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

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If elected Hartford Connecticut’s s next mayor, Greenwich native Luke Bronin says he’ll successfully plow the streets, solve the city’s crime problems and provide jobs for the residents of Connecticut’s poorest city.

In order to persuade the voters of Hartford to dump the only big city Puerto Rican mayor in the 50 States, Bronin has raised a record breaking amount of money.  Nearly a third of his campaign funds come from out-of-state donors and an additional $55,000 plus are from residents of his hometown of Greenwich.

But his 5 to 1 cash-on-hand advantage isn’t enough for the golden boy.

Among a series of questionable campaign finance issues that show up in his campaign finance reports is the fact that Bronin is breaking Connecticut law by accepting a massive in-kind contribution from Stu Loeser & Company, a New York based public relations firm.

Andrew Doba works as Bronin’s spokesperson and public relations flack.  He is also an employee of Stu Loeser & Company.  Bronin’s press releases are sent using Doba’s work email, [email protected]. It is the same email address found for Doba on the Stu Loeser & Company website and the same email address Doba uses to communicate with reporters about his other clients.

After working as Governor Dannel Malloy’s spokesperson for past two years, Doba left state employment earlier this year to join Stu Loeser & Company.

On his corporate website, Stu Loeser, who was New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s press’s secretary, describes himself by stating,

“Stu now puts these skills to use for some of the most prominent technology companies, Fortune 100 corporations, thriving start-ups and high net-worth individuals around the world.

[…]

Stu has been profiled as the “city’s foremost practitioner of the dark art known as opposition research” … Earlier in his career, he served as U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s Communications Director and worked on the Clinton/Gore and Gore/Lieberman presidential campaigns.

As for Doba, Loeser.com writes;

Andrew is a veteran communications operative with nearly a decade of experience in city and state government.

As the chief spokesman for Governor Malloy in Connecticut, Andrew was the architect of earned media campaigns advancing the Governor’s economic and public policy priorities…

He directly managed or had oversight of nearly 100 people in 30 state agencies, quasi-public entities and other cabinet level positions.

As an aside, who knew the Governor’s press secretary had management and oversight responsibility for 100 people in 30 agencies.

But back on the issue of  breaking state law, not only are Bronin’s press releases sent out by Doba, and Doba is by Bronin’s side at almost every public event, but Bronin’s Twitter account is dedicated to helping Bronin and Doba’s other corporate clients including the corporate funded charter school advocacy group “Save our Schools” and the UBER corporation.

Although Doba has been working for Bronin for months, Bronin’s campaign has failed to make and report appropriate expenditures to Stu Loeser & Company for Doba’s work, meaning Bronin is accepting an illegal campaign contribution from a corporate entity, a major violation of Connecticut law that would undoubtedly lead to a fine and other potential penalties if investigated by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Why would Luke Bronin think he is above the law?

Perhaps is it is because he spent the last two years working as Governor Dannel Malloy whose 2014  campaign intentionally and flagrantly violated Connecticut’s campaign finance laws and continues to try and derail an investigation in Malloy’s political fundraising violations.

The following are just a few examples of Andrew Doba’s use of his Twitter page to promote his corporate clients, including Luke Bronin for Mayor.

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  Outrageous that @segarra2015 needs a hand delivered invite to talk with #Hartford residents about gun violence http://cour.at/1IQNKpA 

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  .@segarra2015 my job would be easier if you told the truth.

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  With strong push from @GovMalloyOffice, Leg. made the right call in meeting its financial commitment to charter schools

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  Thank you to our state leaders who showed a strong commitment to ensuring access to great school #ForEveryChild.

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  Awesome video from the #SaveOurSchools rally #ForEveryChildCT http://bit.ly/1Fqu9gr 

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  FYI – @Uber hearing being moved to 2E because so many Uber driver partners came out to show their support

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba   Thanks! RT@StamfordiCenter: We welcome our newest coworker, @AndrewDoba of Stu Loeser & Co. http://ow.ly/Ino0Q 

Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  New website (http://stuloeser.com ) AND new flack? Congrats to @AndrewDoba + thanks @mikeallen for nod in Playbook: http://www.politico.com/playbook/0115/playbook16920.html …

For more about the Bronin Campaign’s attempt to buy Hartford see;

Luke Bronin – Buying Hartford with the help of Greenwich money

Big Money flowing through Bronin’s New York to Hartford pipeline

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

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

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

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Going once…

Going twice…

SOLD…

And Hartford goes to the High Bidder, Luke Bronin!

