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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.
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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.
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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.
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Maybe they just can’t help themselves…
The television advertisement came on during the Cooking Channel’s popular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. One moment it was Guy Fieri talking about a fish taco and the next it was Governor Malloy telling people about a forum for distressed homeowners to be held Oct. 22 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. After Malloy extolled his dedication to helping keep people in their homes, Attorney General George Jepsen picked up where Malloy left off.
It wasn’t immediately clear who paid for the advertisement or why Malloy and Jepsen were the most appropriate people to tell those of us having problems keeping our mortgage payments current that help was available.
But apparently it was part of a multi-pronged public relations initiative following their press conference on the matter. (See Connecticut launches mortgage assistance forum; braces for prolonged shutdown, Connecticut To Hold Mortgage Assistance Event In Hartford On Oct. 22 or Sixth Mortgage Assistance Event Set Next Week In Hartford.
Considering none of the articles mentioned the television ads, maybe Malloy and Jepsen forgot to inform the media that they were using the mortgage crisis as a way to help push up their name recognition.
Television ads cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars, a piece, to run.
And most politicians love to have others pick up the cost of some of their ads. For example, “old timers” will remember Governor Rowland and his wife paddling around in a canoe as part of the state’s strategy to convince tourists to come to Connecticut.
Thinking about who is picking up the tab for the Malloy/Jepsen TV ads, it is hard to know what would be worse. Are the taxpayers paying or the banks that are involved in the program including Bank of America, CitiMortgage, First Niagara Bank, HSBC National Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McCue Mortgage, Nationstar Mortgage, Ocwen Loan Servicing, People’s United Bank, PNC Mortgage, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, Webster Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Meanwhile, the saga of Secretary of State Denise Merrill’s newsletter continues to attract attention.
The Courant’s Jon Lender broke the story last Friday with an article entitled Merrill Uses State Office To Send Newsletter To Democratic Activists.
As Lender reported, “Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has been using her taxpayer-funded office to maintain a computerized list of names and email addresses of thousands of Democratic activists and campaign contributors — to whom she sends a monthly newsletter touting her accomplishments.
Her actions are reminiscent of widely condemned practices by her predecessor in the office, Susan Bysiewicz. Bysiewicz’s campaign for state attorney general failed in 2010 amid a scandal over a politically tinged “constituent database” — which Bysiewicz maintained in her office and utilized to send a similar newsletter of her own.”
Following Lender’s story, Secretary of the State Merrill started back-peddling.
First came Merrill Says She’ll Talk ‘Later In Week’ About Newsletter
And then: Merrill Apologizes And Ends Newsletter and Denise Merrill Sees The Light, Drops Email List
These two situations raise significant questions about what is and what isn’t okay when it comes to maximizing the power of incumbency.
It seems pretty clear that sending a newsletter to political supporters is stepping over the line.
But is working to build name and image recognition by gratuitously featuring the Governor and Attorney General in television ads about mortgage assistance really any more acceptable?
It’s not as if the end game is any different.
Just ask all the Democrats who condemned and taunted John Rowland and his wife when they appeared in ads paddling around a Connecticut lake.
Bridgeport, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Teachers Bridgeport, Kenneth Moales Jr., Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Teachers
Many school teachers have already decided that they won’t be voting for Governor Malloy if he runs again…
And those who have yet to make up their minds may join their colleagues in voting against Malloy as they watch Malloy’s allies scapegoat teachers in the upcoming Bridgeport teacher contract negotiations.
As the Connecticut Post recently explained, “Talks to change what Mayor Bill Finch and school board Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. have called the worst teacher’s contract” have begun in Bridgeport.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools Paul Vallas have all been leading voices for Governor Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and the rest of the corporate education reform industry in Connecticut.
Outrageous, insulting and irresponsible rhetoric has been one of their primary weapons.
