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

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

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

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

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

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

The Connecticut State Elections Commission is hardly a partisan body.

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

All were confirmed by the Connecticut General Assembly.

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it goes…..

Apparently laws are for the little people….

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

Well, their proposal is pretty damn close to that…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the CT Mirror reported,

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

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

Common Cause added,

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

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

And Demos, a national advocate for Clean Elections stated;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Connecticut Democratic Party’s email reminded,

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

Add your name and call for an end to Citizens United

NAME: Jonathan Pelto

SIGNATURE: PENDING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what corporate money have the Connecticut Democrats taken?

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

 

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

 

Luke Bronin hauls in Lobbyist cash, generates multiple violations of CT Campaign Finance Law

Having spent in excess of $1 million on his initial run for public office, political newcomer and Greenwich native Luke Bronin is expecting the voters of Hartford to make him their next mayor on Election Day – Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

But as Bronin’s campaign finance reports indicate, in addition to running the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, Bronin “wins the award” for collecting more money from state lobbyists than any other mayoral candidate in Connecticut.

In a truly unprecedented maneuver, as of nearly a month ago, Governor Malloy protégée Luke Bronin had already collected more than $25,000 from a total of about 80 registered state lobbyists.

Bronin’s list of lobbyist fans include John Rowland’s former chief of staff, Rowland’s former campaign manager and a so-called “social justice” lobbyist who has become one of Dannel Malloy’s biggest apologists.  As of the last campaign finance report, almost every major lobbyist had donated to Bronin with a number of them donating more than once.

Bronin’s strategy of collecting campaign donations from those who are paid to influence public policy will come with a price.

Connecticut State Law requires all political candidates to identify any contributor who is a lobbyist, lobbyist spouse or dependent child of a lobbyist on their campaign finance reports.  However, of the nearly 80 donations Bronin has received from lobbyists or their families, only 17 (or about 20 percent) are properly identified.

The utter failure to identify contributions received from lobbyists will undoubtedly generate an investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission and, according to state law, each violation could result in a penalty of up to $2,000 per contribution.

Considering that the names of Connecticut’s leading lobbyists are well known to Bronin and to the political operatives running his campaign, the only rational explanation for failing to identify more than 50 contributions from lobbyists on his campaign finance reports is the possibility that Bronin’s campaign was engaged in an effort to mislead the public into thinking that he wasn’t cashing in with those who are paid to influence policy outcomes.

The list of lobbyists donating to Bronin includes a number who represent companies that actually do business with the City of Hartford and many more that have state contractors as clients.

Following Governor John Rowland’s resignation and trip to jail, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a landmark campaign finance reform bill aimed at getting special interest and lobbyist money out of Connecticut politics.  However, Governor Malloy with the help of Democrats in the legislature has significantly watered down the once prominent law.  Lobbyists can not only give to mayoral candidates, but Malloy’s campaign used a loophole in the law to raise a significant amount of lobbyist and state contractor money into a slush fund that was used to pay for Malloy’s direct mail pieces in 2014.

Now, in 2015, Luke Bronin has been raising a massive amount of money from people and business that have contracts with the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut, as well as lobbyists.

Malloy Campaign’s effort to obstruct justice faces court appearance on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In his effort to win re-election to a second term as Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy certified that he would abide by Connecticut’s public financing program.  In return for raising $250,000 in contributions no greater than $100 per person, the State Elections Enforcement Commission provided Malloy’s campaign with $6.5 million in public funds.  As a requirement for taking those funds, Malloy swore, under oath, that he would not accept any other campaign donations.

However, in the course of the 2014 the campaign, and in conjunction with the Democratic State Central Committee, Malloy and his political operatives funneled more than $5.2 million dollars into a Democratic Party account.  That money was used, in part, to pay for a series of glossy mailings urging people to vote for Malloy.

Not only was the use of the campaign funds illegal, but the funds that were used were tainted by the fact that it included donations from state contractors and others who are prohibited, by law, from participating in a Connecticut gubernatorial campaign.

As Connecticut law requires, the State Elections Enforcement began an investigation into the allegation that Malloy violated the law through the illegal use of campaign funds.

But rather than come clean about their activities, or even fight the accusations on the merits, Malloy and the Democrats did what would have once been unthinkable in state that proudly had one of the nation’s premier public finance systems… they spent the past year stonewalling the investigation and obstructing justice.

Team Malloy even refused to abide by an official subpoena issued by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission.

See: Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee – In plain English it’s called obstructing Justice (Wait, What? 8/3/2015)

In a couple of months, Dannel Malloy will take over as the chairman of the national Democratic Governors Association.  The move will put him into the national spotlight.

Yet considering the legal precipice Malloy is sitting on, that light will be murky, at best.

In an article entitled, Court Fight Heats Up Over Subpoena Of Democrats’ Emails About Malloy’s Campaign, Jon Lender recently provided an update on the situation.

The state Democratic party’s latest move in its fight against an investigation by state regulators generated a flare-up this week with the office of the attorney general, as the case has suddenly gained momentum toward a courtroom confrontation on Oct. 27.

Democratic State Central Committee’s lawyer  David Golub, filed a revised complaint saying that the SEEC “is prohibited from investigating or imposing sanctions on a state political party” in situations like this one — where Democrats say federal campaign-finance laws “pre-empt,” or supersede, Connecticut’s clean-election laws.

“The SEEC is the state agency empowered to hear and investigate complaints of violations of state election laws,” said Jepsen’s spokeswoman, Jacqueline Falkowski. “The General Assembly has vested the SEEC with broad investigatory powers, and the SEEC unquestionably can investigate a complaint of state election law violations.”

Superior Court Judge Anthony Robaina has set a court hearing for Oct. 27 in Hartford Superior Court in SEEC’s suit against the Democratic Party. The suit seeks to force the party’s state central committee to comply with a May 29 subpoena that the SEEC issued in its investigation of whether Democrats spent money illegally last year to support Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election with mass campaign mailings.

