. Instead, he should be asking to have the “Citizens Election Program” repealed. The program is referred to mockingly as the incumbents’ full-employment program, and it could cost the state over tens of millions of dollars this election cycle.”
Source: Hartford Courant, June 15, 2010
Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor
And you thought your campaign donation to the Connecticut Democratic Party went to support Democratic candidates and Democratic principles…?
Well think again because it turns out that Bridgeport’s pro-corporate education industry, pro-charter school, anti-teacher, party-endorsed slate is using Connecticut State Party resources to push their anti-public education agenda.
Truth be told, the Connecticut Democratic Party is essentially using the money it has raised from Democrats across Connecticut to help Mayor Bill Finch beat back a slate of pro-public education Democrats who have the courage and conviction to stand up against Paul Vallas and the education reform industry
The State Democratic Party’s spending is in preparation of the primary this coming Tuesday when the voters of Bridgeport return to the polls in a Democratic Primary between a slate loyal to Mayor Bill Finch and Governor Malloy’s corporate education reform agenda versus a challenge slate that opposes the policies being pushed by Finch, Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, and the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, Kenneth Moales, Jr.
The battle lines in this epic struggle to stop the “education reforms” have been growing since Governor Malloy took office in January 2011.
In Bridgeport, the Malloy/Finch strategy began with the State of Connecticut’s attempt to takeover of the Bridgeport School System. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the effort illegal and forced the Malloy administration to return the operation of Bridgeport schools to a democratically elected board of education.
But in the meantime, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, recruited education reformer extraordinaire, Paul Vallas, to become Bridgeport’s $234,000 part-time, acting superintendent of schools, despite the fact that Vallas lacked the qualifications to serve as a superintendent in Connecticut.
As Vallas began his effort to privatize and undermine Bridgeport’s public education system, Mayor Finch expanded his effort to pass a charter reform initiative that would have done away with Bridgeport’s democratically elected board of education and replaced it with one appointed by the mayor.
Despite the record-breaking amounts of money that poured into Bridgeport from the corporate education reform industry around the country, the voters of Bridgeport soundly defeated the undemocratic referendum.
But despite that overwhelming public rejection, the Malloy, Finch, Vallas and Moales operation has been continuing their destructive efforts.
In addition to expanding the role of charter schools, dramatically increasing the use of standardized tests and unfairly linking standardized testing and teacher evaluations, the Malloy/Pryor agenda is typified by their extraordinary effort to keep Paul Vallas in place.
Even after a Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled that Vallas had failed to complete a school leadership program, lacked the credentials to be Bridgeport’s superintendent and could no longer legally serve as superintendent, the City of Bridgeport, with the help of Commissioner Pryor and Attorney General George Jepsen, have been working to keep prior on the job.
Not only have they appealed the case to the Connecticut Supreme Court but they are spending upwards towards $100,000 in taxpayer funds to cover Vallas’ legal bills.
And finally, as if there was anything confusion about where things stand, Mayor Finch and the Bridgeport Democratic Party are running a slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education that is made up of people who actually worked to eliminate the right of Bridgeport voters to select members of the Board of Education.
One of the Democratic Party endorsed candidates served as the chairman of the political action committee that funded Finch’s failed charter revision campaign and another candidate, a teacher at Achievement First – Bridgeport, was a primary spokesman in the campaign. Now these individuals are trying to get elected to the board they tried to eliminate.
But don’t think for a moment that this battle is simply a war between various factions within Connecticut’s largest city.
Not only is the corporate education reform industry dumping money in support of the endorsement slate, but in recent days, an even more surprising and disturbing fact has come to light.
The Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee has been subsidizing Mayor Finch’s desperate campaign to maintain control of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
The official political mailings in support of the Democratic endorsed slate ARE NOT coming from the Bridgeport Democratic Party’s campaign committee but are being paid for and sent out by the Connecticut Democratic Party.
The Connecticut Democratic Party is even paying for attack pieces against the Democratic challenge slate including one yesterday that attacked the Bridgeport Councilman who is running for the Board of Education because the Councilman opposed handing a local Bridgeport elementary school over the Jumoke Academy charter school management company and opposed Bridgeport’s Steel Point development boondoggle.
Not only is the Connecticut Democratic Party paying for the mailings, but the Connecticut Democrats are sending the mailings out using the Democratic Party’s nonprofit permit.
This incredible news raises huge issues.
While United States law and Postal Service regulations allow political parties in each state to have a nonprofit mailing permit, they can only use it for official activities of the state political party.