Or so Bronin and his allies believe.

With Hartford’s 2015 mayoral campaign ramping up, despite having never run for office and lacking any experience with municipal government, Luke Bronin has already raised a record amount of money.

Nearly all of the contributions come from people who live outside of Hartford and much of it has been donated by people who don’t even live in Connecticut.

Of course, for starters there was the $54,525 in donations from his home town of Greenwich (See: Luke Bronin – Buying Hartford with the help of Greenwich money)

And then comes the out-of-state money.

At least $84,210 from New Yorkers (See: Big Money flowing through Bronin’s New York to Hartford pipeline)

Add $29,205 in contributions from people who live in Washington, D.C.

$16,459 from California donors

Floridians have kicked in another $16,545

$12,190 from Massachusetts residents

Virginia donors have sent $9,240

$8,860 from Texans

Rhode Islanders have donated $8,550

$8,375 from Marylanders

New Jersey residents have been good for $4,685

$4,625 from Pennsylvania donors

And that doesn’t even include the campaign donations from Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana,  Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  Oregon, Washington State, Vermont, Wisconsin, and overseas.

In just the first 150 days of the campaign, nearly 600 people from outside of Connecticut have given a total of almost $220,000 to help Greenwich’s Luke Bronin buy the mayor’s office in Hartford, Connecticut.

It makes you wonder….

Big Money flowing through Bronin’s New York to Hartford pipeline

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Forget the notion of a high-speed train from New York to New Haven to Hartford, there is already a big money pipeline that is carrying unprecedented amounts of campaign cash from New York to Hartford.

In fact, Luke Bronin’s audacious plan of moving to Hartford and defeating the nation’s only major city Latino mayor has been getting a huge boost thanks to that flow of campaign funds from New York.

In just his first two campaign finance reporting periods, Bronin has collected $84,210 from New Yorkers including 55 individual who made out checks for $1,000, the maximum contribution allowed by law, and another 30 New Yorkers who wrote out $500 checks to the mayoral wannabee.

Bronin’s hometown of Greenwich (See Luke Bronin – Buying Hartford with the help of Greenwich money) and the money he has raised from New York has padded Bronin mayoral campaign war chest by nearly $140,000.

Considering Hartford’s population is about 125,000, there are less than 50,000 voters, fewer than 35,000 Democrats and the total number of participants in the September Democratic primary may not even exceed 5,000, Bronin has already collected about $28 per primary voter from New York and Greenwich residents alone, and over $132 per primary voter in total… and his fundraising operation remains in full swing.

Headed into the September Democratic Primary, incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra has about $110,000 available for his campaign activities, according to his most recent campaign finance report, which is far less than Bronin has collected just from Greenwich and New York.

In total, Bronin raised over $660,000 since he announced his campaign in January 2015 and reported that he had more than $500,000 on hand as of July 1.

As of July 1, Bronin had already held fundraisers in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Providence.

Inaugurations – Did you help finance Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reelection campaign?

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Today it is Dannel Malloy who is being sworn into a second term as Connecticut’s governor.

Two days ago it was Wisconsin’s conservative, Tea-Bag Party Governor and presidential wannabe Scott Walker.

While there are stark differences between the two, on the issues related to public education, teachers and the corporate education reform industry, Malloy and Walker have shockingly similar platforms.

Like Malloy, Walker spent his first term trying to destroy teacher tenure, eliminate collective bargaining rights for teachers and dramatically expand public funding for charter schools and the overall effort to privatize public education.

The primary difference was the same in Connecticut, thanks to a Democrat-controlled legislature, Malloy’s worst proposals were removed from his “education reform initiative.”  Whereas in Wisconsin, a right-wing, Republican-controlled legislature passed Walker’s proposals and made Wisconsin ground-zero for the corporate education reform effort to destroy teachers, the teaching profession and teacher unions.