Wait, What? and the Hartford Courant have written multiple stories about the Malloy campaign’s tactics.

Just last week, Ken Dixon at the Connecticut Post added another detailed report about the issue.

In Political campaigns rake in cash despite ban, Dixon wrote;

Connecticut’s clean elections law prohibits those who do business with the state from contributing to the campaigns of politicians who could award or influence state contracts — including the governor and legislators.

But that hasn’t stopped the relentless flow of state contractor cash. It has merely diverted it.

[…]

Nearly 25 percent of the money collected in the Democrats’ federal account since January, 2013 has come from more than 460 builders, lobbyists, lawyers and others who are prohibited from contributing to statewide and/or General Assembly races, the investigation has shown.

Of the $4.8 million the Democrats’ federal PAC raised in those 32 months, $1.1 million of it came from businesses and individuals who are on a state list of 5,500 outlawed contributors, according to Federal Election Commission records.

And yet, just days before the election last year, the Democrats raided the fund for more than $318,000 to pay for mass mailings supporting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. This spending is the focus of a Republican complaint to the State Elections Enforcement Committee and a lawsuit filed by Democrats to stop the investigation. The case, in state Superior Court, is headed for trial October 27.

National election watchdogs say the use of the federal account is simply a backdoor system of pay-to-play.

“This is an old game,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at Washington-based Campaign Legal Center. “Strip away the legalese and this money comes from a party that intends to curry favor with public officials. Politicians are just as complicit. Contractors feel like they’re in a shakedown.”

[…]

Connecticut’s campaign-finance reforms were created after John G. Rowland, the disgraced former governor, was sent to prison for taking kickbacks from companies that won lucrative tax breaks and contracts.

Michael J. Brandi, executive director of the SEEC, noted it was 10 years ago this month that the bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2005 was signed into law.

“So far it’s been enormously successful and we’re committed to seeing it succeed for a long time into the future,” Brandi said in a statement. “But it’s also had a lot of challenges along the way, and this current lawsuit is another direct challenge to its survival.”

Under the rules of the Citizens Election Program, candidates for governor who want public funding must agree to limit their campaign spending to a set state grant after raising $250,000 in small contributions. Candidates who accept public financing and then take outside money face penalties ranging from fines and forfeiture of their grants to criminal prosecution.

Traditionally, state parties’ federal accounts were not used for state races at all, but only congressional and national campaigns. Democrats last year, however, facing a tough challenge from GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, decided to take the chance and transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars for Malloy’s end-game push.

Generous contributors

The Hearst investigation has found that among the big check signers are officials from HAKS Engineers, a major design firm that is banned from contributing to both statewide and General Assembly races. Executives at the New York and Connecticut-based company contributed at least $75,000 to the Democrats’ federal account, including $32,500 from Husam Ahmad, president and CEO, and his wife. HAKS had more than $8 million in state contracts in 2013 and 2014, according to state records.

The owners, employees and families at Viking Construction in Stamford, which has done major state-financed work throughout Southwestern Connecticut, and is also prohibited from donating to statewide and General Assembly campaigns, contributed $77,500 to the federal account. The firm is currently part of a consortium awaiting the go-ahead on a half-billion-dollar contract to rebuild the Stamford train station, led by the JHM Financial Group, whose president, John H. McClutchy Jr. of Darien, and his family, contributed $65,000 since 2013.

Officials from HAKS, Viking Construction and the JHM Group did not return multiple requests for comment. James A. Manafort Jr. president of Manafort Brothers Inc. of Plainville, declined comment on $14,000 in family contributions to the DSCC. The company had 91 state contracts, mostly with the Department of Transportation, in 2013-14, totaling $29.1 million.

The contractors’ contributions are legal. Individuals are allowed to give up to $10,000 a year to the federal account.

But, if any of the $318,000 transferred from the federal account was used to supplement Malloy’s $6.5-million public-financing grant, as Republicans allege and as the SEEC wants to investigate, the state Democrats could have violated the law.

Democrats say the mailing in question was a legal Get out the Vote (GOTV) flyer that happened to feature Malloy and required funding from the federal account. To stonewall the SEEC’s investigation, which would reveal tactics and strategy in their high-stakes campaign fundraising operation, the Democrats filed the lawsuit.

You can read the Connecticut Post’s entire story at Political campaigns rake in cash despite ban

State Contractors can’t make political donations – oh – except to benefit Malloy

The driving force behind Connecticut’s successful effort to reform its campaign finance system ten years ago was the revelation that disgraced Governor John Rowland had used his position to solicit gifts and campaign donations from state contractors and others who directly benefited from the expenditure of taxpayer funds.

Following its passage in 2005, Connecticut’s new campaign finance law was heralded as one of the strongest in the nation.

Putting aside the way the new law unfairly treated third party candidates, Connecticut’s lawmakers passed, and Governor Jodi Rell signed, a sweeping piece of legislation that systematically outlawed state contractors from making campaign donations to benefit a political candidate.

Whereas John Rowland’s campaign finance reports were filled with the names of major state contractors such as the Tomasso Brothers Corporation, the Gilbane Company and the Manafort Brothers, as a direct result of Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance reform legislation, every governor and gubernatorial candidate after Rowland would be prohibited from accessing state contractor money.

However, as the final round of campaign finance reports are submitted for Connecticut’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, it is becoming increasingly clear that when it came the prohibition on state contractor donations, Governor Dannel Malloy and his political operation fundamentally violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance law and, quite possibly, the letter of the law as well.

As has been widely reported, in addition to collecting the $6.5 million taxpayer funded check from the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Malloy campaign funneled at least $5.1 million into the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account,” where a significant portion of those funds were used for the exclusive benefit of Malloy’s campaign for re-election.