As the regulations explain, a state political party “may mail election-related materials, such as candidate endorsements, at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices if the materials are exclusively of the qualifying political committee. Political mailings may not be made at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices when a political candidate or anyone else not authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices assists the qualifying political committee with the preparation or mailing of such materials, or pays any of the costs of preparation or mailing, or provides any consideration to the qualifying political committee in return for the mailing being made.”
The postal rules mean that, “a state committee of a political party may be authorized to mail at the nonprofit rates as a qualified political committee. However, committees organized at the county or local level are separate and distinct, ineligible political committees. An authorized state committee may neither lend the use of its permit to such a committee, nor engage in cooperative mailings at the nonprofit rates with a county or other local committee.”
As the postal service rules go on to direct, “These restrictions do not prohibit a state committee of a political party from endorsing and supporting local candidates, as long as the campaign materials to be mailed at the nonprofit rates are the committee’s own and the committee pays the postage with no reimbursement from the candidates or other committees supporting those candidates.
When money earmarked for the exclusive use of only one candidate goes from a candidate or candidate’s committee to an authorized political committee, the Postal Service does not view this as the authorized political committee’s money. Instead, we consider this to be the candidate’s money, because it can’t be used on behalf of anyone else. Mailings made by an authorized political committee on behalf of a candidate funded in this way are considered cooperative mailings ineligible for the nonprofit rates.”
It is truly a sad commentary about how modern politics works.
Democratic State Party Chair, Nancy DiNardo, who worked in the Bridgeport School System for thirty years, is allowing state party resources to be used in a Bridgeport Board of Education Democratic primary. DiNardo’s actions mean Connecticut Democrats across the state are seeing resources being used to help the Finch slate beat back a challenge, when in fact; it is the challenge slate that is dedicated to Democratic principles and Bridgeport’s students, parents, teachers and schools.
As Democrats across the state look on;
On one side of the equation are the corporate education reform industry and their ambassadors, Governor Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Paul Vallas and Kenneth Moales.
On the other side are those who truly believe in the importance of universal public education.
And what does the Connecticut Democratic Party do…
It uses the money collected from its Democratic donors to fund and subsidize the education reform industry’s efforts.
In two weeks, On Saturday, September 28, 2013 the Connecticut Democratic Party will hold its 65th Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner featuring Governor Dannel Malloy.
The JJB is the most important Connecticut State Central Committee fundraiser of the year. A private reception is held at 5:30 p.m., Cocktails at 6 p.m. and Dinner at 7:00 p.m. A nationally known Democratic speaker then provides the substance of the event.
According to the invitation that went out last week, if you call the State Central FINANCE DEPARTMENT and pay for a premium ticket, you can even sit with “AN ELECTED OFFICIAL.”
With the news that political contributions are being used to support politicians who are undermining Bridgeport’s students and teachers, it leaves one wondering, do the donors and attendees who are planning to go to this dinner realize that some portion of their money is being used to support candidates and policies that are diametrically opposed to the values and principles of the Democratic Party.
Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas Bridgeport, Democrats, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Residents for a Better Bridgeport
In this Orwellian world in which we live, how do voters deal with candidates who run as Democrats but oppose democracy…
As we all know, democracy is traditionally defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”
As the name implies, Democrats traditionally believe in the fundamental elements of democracy.
But in Bridgeport, Connecticut the Democratic endorsed slate of candidates that is running in next Tuesday’s Democratic Primary have made an extraordinary effort to do away with the very Board of Education that they are now seeking to serve upon.
(Wait, What?) No, really…
It was only a year ago that these same Democratic endorsed candidates were part of a record-breaking effort to eliminate Bridgeport’s democratically elected board of education. Having lost that effort, the “Bridgeport Democratic Machine” is now trying to convince Bridgeport voters to elect candidates who worked so hard to eliminate the Board of Education..
Forget the fact that Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport Democratic Party supported Malloy’s illegal takeover of the Bridgeport School System.
Forget the fact that Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, Kenneth Moales, Jr. the bully turned Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education is systematically turning the Bridgeport Board of Education into the laughing stock of Connecticut.
Forget the fact that Mayor Bill Finch is Paul Vallas’ biggest supporter and that the City of Bridgeport has inappropriately and potentially illegally spent $50,000 to $100,000 representing Paul Vallas in his losing legal effort to remain Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools.
Forget the fact that Mayor Bill Finch and his education reform allies spent a record amount of money in their failed attempt to pass a charter change that would have eliminated Bridgeport’s elected board of education and replaced it with one appointed by him.
The situation facing Bridgeport’s voters in next Tuesday’s primary is the following;
According to their campaign pieces, “The endorsed team for the Bridgeport Board of Education will bring new leadership and a fresh voice for strengthening schools for our kids.”