Another major similarity between the two individuals is that both candidates relied heavily on the support of special interests to fund their campaign operations.

While the tea-party conservatives lined up for Walker and the unions lined up for Malloy, both candidates collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from major corporations.

Malloy’s corporate support came from political action committees including, Aetna, Alcoa, Alexion, American Medical Response, AQN, AT&T, Bank of America, Boehringer Ingelheim, CBS, Cerner Corporation, Cigna, Comcast, Computer Sciences Corporation, Covanta Energy, Dominion Energy, Enterprise Holding, FoxPAC (Yes, related to the Fox News Corp.), General Dynamics, General Electric, GHC Corporation, Guardian, Hartford Financial, HNTB Holdings, Maximus, Minerals Technologies Inc., National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Northeast Utilities, Pfizer, Pitney Bowes, Praxair, Public Service of New Jersey, Purdue Pharma, Reinsurance Association of America, Safelite, Spectra Energy, Synergy, Nestle Waters, The Phoenix, The Travelers, Walt Disney Productions, Thermo Fischer Scientific, UnitedHealth, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Webster Bank, Wellpoint, Xerox and the list goes on.

During the past gubernatorial campaign, Corporate America also invested in Scott Walker’s campaign, leaving one to ask…

Did your purchases help fund Walker (or Malloy’s) campaigns?

Did you buy a Pepsi, Coca-Cola or Snapple this year?  Do you have a cell phone, use a bank, take medication, buy insurance or purchase any number of other consumer products?

Well you may be among the millions of consumers who helped fund Scott Walker, the darling of the Koch Brothers and the right-wing in the United States.

Despite Walker’s controversial positions and record, Walker collected 53% of the vote in last November’s election, funding his campaign with donations from a plethora of “mainstream” American corporations.

A review of campaign finance records in Wisconsin show dozens of national corporations gave Walker money or provided financial support to organizations engaged in funneling money into Walker’s campaign.

Even the controversies surrounding Walker’s potentially illegal campaign activities didn’t stop major corporations from pumping consumers’ dollars into Walker’s political ambitions.

Walker’s dubious claim to fame is based on a variety of proposals and actions including the following;

  • On raising Wisconsin’s $7.25 minimum wage, Walker said discussing raising the amount had no ‘purpose’ and in October 2014, Walker’s administration wrote, “There is no reasonable cause to believe” that the state’s minimum wage isn’t a living wage.  This despite the fact that 700,000 people in Wisconsin – one in four workers – are earning poverty wages.
  • On the critical issue of reproductive rights, Walker signed sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights in Wisconsin.  The law requires women, regardless of the patient’s wishes, to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound before they get an abortion, Said Walker, “I don’t have any problem with ultrasound.”
  • To those who say efforts are needed to ensure more American have health insurance; Walker recently explained that denying health coverage to additional low-income Americans helps more people “live the American Dream” because they won’t be “dependent on the American government.”
  • On the issue of “equal pay for women,” Walker successfully pushed to repeal Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Law.  One of Walker’s Senate Republican allies defending the effort by exclaiming, “Money is more important for men.
  • Walker’s attacks on public school and higher education have been unprecedented.  As widely reported, Walker’s cuts to public schools have cost more than 3,400 jobs, including more than 1,900 teachers.
  • And when it comes to promoting democracy, Walker “accomplishments” includes legislation to disenfranchise tens of thousands of young voters, senior citizens and minority voters as a result of his voter suppression and voter ID laws.

But despite Walker’s right-wing political agenda and offensive comments, corporations donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Walker.

The following is a just a partial list.