Every school teacher in Connecticut recalls Governor Malloy’s comment that teachers need only show up for four years to get tenure and few will forget that it was Malloy who said that he didn’t mind requiring teachers to teach to the test as long as test scores went up.
As Wait, What? readers know, Finch and Moales have had their own share of incredible statements.
Calling the present Bridgeport contract the “worst teacher’s contract” is just one more example.
Meanwhile, both Finch and Moales have ducked the fact that they are violating Connecticut state law by allowing the City of Bridgeport to fail to meet Connecticut’s minimum budget expenditure law.
And Bridgeport’s failure to allocate sufficient funds for its public schools is not only hurting the quality of education for Bridgeport’s children but will cost Bridgeport taxpayers millions unless Finch can get Malloy, Pryor and the Connecticut General Assembly to exempt them from having to follow the laws that apply to every other Connecticut community.
But instead of dealing with the financial crisis that they are creating, Finch and the other Malloy supporters in Bridgeport are going to try to create a diversion by making the teachers, the Bridgeport Education Association and the teacher’s contract the “big issue” of the year.
As the Connecticut Post article reveals, when Finch presented his budget to the newspaper, “Finch said he was planning to count on Vallas to radically change the current teacher’s union contract.”
Finch told the Connecticut Post, “I am working very closely with Vallas. He’s never seen a contract as bad as this…We need major concessions in that contract and we are prepared to go to whatever extent to get them.”
- Worst contract Vallas has ever seen?
- “We need major concessions in that contract and we are prepared to go to whatever extent to get them.”
School teachers across Connecticut recognize that this hyperbole is so absurd that it actually makes it very clear just what these education reform industry representatives are actually pushing.
As the 2014 gubernatorial election approaches, let no one fool themselves.
Governor Malloy has aligned himself with Stefan Pryor, Bill Finch, Kenneth Moales, Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski and these individuals are engaged in an all-out war to blame teachers and undermine teacher’s collective bargaining rights.
There is simply no doubt that Governor Malloy’s education reform bill was the most anti-teacher, anti-union “reform bill” introduced by any Democratic governor in the nation.
That same mentality is driving Finch, Moales and Vallas in Bridgeport.
The political reality is that as a result of these developments, Bridgeport’s teacher contract negotiations could very well be the nail in Malloy’s political coffin, if it hasn’t already been nailed shut.
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In the world of politics, it was the type of media opportunity politicians dream about.
The Governor of Connecticut raced to New York City yesterday to the give top officials at Con Edison and the MTA “the old what-for” in response to the “catastrophic power outage on the New Haven Line of Metro-North Railroad that is causing chaos for commuters in southwestern, Connecticut.
After the meeting Governor Malloy held a press conference in Grand Central Terminal’s venerable Vanderbilt Hall.
“I have to tell you, I’m the governor of 125,000 pretty unhappy commuters right now,” Malloy told the media.
According to the Governor, when the MTA and Con Edison explained explained the three to four-week timeframe needed to fix the problem, the Governor’s retort was, “That’s unacceptable…We made them aware that’s unacceptable.”
With photographers clicking away and video cameras rolling, members of the media noted that “the governor appeared his usual coiffed self,” promoting one reporter to ask Malloy how he had gotten to Grand Central.
“’Not by train,’” Malloy said with a smile.”
Governor, just a suggestion… take it for what it’s worth, but next time, think about going with a frown or a grimace and the comment, “As a result of the MTA and Con Edison’s gross failure to do their job correctly, I was forced to take a car.”
Or at the very least, try not to smile.
It sort of detracts from your “message” that you understand the plight of the 125,000 Connecticut voters, I mean commuters, that you are trying to impress.