A review of the list of those who donated that $5.1 million includes dozens of state contractors including the some of the very companies associated with John Rowland’s downfall, including the Tomasso Brothers Corporation, the Gilbane Company, the Manafort Brothers and others whose campaign donations tarnished Connecticut’s reputation and sent a sitting governor to prison.

The role state contractor donations played in the Malloy campaign has received a fair amount of media coverage, such as Jon Lender’s investigative series in the Hartford Courant’s reporting on how top executives at Northeast Utilities donated more than $50,000 to benefit Malloy’s campaign.  The head of NU instructed subordinates that they could support Malloy by making their checks out to the Connecticut Democrat’s “Federal Account.”  (See details about the NU story via NU Chief Asks Subordinates To Support Malloy By Giving To Democratic Party and Election Agency Probes Legality Of NU Chief’s Solicitation For Malloy.)  The latest campaign reports indicate that NU officials helped Malloy by donating at least $56,750 to that Democratic account, as instructed.

But the full extent of the Malloy campaign unethical use of state contractor donations goes well beyond the Northeast Utilities example.

HAKS Engineering of New York collected more than $18 million from the State of Connecticut since Dannel Malloy took office.  Some of their work was part of a new contract to inspect overhead power lines on the New Haven Line of Metro North.  A May 2014 article in the CT Mirror reported that executives of HAKS Engineering had donated $45,000 to the account the Malloy campaign was using to sidestep Connecticut’s law prohibiting state contractors from giving funds to benefit Connecticut candidates.

In fact, by the end of the 2014 campaign cycle, HAKS executives and their families, along with their related companies, had actually donated about $80,000 the Democrat’s “Federal Account,” including $32,000 from Hasam Ahmad and his wife, $10,000 from Shahida Akhtar, $10,000 from Elliot Gene Sander, and donations in the range of $5,000 or more from other HAKS employees including Franco Balassone, Mahmood Mohammed, Louis Torelli and Mubbashir Rahman.

Another example of the Malloy campaign collecting campaign donations from those who have directly benefited from the Malloy administrations actions is Winstanley Enterprises, the lead developer of New Haven’s Downtown Crossing.  The publicly funded project is now home to Alexion Pharmaceuticals, the company that received a $51 million corporate welfare package from the Malloy administration to move to that property.  Adam and Carter Winstanley each donated to $20,000 to the Democrat’s Malloy oriented “Federal Account,” while David Winstanley pitched in $10,000 for a total of at least $50,000 from the Winstanley family.

Another key source of campaign funds for the Malloy operation was the law firm of Pullman & Comley whose attorney provided more than $45,000 during the recent campaign.  The Bridgeport based law firm has snagged a series of extremely lucrative contract with various state agencies including the Attorney General’s Office, the State Treasurer’s Office, the University of Connecticut, the State Airport Authority and the Department of Transportation.  Since Malloy became governor, the firm has collected in excess of $2.7 million and that doesn’t even count the money billed in this fiscal year.

Yet another example is the one the CT Mirror noted in their May 2014 article where they wrote, “The Simon Konover Company, which the state pays $4.7 million annually to rent 55 Elm St. in Hartford, is up to $51,000 in donations, with $30,000 from three executives last month on top of $21,000 last year. Its tenants include the attorney general, treasurer and controller.” As the Malloy’s re-election campaign came to a close, the total raised from those directly associated with the Simon Konover Company reached $71,000.

And what about those big construction companies that were so generous to John Rowland.  The Malloy operation also managed to collect donations from officials the Tomasso Brothers Corporation, the Gilbane Company and the Manafort Brothers Company.   The Manafort Brothers Company led the pack with $22,000 in donations.

Check back tomorrow for even more examples of the role state contractors inappropriately played in Malloy’s re-election effort.

Illegal Political Action Committee donations will haunt Malloy’s campaign

A Wait, What? blog earlier this week entitled, “Lobbyists ponied up more than $95,000 for Malloy campaign operation,” explained how Governor Malloy, his campaign committee and the Democratic Party appears to have violated what remains of Connecticut’s once prominent campaign finance law by accepting more than $95,000 in contributions from registered lobbyists.

As noted, Connecticut state law prohibits registered lobbyists from contributing more than $100 to any candidate participating in the state’s Citizens’ Election Program.

As a candidate for governor, Dan Malloy participated in Connecticut’s public campaign finance program.

Not only did Malloy accept the $6.5 million grant in public funds that comes with Connecticut’s “Clean Election program,” but he signed an oath promising to abide by all of the aspects of the Citizens’ Election Program, which includes the provision prohibiting candidates from taking larger contributions from lobbyists and from accepting any contributions from Political Action Committees and those who have state contracts.

However, as has been reported here and elsewhere, in an effort to augment their campaign war chest, not only did Malloy take the $6.5 million in public funds to pay for his campaign, but his political operation funneled another $5.1 million in donations through the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”

Considering a significant amount of those funds were spent on activities designed to directly promote Malloy’s re-election campaign, it appears that Malloy and the Democrats violated both Connecticut and Federal law.

In response to the allegations of wrongdoing, Malloy’s campaign has consistently claimed that while their effort to launder money through the Democratic Party may have violated the spirit of the law, their actions were “technically” legal.

But one area where their legal theory collapses relates to the extremely serious legal violation associated with running over $559,000 in political action committee contributions through the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”

Connecticut State law is extremely clear about what political action committees must do before they can donate money to benefit a candidate running for a state office in Connecticut.

Section 9-605 of the Connecticut State Statutes requires political action committees to register with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission before donating funds that will benefit a candidate running for office in Connecticut.