Corporation Contribution Amount
3M Company PAC $22,000
Abbott Labs Employee PAC $5,500
AT&T Wisconsin PAC $23,000
Centene Corporation PAC (Health Insurance) $21,000
CenturyLinkPAC $12,500
Citigroup Inc. PAC $1,000
Coca-Cola PAC $8,000
Deloitte Political Action Committee $10,000
Dominion Resources Inc. PAC $5,000
Dr Pepper Snapple Group PAC $3,000
Eli Lilly and Company PAC (Pharmaceuticals) $21,000
Enterprise Holdings, Inc. PAC (Car Rental) $14,000
Express Scripts, Inc. PAC $1,000
Federal Express PAC $10,000
General Electric Political Action Committee (GEPAC) $7,000
General Motors Company PAC $8,500
GlaxoSmithKline PAC (Pharmaceuticals) $4,000
Hewlett-Packard Company PAC $10,500
Honeywell International PAC $40,000
Humana Inc. PAC (Health Insurance) $18,000
Johnson & Johnson PAC $3,000
JPMorgan Chase & Co. PAC $3,500
Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. PAC $7,500
Marathon Petroleum Corporation PAC $16,500
Molina Healthcare Inc PAC $2,500
Monsanto Co. PAC $24,000
Motorola Solutions, Inc. PAC $2,000
Murray Energy Corporation PAC $15,000
Northwestern Mutual Life PAC $57,000
PepsiCo Inc PAC $2,000
Pfizer Inc PAC (Pharmaceuticals) $43,250
Sprint Corporation PAC 6500
The Caterpillar Inc. PAC $50,000
US Bancorp PAC $1,000
Valero Energy Corporation PAC $1,000
Walgreens Co. PAC $7,500
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. PAC $15,000
WellPoint, Inc. WELLPAC  (Health Insurance) $27,000
Xcel Energy-WI PAC $12,500
Xerox Corporation Political Action Committee $5,000
Zeneca Inc. PAC (Pharmaceuticals) $8,000

*Donations since 2011 from major U.S. corporations to Friends of Scott Walker, Scott Walker – Rebecca Kleefisch Victory Committee and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

And this list doesn’t even highlight some of Governor Walker’s other corporate donors including $51,000 from the BNSF Railway (RailPAC), $45,000 from the national construction company HNTB Holdings Ltd. PAC, $27,000 from the Koch Brothers and $23,000 from Union Pacific Railway.

Which brings us back to the question; did your consumer spending help fund Walker’s successful re-election effort?

Or for that matter, did your consumer spending fund Malloy’s successful re-election effort.

And finally, what are the following companies doing supporting both Malloy and Walker?

AT&T, Dominion, Enterprise Holdings, General Electric, HTNB Holdings, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, WellPoint, Inc, and Xerox

CT Democratic Chair – The pot that called the kettle black

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“The pot calling the kettle black” is an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.

For example,

“Oho!” said the pot to the kettle;
“You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you’re given a crack.”

“Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot;
“‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean – without blemish or blot –
That your blackness is mirrored in me.”
—Maxwell’s Elementary Grammar, 1904,

With that as the backdrop, some of you may have recently received an email from Democratic State Chair Nancy DiNardo.

The email ALERT read,

BAD NEWS: GOP Super-PACs are planning to spend an unprecedented $6 million (and probably more) on TV ads to defeat Democratic candidates across Connecticut.

And this is on top of everything else the GOP is doing to win this November.

We need September to be a HUGE month for Connecticut Democrats if we want our candidates to survive the onslaught of attacks. Chip in $5 or more now >>

Truth be told, the email is another fine example of the pot calling the kettle black idiom.

The Chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party was writing on behalf of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy.

The same Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy that pushed through the legislation that allows a candidate for governor in Connecticut to take $6.2 million in public funds for their campaign and still raise millions more through their political party and related political action committees.

In Malloy’s case, not only has he cashed the $6.2 million taxpayer-funded check, but he has raised more than $3.5 million into the Democratic State Central Committee from state contractors, lobbyists, and individuals that have benefited financially from Malloy’s corporate welfare programs.

And that doesn’t even count the Democratic Super-PAC called Connecticut Forward, an entity that has already dumped more than $3.5 million into campaign 2014 to support Malloy and oppose Foley.

And just who are the people and organizations that are pouring money into the Malloy campaign operation?

Readers won’t be surprised to learn that one of the biggest donors to Malloy’s campaign extravaganza is the corporate education reform industry.

According to the last set of federal and state campaign finance reports, Governor Malloy, the champion of the corporate education reform industry and the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers working in the poorest schools has received well over a quarter of a million dollars from leaders and political action committees associated with the national education reform and privatization effort.

