Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Hartford Courant columnist and fellow blogger Kevin Rennie has reviewed candidate Luke Bronin’s campaign finance reports and has discovered another disturbing fact.

Not only has Greenwich native and political newcomer run the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, but Bronin ended up paying a truly shocking amount of money for each vote he received in his successful effort to be crowned the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor of Hartford..

In a post entitled, Democrats Will Be Outraged: Bronin Spent $170 a Vote in Primary Win Over Segarra, Kevin Rennie writes;

Democrat Luke Bronin spent more $872,625 to garner 5,110 votes in his September 16th primary victory over incumbent Pedro Segarra in their race for mayor of one of the state’s poorest communities, according to campaign finance reports. That’s $170.76 a vote, a figure that will evoke howls of protest from the traditional voices of campaign spending restraint. Those voices were curiously muted as Bronin rolled over Segarra in their showdown.

Bronin’s last campaign finance report before the primary showed the Greenwich plutocrat spent $673,821.75. That reporting period included expenses from July 1st through September 7th. Bronin’s post-primary report shows an additional $198,804 in payments made up to and including primary day.  It includes more than 100 payments of $125 for primary day field work. The largest expense was a $53,224.77 payment for commercial broadcast time.

Rennie article, strengthened be a great complementary video, can be found on his blog at: http://www.dailyructions.com/democrats-will-be-outraged-bronin-spent-170-a-vote-in-primary-win-over-segarra/

Readers may remember that it was Kevin Rennie who broke the story about Luke Bronin’s wife, Sara Bronin, having used her state employee account in support of Bronin’s campaign for Mayor.  (See: Sara Bronin Has a Primary Request–and Sent It From Her UConn Email Account.  Followed by Wait What?’s Luke & Sara Bronin and the “Laws are only for the Little People” Crowd)

It is unclear whether the State Auditors have begun an investigation into Sarah Bronin’s illegal use of her email account, but in the past state employees have lost their jobs or been put on lengthy periods of unpaid leave for using their state email accounts for political activities.

 

Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Having already spent a record-breaking $1 million to try and buy himself the mayor’s job in Hartford, Dannel Malloy wannabee, political newcomer and Greenwich native Luke Bronin has raised another $174,000 for his campaign effort according to a campaign finance report filed with the Hartford Town Clerk late yesterday afternoon.

Bronin and the Hartford Stadium Developers

Bronin’s latest collection plate overflows with another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium.  The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already raised from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)  The additional bundle of checks to pay for Luke Bronin’s political aspirations includes a $1,000 check from lead developer Bob Landino.

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting the big money from contractors hired to build the new baseball stadium.

However, in recent weeks, Bronin has more than made up for lost time, raising tens of thousands of dollars from DONO developers including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

The Hartford Stadium contributions to Luke Bronin come at the same time that the stadium developers are seeking permission to postpone ground breaking for Phase II of the DONO project which was supposed to include the grocery store, retail and housing portions of the development plan.  The developers are also asking to reduce the amount of housing to make room for a new hotel that they’d like to build instead.

Luke Bronin’s wife, Sarah Bronin, is the chairperson of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission and a special meeting of the Commission has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, 2015 (The day after Election Day) to review and approve the stadium developer’s request.

Bronin and the Constitution Plaza Developers

Bronin’s latest campaign report also includes another $1,000 from Abul Islam, the CEO and President of AI Engineers, Inc., the company behind the $17 million publicly subsidized project to build more upscale apartments in downtown Hartford. (See: Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.  This is the second $1,000 check for Bronin from Abul Islam.  (State law allows a mayoral candidate to take $1,000 per person unless there is a primary in which case they can collect a second $1,000 check.)

Bronin and Lobbyist Money

More lobbyist money is also flowing into Bronin’s campaign and his campaign continues to violate Connecticutstate law by failing to properly identify whether a donor is a lobbyist or a member of a lobbyist’s family.  (See: Luke Bronin hauls in Lobbyist cash, generates multiple violations of CT Campaign Finance Law.)

In addition to the massive amount of lobbyist money previously collected, Bronin’s latest report indicates that he has raised thousands more from those who are paid to influence public policy.  Again, more than half of the lobbyists who have donated to Bronin’s campaign are not properly identified as such.

Bronin and Downes Construction

When it comes to getting construction contracts from the City of Hartford, few companies have been as successful as New Britain’s Downes Construction.  The company has built many of Hartford’s new schools and has been involved in a number of other city-related construction projects.  While contributions to Luke Bronin’s campaign from executives and employees of Downes Construction have trickled in during the campaign, the faucet really started to gush in recent weeks with four executives from Downes Construction, including company president John Downes, providing Bronin with a second round of $1,000 checks.

A number of other city contractors also made second round donation’s prior to the close of the latest reporting period.

 

Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.

In November 2014, the Hartford Business Journal reported on a project called the “Residences at River View,” a new building designed to replace what was once the WFSB Ch. 3 studios.  The HBJ wrote;

Engineer-developer Abul Islam [President and CEO of AI Engineers, Inc. of Middletown, Connecticut] has gotten state and city funding commitments to proceed with opening a $17.7 million, six-story office-apartment tower in downtown Hartford’s Constitution Plaza within two years, authorities say.