New leadership and fresh voices?
Endorsed Candidate #1: Reverend Simon Castillo is a long-time Finch ally who served as Chairman of the Residents for a Better Bridgeport Political Action Committee. This was the political action committee that spent a record amount of money supporting Mayor Finch’s failed charter reform proposal TO DO AWAY with an elected Board of Education.
Simon Castillo spent countless hours trying to take away Bridgeport voter’s right to choose members of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Now he wants their vote to be on that Board of Education.
Endorsed Candidate #2: Brandon Clark is a teacher at Achievement First – Bridgeport and appeared in a number of the campaign brochures and videos that were paid for by the Residents for a Better Bridgeport Political Action Committee.
In essence, Brandon Clark served as a primary spokesperson in the campaign urging Bridgeport voters to support Mayor Finch’s failed charter reform proposal TO DO AWAY with an elected Board of Education.
Brandon Clark spent countless hours trying to take away Bridgeport voter’s right to choose members of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Now he wants their vote to be on that Board of Education.
Furthermore, Clark’s present campaign pieces report that he has “worked in Bridgeport public schools for more than a decade.” Of course, Achievement First – Bridgeport is a state charter school and is not part of the Bridgeport school system. Clark either doesn’t know what schools make up the Bridgeport school system or he is purposely trying to mislead voters into thinking that he works in Bridgeport’s public schools.
Endorsed Candidate #3: Katie Roach Bukovsky is the third member of the Democratic Party’s endorsed slate. New to education issues” she reports that part of her expertise comes from the fact that she works for a private company that sells education resource materials and products to school systems. Katie Roach Bukovsky is also the sister of Danny Roach, the long-time Black Rock District leader on the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee. As part of the Bridgeport Democratic establishment, Roach and the majority on the Democratic Town Committee spent countless hours trying TO TAKE AWAY Bridgeport voter’s right to choose members of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Now Katie Roach Bukovsky she is part of the slate that is seeking voter’s support to be on that Board of Education.
Imagine, in Bridgeport, the endorsed Democratic candidates for the Board of Education are on record opposing democracy.
The Democrats who have spent so much time trying to eliminate the People’s right to elect members of the local board of education are now trying to get on that Bridgeport Board of Education AND are claiming that, as members of that Board they will “bring new leadership and a fresh voice for strengthening schools for our kids.”
As we are fond of saying on this blog, their approach to reality, the truth and democratic principles would make George Orwell proud.
Democratic Party, George Jepsen, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Sarah Darer Littman, Stefan Pryor Sarah Darer Littman, The Democratic Party
Public education advocate and CTNewsjunkie columnist, Sarah Darer Littman, has produced another “must read” column articulating the anger and frustration that so many of us are feeling toward much of the leadership of the Democratic Party.
I pretty sure it was actually on my 18th birthday that I raced to the Old Town Hall to register as a Democrat. Less than two years later, I become, what I think, was the youngest Democratic Town Chairman in Connecticut history, beating out my former boss and mentor, Sam Gejdenson.
Today I watch a Democratic President and Democratic Governor undermine the public education system and coddle the rich, while here in Connecticut we witness the deepest cuts in history to our public colleges and universities, while slashing some of the most vital human services, such as respite care for parents of the developmentally disabled.
In recent years, time and time again, we’ve witnessed the Democratic leadership taking our party away from its core beliefs and principles.
In what is certainly an award-winning response, Sarah Darer Littman says enough is enough:
A Woman Without A Party (By Sara Darer Littman)
When my son registered to vote two years ago this month, he wanted to register unaffiliated. “Both parties are just corporate shills,” he said.
I had a hard time disagreeing with that point of view, but I talked him out of it with the same words my father told me thirty years earlier, when I was a new voter: “You should always join a party in a closed primary state so you can vote in a primary.”
My son listened to me, as I listened to Dad. So he was shocked when I told him that I’d gone to Town Hall this week and changed my registration from Democrat to Unaffliated in the final stage of my journey to disgust and disillusionment with the two-party system.
“Welcome to my world,” he said.
At 18, I was a registered Republican. At 36, I became a Democrat. And now, as a woman of a certain age, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Attorney General George Jepsen, and their BFF Arne Duncan, have persuaded me to join the fastest growing voter group in both Connecticut and the country — the Unaffiliated.
(Read her full post at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/a_woman_without_a_party/)
Sarah ends by saying, “One of the books that has most influenced me was one I read in that 10th grade honors English class, George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM. The reason I’ve become unaffiliated is because as I looked from one party to the other on education, “already it was impossible to say which was which.”
I know Sarah speaks for many of us…