You read that right…Malloy’s political campaign has benefited from more than $250,000 in campaign contributions from the corporate education reform industry.

For example, in Connecticut, the leading force behind Malloy’s education reform initiative is ConnCAN.

ConnCAN is the charter school advocacy group that helped make the lobbying campaign in support of Malloy’s education reform bill the most expensive in state history.

ConnCAN’s Board of Directors and their immediate family members have donated more than $100,000 to Malloy’s campaign.

In addition, donors to the Democratic State Central Committee and political action committees supporting Malloy’s re-election bid include the anti-teacher Democrats for Education Reform, one of the nation’s leading corporate education reformers, billionaire Eli Broad, and Connecticut billionaire and education reform-funder, Steven Mandel.

Sadly, the Chairperson of the Connecticut Democratic Party fails to explain to the Democratic Party’s rank and file that their $5 contribution to confront the GOP Super-PAC will be deposited into the same account that is awash in millions of dollars that are being dumped into the Malloy campaign by the corporate elite that are so eager to see Malloy in office for another four years.

Three cheers for campaign finance corruption in Connecticut!

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Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy has deposited his check for $6.2 million from the State’s Public Finance System.

As a result of Connecticut’s landmark 2005 campaign finance reform bill, in return for raising $250,000 in contributions of under $100, Malloy (and the Republican nominee for governor) have each received $6.2 million in public funds to pay for their gubernatorial campaigns.

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

But that was before Malloy and the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly torpedoed the most important elements of the law.

Now, in addition to the $6.2 million in public funds, Malloy and his political operatives have collected at least $3.5 million for his campaign into the Democratic State Central Committees “federal” account, much of it from state contractors, lobbyists, political action committees and the wealthy.   The political maneuver was made possible thanks to a proposal Malloy and the Democrats pushed through in 2013.

In addition, a “separate” political action committee called Connecticut Forward, has already raised $2.5 million to run ads in support of Malloy and against his opponent, Tom Foley.  To date, about $1.3 million of Connecticut Forward’s money has come from the Democratic Governors Association, $900,000 from the AFSCME union and $250,000 from the American Federation of Teachers.  In the coming weeks, the Connecticut Forward PAC is expected to raise another $3-$5 million or more in their effort to promote Malloy’s campaign.

So how on earth did we go from having one of the “best” campaign finance reform laws in the nation to a campaign in which Malloy gets $6.2 million in public funds, while accessing another $10 million or more in campaign donations including money from state contractors and others who personally benefit from the governor’s policies.

While a portion of the blame rests with the unprecedented Citizens United decision by the United States Supreme Court, in which companies were determined to be people for the purposes of campaign finance laws, Connecticut’s present campaign laws, along with their appearance of corruption, rests on the shoulders of Governor Malloy and the Democrats in the Legislature.

A June 1, 2011 Wait, What? post entitled, “Oh…Remember When Democratic Leaders were for Campaign Finance Reform,” observed, “Democrats Complete the Task of Undermining the State’s Public Finance Law.”  And yet the worst was still to come.

As background, back on January 27th, 2010, when then-candidate Dan Malloy spoke out after a Zogby public opinion survey found that 79 percent of Connecticut voters supported public financing and the Citizens’ Elections Program, Malloy said;

“In my view, this poll should serve as proof of just how strongly Connecticut voters feel about campaign finance reform, and as a warning for those candidates who think they can brush aside the Citizens’ Election Program…”

At the time, Malloy was echoing the sentiment of Democratic Party leaders.

Following the passage of Connecticut’s historic campaign finance law, 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.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams’ rhetoric was equally impressive, with an official biography that 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.”

But when candidate Dan Malloy became Governor Dannel Malloy, the official view and strategy when it came to campaign finance reform changed dramatically.

In Malloy’s first budget, the new governor took aim at the State Elections Enforcement Commission by reducing its funding, its autonomy and its authority.

At the time, State Senator Gayle Slossberg, the only Democrat to vote against Malloy’s plan, was quoted as saying, “I just think that the proposal in front of us undermines the independence and the integrity of the [State Election Enforcement Commission and the other] watchdog agencies,”

But Malloy’s effort to undermine Connecticut’s campaign finance law had just begun.