The law reads,

 “The chairperson of each political committee shall designate a campaign treasurer and may designate a deputy campaign treasurer. The campaign treasurer and any deputy campaign treasurer so designated shall sign a statement accepting the designation. The chairperson of each political committee shall file a registration statement described in subsection (b) of this section along with the statement signed by the designated campaign treasurer and deputy campaign treasurer with the proper authority, within ten days after its organization…

Subsection (B) of the statute adds, “The registration statement shall include: (1) The name and address of the committee; (2) a statement of the purpose of the committee; (3) the name and address of its campaign treasurer, and deputy campaign treasurer if applicable; (4) the name, address and position of its chairman, and other principal officers if applicable; (5) the name and address of the depository institution for its funds; … (10) if the committee is established by a business entity or organization, the name of the entity or organization; (11) if the committee is established by an organization, whether it will receive its funds from the organization’s treasury or from voluntary contributions; (12) if the committee files reports with the Federal Elections Commission or any out-of-state agency, a statement to that effect including the name of the agency; (13) a statement indicating whether the committee is established for a single primary, election or referendum or for ongoing political activities; (14) if the committee is established or controlled by a lobbyist, a statement to that effect and the name of the lobbyist; (15) the name and address of the person making the initial contribution or disbursement, if any, to the committee; and (16) any information that the State Elections Enforcement Commission requires to facilitate compliance with the provisions of this chapter or chapter 157. If no such initial contribution or disbursement has been made at the time of the filing of such statement, the campaign treasurer of the committee shall, not later than forty-eight hours after receipt of such contribution or disbursement, file a report with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. The report shall be in the same form as statements filed under section 9-608.”

The net impact of this law is that in order to make political donations in Connecticut, a Political Action Committee MUST register with Connecticut’s Election Enforcement Commission.

Yet despite this law, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, a total of $400,475 of the $559,063 deposited into the Connecticut Democratic Party’s account came from Political Action Committees that WERE NOT registered with the Connecticut State Elections Commission.

Only $60,853 (10.8 percent) of the PAC money funneled through the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account” came from Political Action Committees appropriately registered with the state.  It is unclear how the law applies to an additional $97,735 that was deposited into that account.

What is certain is that over 70 percent, and potentially as much as 90 percent, of the PAC money the Malloy campaign raised and put into the Party checking account came from political action committees that could not legally donate to a candidate running for governor and yet that is exactly how those funds were used for.

While Malloy and his operatives can try to claim that their campaign activities didn’t actually violate Connecticut law, by raising and depositing contributions into the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account” from Political Action Committees that were not registered in Connecticut and then using all or some of those funds to support the governor’s re-election campaign raises extraordinarily serious legal questions.

Not only can intentionally violating the state’ campaign finance laws led to criminal charges, but by raising and spending illegal PAC money, the Malloy campaign openly violated the core requirement of Connecticut’s Public Financing Program and if found guilty should be required to reimburse the public for the $6.5 million campaign finance grant he took to pay for the rest of his campaign.

It is now up to the State Elections Enforcement Commission to pursue this vital issue.

Non-Connecticut Registered Political Action Committee State Amount
HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP INC ADVOCATES FU CT $15,000
COZEN O’CONNOR PAC PA $11,000
UAW V CAP MI $10,000
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. PAC MN $10,000
THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES PAC CT $10,000
SHEET METAL WORKERS’ INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION POL DC $10,000
ROBINSON & COLE FEDERAL PAC CT $10,000
PFIZER INC. PAC NY $10,000
NEA FUND FOR CHILDREN AND PUBLIC ED DC $10,000
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTE DC $10,000
COMCAST CORPORATION PAC – FEDERAL PA $10,000
CIGNA CORPORATION PAC DC $10,000
BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM PAC CT $10,000
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS – COPE DC $10,000
COVANTA ENERGY PAC NJ $8,500
SPECTRA ENERGY CORP PAC TX $7,500
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF IRONWORKERS PAC DC $7,500
WELLPOINT, INC. WELLPAC IN $7,000
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES PAC DC $7,000
DRIVE COMMITTEE DC $7,000
XEROX CORPORATION PAC DC $5,000
WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT AR $5,000
UFCW INTERNATIONAL UNION PAC DC $5,000
THE WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS EMPLOYEES PAC DC $5,000
SYNERGY PAC VA $5,000
SEIU COPE PAC PCC DC $5,000
PURDUE PHARMA PAC CT $5,000
PRAXAIR, INC. PAC CT $5,000
NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION PAC DC $5,000
MAXIMUS INC. PAC VA $5,000
MACHINISTS NON-PARTISAN POLITICAL LEAGUE MD $5,000
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HEAT & FROST INSULATORS AND ASBESTOS WORKERS P A C MD $5,000
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS PAC DC $5,000
IBEW PAC VOLUNTARY FUND DC $5,000
IBEW PAC VOLUNTARY FUND DC $5,000
HUMANE SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE FUND PAC DC $5,000
HNTB HOLDINGS LTD. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE MO $5,000
GHC ANCILLARY CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE PA $5,000
GENERAL DYNAMICS PAC VA $5,000
FOXPAC DC $5,000
ENGINEERS PAC DC $5,000
DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM PAC DC $5,000
COMPUTER SCIENCES CORPORATION PAC VA $5,000
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION PAC (FKA MBNA CORPORATION FEDERAL DE $5,000
AT&T INC. FEDERAL PAC TX $5,000
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES DC $5,000
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE PAC DC $5,000
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION-COPE DC $5,000
ALVAREZ & MARSAL HOLDINGS LLC PAC DC $5,000
AFL-CIO COPE PAC DC $5,000
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF BOILERMAKERS CAMPAIGN PAC KS $4,000
THE PHOENIX COMPANIES PAC CT $3,500
PITNEY BOWES, INC. PAC CT $3,500
DOMINIONPAC VA $3,500
WEBSTER BANK PAC-FEDERAL CT $3,000
NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS DC $3,000
PULLMAN & COMLEY PAC CT $2,850
WALGREEN CO PAC IL $2,500
UNITED ASSOCIATION PAC MD $2,500
OLDCASTLE MATERIALS INC. PAC DC $2,500
NORTHEAST UTILITIES PAC-FEDEDERAL DC $2,500
NATIONAL CONFECTIONERS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES, INC. PAC DC $2,500
MINERALS TECHNOLOGIES INC. PAC NY $2,500
FUELCELL ENERGY PAC CT $2,500
CERNER CORPORATION PAC MO $2,500
ALEXION PAC CT $2,500
ALCOA INC. PAC – FEDERAL NY $2,500
AETNA INC. PAC DC $2,500
THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC. PAC MA $2,000
THE NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA INC. POLITICAL ACT CT $2,000
SAFELITE GROUP INC. PAC OH $2,000
O’NEILL & ASSOC. PAC MA $2,000
INTL UNION OF BRICKLAYERS & ALLIED CRAFTWORKERS PAC DC $2,000
AMERICAN MEDICAL RESPONSE, INC. PAC CO $2,000
XL AMERICA. INC. – PAC CONTRIBUTION ACCOUNT CT $1,500
COHNREZNICK LLP PAC MD $1,500
PUBLIC SERVICE ENTERPRISE PAC NJ $1,000
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHAIN DRUG STORES  PAC VA $1,000
MARYLAND ASSOCIATION FOR CONCERNED CITIZENS PAC MD $1,000
LOCKHEED MARTIN PAC VA $1,000
HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN OF GREATER NEW YORK FEDERAL NY $1,000
GREENBERG TRAURIG, P.A. PAC NY $1,000
ENTERPRISE HOLDINGS INC. PAC MO $1,000
CBS CORPORATION PAC DC $1,000
AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION PAC VA $1,000
REPAC- REINSURANCE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA PAC DC $500
UNITY9 PAC DC $250