Residences at Riverview will have 49 upscale apartments atop some 16,000 square feet of street-level office-retail space on No. 3 Constitution Plaza…

According to the news report, Governor Dannel Malloy got the State Bond Commission to provide $4.2 million for the project and Malloy’s Department of Housing added another $1.8 million.  The City of Hartford is putting up $973,000.  In addition to the $7 million in public funds, the remainder of the project comes via an $8 million loan from “an unidentified lender” and private funds from the developer.

According to the published reports, in addition to the 49 luxury apartments,

“Eight apartments will be earmarked as affordable.”

Enter Hartford Mayoral candidate Luke Bronin;

Two months ago A.I. Engineers’ Abul Islam, a Glastonbury resident, provided Luke Bronin with a $1,000 check to help fund his campaign to become Mayor of Hartford.

A couple weeks later the developer’s son who resides at the same address added another $1,000.  According to Bronin’s campaign finance report, the son is a “Business Development Associate” at AI Engineers, although he isn’t actually listed on the company’s website.

The Company’s General Counsel has donated $750 to Bronin’s campaign so far and two of the company’s civil engineers donated a combined $1,500.

As the Hartford Courant reported last spring,

“All together, there are about 780 units in or near downtown — including 79 new rentals in the South Armory at the Colt complex — either recently completed or now under construction.

In addition, there are another 600 apartments in various planning stages. They include the Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory, the Hartford Office Supply Co. building and the Residences at River View, a new structure to be built at Constitution Plaza.

And that doesn’t even include rentals planned for Downtown North.”

The Courant added,

“For all its potential benefit to downtown, the cost to the taxpayer is substantial. Most of the downtown apartment projects are receiving millions of dollars [in grants and subsidized loans.]”

Of course, not surprisingly, many of the individuals behind the development of these luxury apartments appear on Luke Bronin’s contributor list.

In fact, to get a pretty good sense of those profiting from these development projects, it is probably easier to simply review Bronin’s campaign finance reports rather than comb through the various taxpayer subsidized “public-private” development deals that have been signed by the State of Connecticut and the City of Hartford.

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.

And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium

In the weeks leading up to Hartford’s Democratic Mayoral Primary, Greenwich native and political newcomer Luke Bronin repeatedly attacked incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra for his support of the minor league baseball stadium that is now under construction in Hartford.

Luke Bronin told the Hartford Courant,

“I had real concerns about it. I still have real concerns about it and our ability to fund it.”

But despite Bronin’s “real concerns” about the stadium, the moment Luke Bronin got past the deadline for making his campaign contributions public prior to Primary Day he started loading up with money from the very developers who were given the extraordinary contract to build the stadium.

Connecticut State Law required that Bronin and any other candidate running for municipal office file a special campaign finance report exactly one week before the September 16, 2015 Primary Day.

However, although the filing date for the report was Wednesday, September 9, 2015, only contributions received by Monday, September 7, 2015 had to be listed on the report.

On Tuesday, September 8, 2015, only hours after a contribution reporting deadline had passed, Luke Bronin received eight $1,000 checks from individuals associated with the stadium developer.

And as Bronin’s latest campaign finance report reveals, the $8,000 collected on September 8, 2015 was only the beginning.

In the following days, the Bronin campaign pocketed additional $1,000 checks from the corporate executives of DONO Hartford LLC, CENTERPLAN DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, LLC, and CENTERPLAN CONSTRUCTION LLC.

Michael Lomardi, Jason Rudnick and Yves Georges Joseph each dropped $1,000 into Bronin’s coffers.

Michael Lombardi is President of Centerplan Construction and Comptroller of Centerplan Development.

Jason Rudnick is President of Centerplan Development and the agent of record for about 20 other companies owned by Centerplan Construction and Centerplan Development’s CEO Bob Landino.

Joseph is Vice President of Centerplan Development.

In September 2014, the City of Hartford selected DoNo Hartford LLC to develop the stadium.

The companies included in DONO Hartford’s plan included Centerplan Development, LeylandAlliance, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Sports Contracting Group, Urban Design Associates, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

Bronin has now collected campaign contributions from executives and employees at JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA and Greenskies Renewable, in addition to the money from the companies directly owned by Centerplan.

DONO Hartford LLC, Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction and Greenskies Renewable Energy are all owned by former State Representative Bob Landino who also formed BL Companies, a successful engineering firm that is also working on the stadium project.

Greenskies Renewable Energy was incorporated into Landino’s “CenterPlan” operation in 2009.

According to the company’s website, Stadium developer Bob Landino serves as Greenskies’ Chairman, Jason Rudnick is Vice Chairman and the three other board members are the company’s original founders, Arthur Linares, Michael Silvestrini and Andrew Chester.