You can read about the exchange here: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Malloy-threatens-lawsuit-over-rail-service-4847267.php
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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
A Better Connecticut Education Reform Lobbying Group, Achievement First/ConnCAN, Bridgeport, Campaign Finance, Charter Schools, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Mass Insight company, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor A Better Connecticut, Achievement First Inc., Bridgeport, ConnCAN, Education Reform, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor
A case study on how the Corporate Education Reform Industry is trying to buy up American Democracy
A Better Connecticut, the charter school advocacy group formed by the present and previous CEOs of ConnCAN, the charter school lobby group, has spent $50,708 so far in support of the endorsed slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education.
The endorsed slate is the group loyal to Mayor Bill Finch, Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and Malloy’s education reform initiatives.
A Better Connecticut’s “independent” expenditure is part of a broader $2 million plus public relations campaign designed to support Governor Malloy and his education reforms. Earlier this year, A Better Connecticut and ConnCAN hired Malloy’s chief advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso and his campaign consulting firm, Global Strategy Group, to poll Connecticut voters about education reform issues and then conduct a multi-million dollar television advertising campaign to “thank” Governor Malloy for his education reforms.
With seven days to go in the Bridgeport Board of Education Democratic Primary, a portion of the $50,000 in expenditures that have been made by A Better Connecticut went to Occhiogrosso and Malloy’s campaign consulting company for what was euphemistically called an “Education Policy Survey.”
A recent public opinion poll conducted in Bridgeport included questions about Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, members of the Working Family Party who serve as the outspoken minority on the Bridgeport Board of Education and Carmen Lopez, the former Connecticut superior court judge who brought the lawsuit that determined that Paul Vallas lacked the credentials necessary to serve as a superintendent of schools in Connecticut. That suit is presently before the Supreme Court for review.
The campaign finance report submitted by A Better Connecticut only reports an expenditure of $2,280 for the poll, but polls of this nature traditional cost in excess of $25,000 leaving one to question who may have actually paid for the poll and why it isn’t reported as an official expenditure in this report.
It appears that in addition to paying Global Strategy Group, A Better Connecticut’s money was used for mailings and voter contact efforts in support of the three endorsed Democratic candidates in the September 10th Democratic Primary; Simon Castillo, Brandon Clark and Kathryn Roach Bukorsky .
Although state laws shields organizations like A Better Connecticut from having to reveal the amount of money they have raised from individual donors, they are required to identify their top five funders.
In this case, A Better Connecticut is claiming that their five largest funders were Education Reform Now Advocacy of New York City, 50CAN Action Fund, Inc. of New York City, Real Reform Now Network, Inc. of Loudonville, New York, Families for Excellent Schools – Advocacy Inc. of New York City and Students for Education Reform (SFER- Action Network Inc.) of New York City.
A Better Connecticut was created at the beginning of this year by ConnCAN, which was created by the original funders behind Achievement First, Inc.
As readers know, Achievement First, Inc. is the large charter school management company that was co-founded by Stefan Pryor who served on Achievement First’s Board of Directors until he resigned to become Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education.
Education Reform Now – Advocacy is the lobbying and political action arm of Education Reform Now. Education Reform Now claims credit for New Jersey’s draconian anti-teacher tenure law that was designed to undermine the rights of teachers and the teaching profession.
Education Reform Now’s Board of Directors is made up of hedge fund managers Charles Ledley (Highfields Capital Management), John Petry (Sessa Capital), Sidney Hawkins Gargiulo (Covey Capital), Brian Zied (Charter Bridge Capital), John Sabat (SAC Capital). John Petry is not only the former Chairman of Education Reform Now, but was co-founder of the right- wing Democrats for Education Reform and currently serves as a co-chair at the Success Academies network of charter schools.
50CAN Action Fund, Inc. is the lobbying and political action arm of 50CAN. 50CAN was created by Jonathan Sackler who not only founded ConnCAN but has been a leading member of Achievement First, Inc. since Pryor and Dacia Toll founded the company. Sackler chairs the 50CAN Board. Other Board members include Dacia Toll (Co-CEO & President, Achievement First), Marc Porter Magee (former COO of ConnCAN), Rebeca Nieves Huffman (State Director, Democrats for Education Reform Illinois), and Richard Barth (CEO & President, KIPP Foundation). Until recently Matthew Kramer, the President of Teach for America served as 50CAN’s Board Chair.