 

*Note:  A number of major Connecticut companies have failed to register Connecticut PACS and only have Federal PACS.

In addition, some organizations that have Connecticut PACs still made the contribution using their Federal account and some organizations that have both Connecticut and Federal PACS made contributions from both organizations, such as the AFL-CIO.

Lobbyists ponied up more than $95,000 for Malloy campaign operation

Connecticut state law prohibits registered lobbyists from contributing more than $100 to any candidate participating in the state’s Citizens’ Election Program.  A gubernatorial candidate who violates that law would be prohibited from getting the $6.5 million grant in public funds that comes with Connecticut’s “Clean Election program.”

However, tomorrow – January 7, 2015 – when Governor Dannel Malloy is sworn into office for a second term, there will be nearly sixty registered lobbyists in the Capitol beaming with pride that they were able to funnel more than $95,000 to help fund Malloy’s re-election effort.

The fact is that some of these lobbyists donated well over $5,000, even $10,000, to help cover some of the governor’s recent campaign expenses.

How did Malloy and the lobbyists do it?

In the closing weeks of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, the Malloy campaign sent out a series of direct mail pieces that were aimed at winning back the support of Democratic households.

Like any candidate mailing, the pieces featured pictures and quotes from the candidate, including lines like, “DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR DAN MALLOY HAS PUT US ON A PATH OF PROGRESS,” and “On November 4th, Vote for Progress, Dan Malloy for Governor.”

But the pieces weren’t paid for by Dan Malloy’s campaign committee, even though they featured Malloy and included his campaign website, Facebook and Twitter Account.

The money for the mailings came out of the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”

Last summer, Malloy and his campaign committee collected and cashed the $6.5 million check they received from the State Elections Enforcement Commission for agreeing to participate and abide by Connecticut’s public financing system.  The campaign committee used those funds to pay for television ads and a variety of other campaign expenses.

During the last two years, however, Malloy’s fundraising operation also collected just over $5.1 million for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”

Under Federal law, the Democratic Party is allowed two accounts.

A “State Account” that is used to pay for state and local level campaign activities and the other, called the “Federal Account,” which is supposed to be used to support candidates who are running for federal offices and for other “party building activities.”

Of the $5.1 million raised into the “Federal Account” during 2013-2014, a significant portion came from Connecticut lobbyists, state contractors, political action committees and large donors who had directly benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare program.

By depositing the funds into the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account,” the Malloy campaign claimed that it could legally circumvent the state law that clearly prohibits large contributions from lobbyists and those who do business with the state.

Whether the maneuver was illegal has yet to be determined.

The repercussions from the Malloy campaign’s antics will be play out as the State Elections Enforcement Commission and the Federal Elections Commission investigate the issues and potentially take action against the abuses.

But one thing is certain.

When Malloy was facing possible defeat and public opinion polls indicated that a majority of Connecticut residents didn’t like the governor or approve of the way he was doing his job, a group of generous lobbyists and state contractors came through with the money Malloy needed to fund various political operations including a series of campaign mailings aimed at persuading Democrats to cast their vote for Malloy.

The sad reality is that the political landscape has changed significantly since Connecticut adopted its landmark 2005 campaign finance reform legislation.

The original concept, which passed following the first conviction of Governor John Rowland in 2005, was that in return for a multi-million dollar grant in public funds, gubernatorial candidates would agree to forgo private funds raised from state contractors, lobbyists, political action committees, the wealthy and other special interests.

When the legislation passed, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan wrote,

 “Almost 230 years ago, the founding fathers took a huge risk when they signed the Declaration of Independence and set the wheels in motion for the world’s greatest democracy. Today, this historic campaign finance reform legislation reaffirms that this is a government for the people, not special interests. This campaign finance reform bill is our declaration of independence. We can look our constituents in the eye and say we created the strongest campaign laws in the United States.”