As the 2013 session of the Connecticut General Assembly came to a close, Malloy and the Democrats passed legislation that allowed candidates to keep the public campaign finance funds while opening the flood gates to tainted campaign contributions.

The bill doubled the amount of money private donors could give to political parties, removed the cap on how much political parties could spend to support candidates participating in the public finance system and created a massive loophole by allowing candidates, in this case Malloy, to better coordinate their activities with political parties and other political action committees.

The anti-campaign finance reform bill did not get a single Republican vote in the State Senate or House of Representatives.  On June 19, 2013 Malloy signed the legislation into law, which in turn, prompted former Governor Jodi Rell to observe;

“After a dark period in our state’s history, Connecticut became a role model for the nation with … our campaign finance reform. How sad that the Democrat governor, Democrat legislators and the Democrat Party are so greedy for campaign cash that they would willingly destroy what we so proudly enacted just a few short years ago.”

At the time, few fully appreciated how the legislation would change the political landscape, but you can read more about the Democrats successful effort to destroy Connecticut’s campaign finance law in the June 2013 CTNewsJunkie article entitled, “Malloy Signs Bill Changing Campaign Finance Reforms of 2005.”

Now, with just weeks to go in the 2014 gubernatorial election, laws have been changed to the point that instead of having $6.2 million, the Malloy campaign effort will probably spend in excess of $16 million to try and get a second term in office.

Of course, thanks in no small part to the same changes in the law, Tom Foley and the Republicans will be spending an equally obscene amount of money.

Finally, as Wait, What? readers know, the entire system is also rigged against third-party candidates.  Meaning in this campaign finance war of mutually assured campaign destruction, they only candidate not double and triple dipping, while still using taxpayer funds is third party candidate Joe Visconti.

So let’s hear it!  Three cheers for campaign finance corruption in Connecticut!

Even More Corporate Education Reform money flows to Malloy’s political operation

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The latest federal campaign finance reports are in and Governor Malloy’s political operation continues to rake in the cash from those associated with the effort to privatize Connecticut’s public schools and undermine Connecticut’s teachers.

As a result of Connecticut’s campaign finance program, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is on track to collect $6.2 million in public funds to pay for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

But thanks to a loop-hole in Connecticut law, the Malloy campaign has already diverted nearly $2.2 million in individual and political action committee donations into an account controlled by the Democratic State Central Committee.  Malloy is rounding up donations to this Democratic account so that his team will have additional money to supplement Malloy’s publicly funded campaign this year.

The campaign finance loop-hole is so large you could drive a truck through it.  As a result, much of the money that Malloy and his team has raised into the separate account is coming from individuals and businesses who have state contracts, as well as, from registered lobbyists, political action committees and special interests that would otherwise be banned from contributing to Malloy’s campaign.

One of the most “generous” sources of money for Malloy’s “off-line” political operation has been the corporate education reform industry.

The latest report filed with the Federal Elections Commission reveals the proponents of Malloy’s “education reform” initiative continue to line up to give the Governor campaign donations.

New contributions in March included,

  • Another $20,000 from Jonathan Sackler and his wife.  Sackler helped Stefan Pryor create Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company.  Sackler also founded ConnCAN, Connecticut’s leading charter school advocacy group and 50CAN, a national charter school advocacy organization. 
  • Sackler and his wife have now given $38,000 to the Democratic Party “special” account and another $20,000 to the Connecticut Democrats regular account.  In addition, Sackler hosted a fundraiser that brought in almost $50,000 for the Malloy affiliated Prosperity for Connecticut Political Action Committee. 
  •  $10,000 from Susan Mandel, the spouse of billionaire Steve Mandel.  Mandel is the primary supporter of the Bridgeport charter school advocacy group called Excel Bridgeport, Inc. and serves on the national board of directors of Teach for America.  Mandel and his wife have now contributed $30,000 to the Democratic account that is being used to fund Malloy’s political operation. 

These new contributions to help Malloy come on top of tens of thousands of dollars in additional donations that have been sent by other key players from the corporate education reform industry. For example, Michelle Rhee’s PAC and the Wal-Mart PAC have already sent large donations to boost Malloy’s re-election chances.