Students for Education Reform Action Network Inc. is the lobbying and political action arm of Students for Education Reform. SFER was created by 50CAN and its Board of Trustees includes April Chou (Chief Growth Officer, KIPP Bay Area Schools), Christy Chin, (Portfolio Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation), Adam Cioth (Rolling Hills Capital, Justin Cohen, (President, Mass Insight Education School Turnaround Group), Shavar Jeffries, (Newark Public Schools Advisory Board) and Jonathan Sackler (ConnCAN, 50CAN, Achievement First).
Readers will also note that the Board includes Mass Insight, the out-of-state consulting company that Stefan Pryor hired to run Connecticut’s Alliance District and Commissioner’s Network programs at the same time he let go the seven experienced State Department of Education experts including Connecticut four leaders in residence and three retired superintendents.
The other two primary funders of the A Better Connecticut’s Bridgeport campaign are Families for Excellent Schools – Advocacy Inc., the lobbying and political arm of Families for Excellent Schools. Families for Excellent Schools is a charter school-funded organizing group that reports to have an organizer in Connecticut although they don’t appear to be registered. Last but not least is a group called Real Reform Now Network, Inc. of New York which doesn’t appear to be registered anywhere but may be Real Reform Now Corporation which was a New York entity that lost its tax exempt status after failing to file the proper reports with the IRS for 3 consecutive years.
Oh, and lest readers forget. Prosperity for Connecticut, a political action committee associated with Governor Malloy has held fifteen fundraisers in Connecticut, New York and Washington D.C. since Malloy took office. Malloy has attended all or nearly all of these events. The most successful was held at the home of Jonathan Sackler who founded or helped create Achievement First, ConnCAN, 50CAN, and Students for Education Reform. Sackler’s successful fundraiser featured contributions from John Petry and his wife (Education Reform Now, DFER, Success Academy Schools) as well as numerous other corporate education reform industry players.
In addition, in the closing days of Finch’s failed charter revision campaign, Sackler provided the charter revision campaign with a check for $50,000.
As we’ll see in the coming days, A Better Connecticut is NOT THE ONLY vehicle Sackler and his friends are using to try and influence the Bridgeport Democratic Primary.
But don’t worry, as the corporate education reform industry likes to explain…”It’s All About The Children.”
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stamford Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stamford
Maybe it is unquenchable desire to alienate key constituencies within the base of the Democratic Party.
Or maybe it is just his feeling that he always knows best.
But last week, in the contested race for the Mayor’s job in New Haven, Governor Malloy, the titular head of the Connecticut Democratic Party, endorsed the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for Mayor, Toni Harp, over her other Democratic rivals.
Today, Malloy traveled to Stamford, but instead of endorsing the Democratic Party endorsed candidate for Mayor, David Martin, Malloy crossed over to endorse Martin’s challenger, William Tong.
It is an unusual move for an incumbent governor to get involved in intra-party battles; it is even more unusual for the party leadership to back the candidate who has failed to earn the support of the local Democratic leadership.
While both Martin and Tong are well-known in Stamford, the city’s Democrats endorsed David Martin for Mayor. Martin is widely recognized as a smart, dedicated and seasoned member of Stamford’s city government. Instead, Malloy endorsed William Tong, a long-time Malloy confidant.
David Martin’s campaign manager was quick to respond saying, “This election is about who will put the people of Stamford first and who has the experience to take action on day one. That is why David has earned the overwhelming endorsement of the Stamford Democratic Party…”
With fifteen days until the Democratic Primary, it will be to see how Stamford voters respond to Malloy’s endorsement.
One thing is for certain… With each passing day, Malloy seems to be increasingly dead set on giving more and more Democrats reason to leave his side.