At the same time, State Senator Don Williams changed his official biography to read,

“Since his election as Senate President, Senator Williams has been a leading advocate for cleaning up government. He authored legislation to reform the State Ethics Commission and supported sweeping changes to the campaign finance system and the state contracting process. With the creation of a publicly funded campaign finance system in 2005, Connecticut now has the strongest reform laws in the nation.”

Even Governor Malloy claimed allegiance to Connecticut’s campaign finance law, telling Connecticut Magazine in 2011, “Quite frankly, anyone who is not willing to participate [in Connecticut’s campaign finance program] is really just attacking the system.”

When writing about Malloy’s first year in office, The American Prospect magazine observed,

“[T]he secret behind the Democrats’ success was sweeping campaign-finance reform enacted six years earlier. Reeling from the embarrassment of a corruption scandal that landed a governor in federal prison, Connecticut legislators grabbed the national spotlight in 2005 by stopping the flow of millions of special-interest dollars, banning lobbyist contributions, and instituting a public-financing system that record-setting numbers of candidates have embraced.”

But all that was before Malloy and the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly torpedoed many of the most important elements of the law over the past three years.

So, while Malloy swore off special interest money in his 2010 campaign, he embraced the tainted funds in 2014.

The final campaign finance reports have yet to be filed, but according to the reports that are available, at least 58 Connecticut lobbyists or their spouses donated a total of more than $95,000 to the Connecticut Democrats “Federal Account” during the 2014 campaign cycle.

At least four lobbyists donated in excess of $5,000 including Craig LeRoy and Tom Ritter, and about a dozen more helped Malloy’s campaign by donating at least $2,000 to the Democrats’ “Federal Account”.

Even lobbyist David O’Leary, who served as disgraced Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, kicked in $250 to the effort.

As disturbing as the lobbyist money is, just wait till you see what political action committees, state contractors and those who have benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare program kicked into Malloy’s campaign operation.

Another Big Week for Corporate Welfare in Connecticut

With Election Day almost upon us, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy used the past week to continue his massive “Corporate Welfare” Program.

On Wednesday, Malloy delivered a $10 million dollar Corporate Welfare Check, on behalf of Connecticut’s taxpayers, to General Dynamic’s Electric Boat division to help the company renovate a building in Groton that had been vacated by Pfizer.

While most Connecticut taxpayers are still struggling under the weight of the Great Recession, General Dynamics is on track to pull in another $32 billion in revenue this year.  Thanks to the nation’s never-ending war effort, the defense giant has generated revenues in excess of $294 billion over the past ten years.  The company is doing well enough that they even paid their new CEO $18.8 million last year.  (For those that are keeping track, that would be nearly double what Connecticut taxpayers handed the company this week.)

On Thursday, the company receiving Malloy’s taxpayer funded largess was Fuel Cell Energy Inc. Fuel Cell Energy only collected $188 million in revenues last year, but that was up from just $70 million in 2010.  Malloy is giving the company $20 million in taxpayer funds so that they can expand their Torrington facility rather than have to rely on private investors.

And on Friday, Malloy was in Danbury, this time with a Corporate Welfare Check for $32.5 million to help Praxair fund their new corporate headquarters.

Praxair’s revenue last year was about $12 billion, enough to pay their CEO a salary and compensation package of 26.5 million, “earning” him the #33 spot on Forbes list of highest paid executives.    Praxair’s CEO has been paid more than $70.1 million over the past five years.

Of note is the fact that while Malloy was giving away taxpayer funds, Connecticut’s Office of Fiscal Analysis announced that the Malloy administration is overspending this year’s state budget allocation by at least $88 million.  It is grim news and reflects the reality that Connecticut will be facing a major budget deficit next year.

But the fiscal problems facing that state didn’t deter Governor Malloy from giving away $62.5 million more in corporate welfare, and that doesn’t even count the tens of millions of dollars in other checks he handed out this week to private corporations.

In return for all this money, Malloy says that Electric Boat and Praxair have promised to create a total of 330 jobs over the next five years, while Fuel Cell Energy has agreed to create 160 new positions and keep those jobs in place for at least 4 years.

Meanwhile, on the campaign finance front, it is undoubtedly a coincidence that all three of these financially successful companies have generously donated to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “federal account.”

The campaign contributions from General Dynamics, Praxair and Fuel Cell Energy are just a tiny fraction of the $4.3 million that Malloy and his political operation have raised from state contractors, people who have benefited directly from Malloy’s corporate welfare program, federal Political Action Committees and other wealthy individuals.

While many believe that state law clearly prohibits these funds from being spent to benefit a state-level campaign, Malloy and his campaign have been using the Democratic Party’s “federal account” to pay for his campaign mailings and other campaign expenses, allowing him to augment the $6.5 million Malloy received in public funds from the Connecticut Public Financing Program.

It all leaves one wondering what the “True Capitalists” would think of this world in which public funds are used to subsidize private activities that help ensure corporate officers and investors can get a better return on their private investments?

Of course, as Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors has observed,

“Waste is the highest virtue one can achieve in advanced capitalist society.”

Malloy and Democrats are violating Connecticut law with use of Federal PAC funds

With Election Day eleven days away, one thing is certain.  One of the biggest losers this year is the integrity of Connecticut’s once promising campaign finance reform law.

In addition to collecting $6.5 million in public funds for his campaign, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his political operation have raised over $4.3 million into the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.”  This $10.8 million doesn’t even count an additional $4.4 million that is being funneled into Connecticut in support of Malloy via a Super PAC ironically named “Connecticut Forward.”

Opposing Malloy’s $15.2 million is Foley’s campaign with $12.2 million, $6.5 million in public funds and another $5.7 million through the Grow Connecticut Super PAC.