You can read about the other donations in the following Wait, What? posts,

Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation (Feb 2014)

Malloy’s campaign donation haul from corporate education reform industry tops $70k (Dec 2013)

Malloy continues to cash in on Education Reform initiative (Nov. 2013)

Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform (Oct. 2013)

Weekend Posts on Gubernatorial Campaign 2014

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On Governor Malloy:  Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

And on a Pelto candidacy for governor:  Saw it on the Internet so it must be true… (No, but…)

After an email exchange [Friday], Neil Vigdor, a leading reporter for the Hearst Media Group, put up a blog post entitled, “Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left?”

As the saying goes, take the story with a grain of salt.  Like much of what we read on the Internet, aspects of the story are true while other elements aren’t quite so accurate.

What the story does represent is the growing concern that many of us have about Governor Malloy’s record over the past four years and his extraordinary failure on a number of fronts.

A direct challenge, either as a Democrat or as a third-party, independent Democratic is just one of many options for those of us who truly believe that another four years of a Malloy administration would be disastrous for a variety of reasons – one of those reasons being our on-going effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and the pressing need to retake control of our public schools.

So….let me be perfectly clear, I am not a candidate for governor (at this time).

The Hearst Media Group blog post begins with the following;

Just when the denizens of Connecticut thought the debate over Common Core was caustic.

Now there’s this.

Jonathan Pelto, a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda and former state representative, is entertaining a run for the state’s highest office, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers has learned.

The 53-year-old from Storrs, who has expended significant bandwith on his “progressive” blog and on Facebook railing against Malloy, could run either as a Democrat or a third party candidate, a person familiar with Pelto’s thinking told the newspaper.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Pelto told Hearst by email Friday afternoon.

A campaign spokesman for Malloy, who is considered by political pundits to be vulnerable in the midterm elections this November, declined to comment on the prospect of a Pelto candidacy.

On his blog, “Wait What?” Pelto penned an April 13 entry titled “the growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.”

“Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.”

The Malloy Campaign Money Machine: Whatever you do, don’t call it pay to play!

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More big money for Malloy campaign operation from contractors who got state funds…

As the website Raising Hale continues to reveal, contractors who benefited from the Malloy administration are coming through with hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions for Malloy’s re-election operation.

But whatever you do, don’t call it “Pay TO Play.”

“Pay AFTER Play” maybe, but let’s be clear, the generosity these contractors are showing the Governor Malloy re-election effort WASN’T because they WANTED to get state funded work, they are SIMPLY saying THANK YOU for the state funded work they did received.

Now that is a WHOLE different thing… (please note the satire)

DOT preferred developer brings 2013 gifts to Democrats up to $90,000 with December contributions  (From the Raising Hale Website) February 1, 2014 by Zachary Janowski

The joint venture selected by the Department of Transportation to redevelop part of Stamford near the city’s train station gave $90,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s federal account last year, including $32,500 in December.

DOT selected Stamford Manhattan Development Ventures in June to take charge of the $500 million project, including $35 million in state funding for parking garages.

Weeks after DOT told the joint venture it won, the family behind JHM Group, which belongs to the joint venture, gave $30,000 to the Democratic Party’s federal account.

Since the company is a prospective state contractor, its executives are prohibited from giving to the party’s state account, but are allowed to give to the federal account.

Executives from other joint-venture partners, including Ciminelli Development and AllPro Parking, gave another $27,500 in November.

In December, Paul Ciminelli and Dennis Penman, executives at Ciminelli Development, gave $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.

John and Raymond Gizzi, of ECCO III Enterprises, Inc., another joint-venture partner, gave $10,000 each last month, bringing the total to $90,000.

For more go to: http://www.raisinghale.com/

Connecticut Democratic Party Leaders: It is okay to lie, as long as it’s to raise money…

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The question bothering a number of Democrats these days is what happened to our political party? 

We all know it takes money to run effective campaigns, but Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee is reaching new lows when it comes to misleading potential donors in their effort to raise funds.

Last week, Democratic State Central Committee Chair Nancy DiNardo sent out a blast email to donors and Democratic activists requesting a “contribution to our 2014 Early Action Fund. A $15, $10 or $5 contribution will ensure the Party is ready to support Democratic candidates at every level this fall and beyond.