As has been widely reported in the media, the ethical and legal controversy underling the 2014 gubernatorial campaign is the fact that the Democrat Party’s “Federal Account” received hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who have state contracts or have directly benefited from Governor Malloy’s corporate welfare program.

The use of campaign donations from state contractors to support Malloy’s re-election effort destroys the fundamental purpose of Connecticut’s landmark 2005 campaign finance reform law, a law that passed and signed into law to prevent any future governor from doing what helped send disgraced Governor John Rowland to prison.

However, less than ten years after Rowland went to prison and Connecticut adopted its sweeping campaign reform law, Malloy is using state contractor funds to pay for a series of campaign mailings to promote his re-election effort.

Even worse, the on-going violation of the spirit, and probably the letter, of Connecticut law goes well beyond the use of campaign donations from state contractors.

Malloy and his operatives have collected and deposited more than $425,000 from political action committees into that same Democratic Party “federal account.”

And the vast majority of those donations came from Federal Political Action committees THAT ARE PROHIBITED from using their funds to benefit a state-level candidate in Connecticut.

Connecticut law clearly requires that a political action committee (PAC) must register with the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission before it can give money to benefit state candidates.

According to Connecticut law and the State Elections Enforcement Commission,

“A political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission under federal law or with another state other than Connecticut may not make contributions or expenditures to or for the benefit of a Connecticut state or municipal candidate or a Connecticut political committee or party committee. A separate committee must first be registered in Connecticut (by filing a SEEC Form 3, designating a treasurer and a depository institution situated in Connecticut) and then must solicit funds specifically for use in Connecticut campaigns in accordance with Connecticut’s campaign finance laws”

However, the Malloy campaign has been directly benefiting from money donated by political action committees that are registered with the Federal Election Commission BUT HAVE NOT registered with the State of Connecticut.

The following chart lists political action committee donations that have been deposited into the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account” and identifies contributions that have come from PACS that are prohibited from helping the Malloy campaign because they are not registered in Connecticut.

While it is appalling that Malloy and his campaign would use money donated by state contractors and people who have directly benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare program, it is equally disturbing that Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee would utilize PAC funds that violate one of the most fundamental aspects of Connecticut’s campaign finance law.