This from the same individual who apparently played a leading role in diverting $40,000 in State Party funds to pay for Mayor Bill Finch’s failed attempt to elect the “endorsed” pro-corporate education reform industry slate against a Democratic challenge slate that was committed to dumping education reformer extraordinaire Paul Vallas and ending the effort to privatization Bridgeport’s Schools.

The money had been raised with the promise that it would be used to “support Democratic candidates” and yet it was actually spent on trying to defeat pro-public education Democratic candidates.

When repeatedly asked about the apparent violation of party rules and the waste of $40,000 that should have been used to fight Republicans, Democratic State Central Staff refused to respond.

When the Wait, What? post was sent to State Central Committee members and local Democratic Town Committee Chairs, one state central committee member wrote back, “Stop the bull shit,” a Democratic Town Chair responded “What is your point?” and two others asked to be removed from the mailing list…despite the fact that as Democratic State Central and Democratic Town Committee members they actually hold elected positions under Connecticut law.

Then today along came another blast email from the Connecticut Democrats. 

This one came from the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s Executive Director.  Jonathan Harris wrote, “Tuesday marks the 4-year anniversary of the Citizens United decision. While Super PACs and Tea Party groups are gearing up to target Connecticut Democrats in 2014, the Connecticut Democratic Party is building our Grassroots Organizing Program. It’s the only way we can compete.

Now we need you. Every $3, $5 and $12 contribution adds up to something big. Contribute to our Grassroots Program, and tell the Koch brothers and Karl Rove that in Connecticut, our elections are not for sale

A powerful and convincing statement…

Except it comes from an organization that is engaged in a widespread “pay to play” scheme to funnel tainted money from state contractors and other politically connected companies to the Democratic State Central Committee’s “federal account” as a way to by-pass Connecticut laws that restrict those types of contributions.

Malloy and his advisors may claim that the in a world in which the “end justifies the means,” it is necessary to fib a little or a lot to persuade Democrats to donate to the Democratic Party.

But the fact remains, the blast emails from DiNardo and Harris are misleading at best and outright lies at worst.

These and other Democratic Party officials are not doing the Party or the cause any favors when the create an environment in which a growing number of Democratic Party members realize that they are taking the Democratic Party in the wrong direction.

For more background on the diversion of $40,000 to influence a Democratic Primary for Board of Education in Bridgeport see Wait, What? posts: Connecticut Democratic Party hit with campaign finance complaint (1/8/14);  Connecticut Democratic Party Chair fails to explain – Why did the Party divert 40k to fight pro-public education Democrats in Bridgeport Primary? (12/10/13); Time for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee to come clean about spending (12/3/13); Malloy/Finch/Vallas lose in Bridgeport but questions remain about role of State Democratic Party (11/6/13); Did you make a contribution to the Democratic State Central Committee? (11/4/13); State Democratic Party (quietly) dumps $20k into losing Bridgeport slate (10/18/13); Connecticut Democratic Party subsidizes Mayor Finch’s Bridgeport Board of Education Slate (9/6/13)

For additional background on Malloy’s “Pay to Play” fundraising strategy see the following Wait, What? posts, Malloy’s Steelpointe Harbor corporate welfare package; the gift that keeps giving; Malloy’s Campaign donation controversies continue to grow; Malloy’s campaign donation haul from corporate education reform industry tops $70k; Malloy pulls in $36,000 plus from Connecticut nursing home industry; Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party; Democratic response to Malloy’s fundraising strategy is absurd and insulting…; Meanwhile…..John Rowland? No Dannel Malloy; Did you see the “For Sale” sign that the Malloy Administration put up?; Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform;

The following Raising Hale blogs are also very informative: DOT contractor gave $30,000 to Connecticut Democrats weeks after; Employees, family of DOT contractor gave $45,000 to Conn. Democratic Party last month; NU employees step up giving to Conn. Democratic Party; New Board of Regents chairman and wife maxed out to party weeks before selection; Democrats continue to collect donations from DOT preferred developer; Did employees of DOT contractor attend NYC fundraiser with Malloy?

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