NOT Registered in CT Political Action Committee Name City State Amount
X AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION (COPE) WASHINGTON DC $15,000
X COZEN O’CONNOR POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE PHILADELPHIA PA $10,000
X HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP INC ADVOCATES FU HARTFORD CT $10,000
X IBEW PAC VOLUNTARY FUND WASHINGTON DC $10,000
X JOBS AND INNOVATION MATTER PAC (JIM PAC) WASHINGTON DC $10,000
X PFIZER INC. PAC NEW YORK NY $10,000
X THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES PAC HARTFORD CT $10,000
X UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. PAC HOPKINS MN $10,000
X SHEET METAL WORKERS’ INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION PAC WASHINGTON DC $9,500
X ROBINSON & COLE FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE HARTFORD CT $8,000
X UAW V CAP DETROIT MI $7,875
X BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE RIDGEFIELD CT $7,500
X COMCAST CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE- FEDERAL PHILADELPHIA PA $7,500
X COVANTA ENERGY CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMMITTEE MORRISTOWN NJ $7,500
UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS/JOINERS OF AMER NEW ENGLAND REG CARPENTERS LEGIS EMP CMTE NORWALK CT $7,500
X INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF IRONWORKERS WASHINGTON DC $7,000
X NEA FUND FOR CHILDREN AND PUBLIC ED WASHINGTON DC $6,850
X GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTE WASHINGTON DC $6,000
X ALVAREZ & MARSAL HOLDINGS LLC PAC WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION-COPE WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X AT&T INC. FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AT&T DALLAS TX $5,000
X BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION PAC (FKA MBNA CORPORATION FEDERAL PAC WILMINGTON DE $5,000
X CIGNA CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X COMPUTER SCIENCES CORPORATION PAC FALLS CHURCH VA $5,000
X DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X FOXPAC WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS PAC WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HEAT & FROST INSULATORS AND ASBESTOS WORKERS P A C LANHAM MD $5,000
X INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS & ALLIED TRADES POLITICAL ACTION TOGETHER POLITICAL COMM LEESBURG VA $5,000
X MACHINISTS NON-PARTISAN POLITICAL LEAGUE UPPER MARLBORO MD $5,000
X NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE WASHINGTON DC $5,000
NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS LEGIS EMP CMTE BOSTON MA $5,000
** NUTMEG PAC STAMFORD CT $5,000
OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 478 POLITICAL ACTION COM HAMDEN CT $5,000
X PRAXAIR, INC. PAC DANBURY CT $5,000
X PURDUE PHARMA PAC STAMFORD CT $5,000
X SEIU COPE PAC PCC WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X SYNERGY PAC MCLEAN VA $5,000
X THE WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS EMPLOYEES PAC WASHINGTON DC $5,000
X WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT BENTONVILLE AR $5,000
X WELLPOINT, INC. WELLPAC INDIANAPOLIS IN $5,000
DOMINION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE RICHMOND VA $3,500
X PITNEY BOWES, INC. PAC STAMFORD CT $3,500
X THE PHOENIX COMPANIES PAC HARTFORD CT $3,500
X GHC ANCILLARY CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE KENNETT SQUARE PA $3,000
WEBSTER BANK PAC-FEDERAL WATERBURY CT $3,000
X PULLMAN & COMLEY FEDERAL PAC BRIDGEPORT CT $2,850
SENATE DEMOCRATS VICTORY PAC WEST HARTFORD CT $2,655
X AETNA INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE WASHINGTON DC $2,500
ASSOCIATION OF COMMUTER RAIL EMPLOYEES PAC NEW YORK NY $2,500
X CERNER CORPORATION PAC KANSAS CITY MO $2,500
CT STATE COUNCIL OF MACHINISTS PAC KENSINGTON CT $2,500
X FUELCELL ENERGY PAC DANBURY CT $2,500
X GENERAL DYNAMICS VOLUNTARY POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION FALLS CHURCH VA $2,500
X MINERALS TECHNOLOGIES INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (MTI PAC) NEW YORK NY $2,500
X MURPHPAC WASHINGTON DC $2,500
X NATIONAL CONFECTIONERS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES, INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE WASHINGTON DC $2,500
X NORTHEAST UTILITIES EMPLOYEES POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE-FED WASHINGTON DC $2,500
X OLDCASTLE MATERIALS INC. PAC WASHINGTON DC $2,500
X SPECTRA ENERGY CORP POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (SPECTRA-DCP PAC) HOUSTON TX $2,500
X UNITED ASSOCIATION POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE ANNAPOLIS MD $2,500
X WALGREEN CO PAC DEERFIELD IL $2,500
X XEROX CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (XPAC WASHINGTON DC $2,500
CONNECTICUT BANKERS ASSOCIATION PAC, BANKPAC FARMINGTON CT $2,000
X DRIVE COMMITTEE WASHINGTON DC $2,000
X INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF BOILERMAKERS CAMPAIGN KANSAS CITY KS $2,000
X INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES WASHINGTON DC $2,000
X INTL UNION OF BRICKLAYERS & ALLIED CRAFTWORKERS PAC WASHINGTON DC $2,000
LD PAC FARMINGTON CT $2,000
X O’NEILL & ASSOC. PAC BOSTON MA $2,000
X THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC. PAC WALTHAM MA $2,000
CEUI PAC MIDDLETOWN CT $1,850
DREW PAC MIDDLETOWN CT $1,685
CT STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION PAC HARTFORD CT $1,615
DEMOCRATS FOR NEW LEADERSHIP WETHERSFIELD CT $1,500
X XL AMERICA. INC. – PAC CONTRIBUTION ACCOUNT HARTFORD CT $1,500
PROPEL PAC ( PRO PROGRESSIVE ENERGETIC LEADERSHIP ) PAC NEW BRITAIN CT $1,430
X CBS CORPORATION PAC WASHINGTON DC $1,000
CONNECTICUT STATE UAW-PAC COUNCIL FARMINGTON CT $1,000
X DAVID WEPRIN FOR CONGRESS HOLLIS NY $1,000
X GREENBERG TRAURIG, P.A. PAC ALBANY NY $1,000
X HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN OF GREATER NEW YORK FEDERAL NEW YORK NY $1,000
X LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION EMPLOYEES’ POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE ARLINGTON VA $1,000
X MARYLAND ASSOCIATION FOR CONCERNED CITIZENS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE PIKESVILLE MD $1,000
X THE NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA INC. POLITICAL ACT STAMFORD CT $1,000
LOCAL 387 CHESHIRE CORRECTION COMPLEX PAC MILLDALE CT $875
SEIU STATE COUNCIL PAC HARTFORD CT $875
** URBAN LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE BLOOMFIELD CT $850
** O’BRIEN ’13 WEST HAVEN CT $775
A BETTER CONNECTICUT PAC ROCKY HILL CT $725
C.P.F.U. (CONNECTICUT POLICE & FIRE UNION) PAC HARTFORD CT $600
** EILEEN HEAPHY FOR MAYOR STAMFORD CT $600
** MATT PAC WEST HARTFORD CT $570
STAMFORD PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC FUND STAMFORD CT $525
THE GREATER HARTFORD PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CLUB SOUTH WINDSOR CT $525
AQN PAC BRIDGEPORT CT $500
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT CARPENTERS LOCAL UNION 24 PAC YALESVILLE CT $500
CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF OPTOMETRISTS INC PAC ROCKY HILL CT $500
** PROJECT DEMOCRACY WEST HARTFORD CT $500
UNIFORMED PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION OF CT PAC WEST HARTFORD CT $500
139TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC PAC WEST HARTFORD CT $450
30 PAC MARION CT $370
CWA LOCAL 1298 PAC HAMDEN CT $370
HERE LOCAL 35 PAC NEW HAVEN CT $350
SHEET METAL WORKERS LOCAL 40 PAC ROCKY HILL CT $350
CONNECTICUT YOUNG DEMOCRATS HARTFORD CT $300
AFT CONNECTICUT PAC ROCKY HILL CT $250
CHARTER OAK PAC HARTFORD CT $250
CONNECTICUT HISPANIC DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS NEW HAVEN CT $250
UCPEA PAC STORRS MANSFIELD CT $250
X UNITY9 PAC WASHINGTON DC $250
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT DEMOCRATS ROCKY HILL CT $200
WORKING WOMEN AND MEN OF CENTRAL CONNECTICUT ROCKY HILL CT $200
MIDDLESEX COUNTY LEADERSHIP PAC CLINTON CT $185
CT FEDERATION OF DEMOCRATIC WOMEN EAST HARTFORD CT $175
SOJOURNER NETWORK OF DEM. WOMEN PAC HARTFORD CT $175
STAMFORD GREEN LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE STAMFORD CT $175
X COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT BRIAN CURTIN BURLINGTON MA $100
GUARDIAN FREEDOM PAC STAMFORD CT $100
SHORELINE LEAGUE OF DEMOCRATIC WOMEN POLITICAL ACCOUNT GUILFORD CT $100
THIRD STREET PAC WEST HARTFORD CT $100
COLCHESTER DEMOCRATIC WOMENS CLUB COLCHESTER CT $50
DEMOCRATIC VOICES FOR CHANGE LAKEVILLE CT $50
DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CLUB OF EAST HARTFORD GLASTONBURY CT $50

** = Not registered with Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission but may be registered with local town clerk.