Greenskies’ Arthur Linares serves as a Republican member of the Connecticut State Senate.   Senator Linares’ brother, Ryan, who also served as the senator’s campaign manager, is listed as an Associate for Centerplan Development, according to that company’s website.

The renewable energy company received a lucrative “economic development” package from Governor Dannel Malloy’s corporate welfare program.  In return for hiring four new employees, Malloy gave Greenskies Renewable LLC a $100,000 grant and a $250,000 forgivable “incentive loan” in the spring of 2012.  Greenskies now has the contract to equip the new stadium with solar power panels.

While the stadium developers and contractors may have made additional contributions to Bronin’s campaign as well, a review of the candidate’s campaign finance reports show that despite the “real concerns” that Luke Bronin has about the Dunkin’ Donuts Yard Goat Stadium project, his campaign has collected nearly $15,000 from the executives and employees of the companies directly associated with the construction project.

Of course, even before the checks arrived from the stadium developers, Luke Bronin had already ensured that his campaign was the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history.

As of September 7th, 2015, two months before Election Day, Luke Bronin had already broken the $1 million barrier with $947,628 raised into his own campaign and another $88,000 into the Hartford Democratic Town Committee fund that was helping to pay for a portion of Bronin’s get out the vote effort.

Footnote:

Bronin also took a $1,000 check last month from Dillon Stadium co-developer James Duckett, the CEO of Black Diamond Consulting group whose company is now caught up in the federal investigation into overbilling with that Hartford project.

Luke Bronin and his campaign know – Campaign Donation Limits are for Losers

Luke Bronin’s $1 million campaign to become the Hartford’s next Mayor has already shattered the record for the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history.

Under Connecticut law, a candidate committee for the position of Chief Executive Officer of a City (Mayor or First Selectperson) can only accept contributions of up to $1,000 per individual. (Connecticut State Statute Sec. 9-617)

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of State contractors, Hartford contractors, wealthy out-of-state donors and residents of his own home town of Greenwich, Luke Bronin has collected hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of $1,000 checks for his campaign.

In fact, it is fair to say that no municipal candidate in state history has raised as much from those who do business with the State, those who do business with the City of Hartford and those who lobby state government.

But as if that wasn’t all incredible enough, Luke Bronin decided he needed even more money to grease the skids of his political aspirations.

While the letter and spirit of Connecticut law says an individual can give no more than $1,000 to a candidate for mayor, Bronin and his team of political operatives decided that $1,000 per person just wasn’t enough.

So in the sixty-six (66) days between the day that Luke Bronin got the Hartford Democratic Town Committee nomination for mayor and September 30th 2015, the Hartford Democrats collected an additional $88,000 to help fund Bronin’s Get-Out-The-Vote effort.

Of that total, about 80% came from just forty individuals.

As a result of the higher allowable donation level for a town committee, 27 individuals donated $2,000 each and 13 additional people donated at least $1,000 each.

And it should come as no surprise that nearly every single one of those individuals had already given Luke Bronin the maximum allowable contribution of $1,000.

True – Connecticut law SAYS that an individual cannot give a mayoral candidate more than $1,000, but here were about 3 dozen people who were giving far more than $1,000 to benefit their candidate of choice.

Some would call it a loophole, others would say it was the politics of the possible and sill others would recognize it as a flagrant violation of the spirit of Connecticut law.

But Luke Bronin and his campaign will tell you their actions were perfectly legal and that campaign donation limits are …

Well, when you have people with a lot of money and who want to give, campaign donations limits are flexible.

It is just how the “game” works.

Here is a simple example of the scheme

NAME CITY STATE DONATION TO BRONIN FOR MAYOR DONATION TO HARTFORD DTC TO HELP BRONIN
Andrew Bronin Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Dorothy Bronin Stamford CT $1,000 $2,000
Rita Bronin Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Michael McKeever Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Valerie McKeever Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Darrrick Antell Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Susan Sonnenberg Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Sue Ann Weinberg Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Peter Malkin Greenwich CT $1,000 $2,000
Loretta Cohen Harrison NY $1,000 $2,000
Bruce Cohen Harrison NY $1,000 $2,000
Francis Parnes White Plains NY $1,000 $2,000
Mathew Canno Phildealphia PA $1,000 $2,000
Jess Amit Gupta San Franciso CA $1,000 $2,000
Alexander Gupta Miami Beach FL $1,000 $2,000
George Schweitzer Los Andgeles CA $1,000 $2,000
Eugen Berlanti Palm Desert CA $1,000 $2,000
Cheryl Chase West Hartford CT $1,000 $2,000
Andrew Pinkes West Hartford CT $1,000 $2,000
Suzanne Pinkes West Hartford CT $1,000 $2,000
Robert Patricelli Simsbury CT $1,000 $2,000
Majorie Morrissey Hartford CT $1,000 $2,000
William Peela West Hartford CT $1,000 $2,000
Carlos Lopez Farmington CT $1,000 $2,000
Mathew Byrnes Rye NY $1,000 $1,500
Gabrielle Canno Phildealphia PA $1,000 $1,000
Kevin Arquit Harrison NY $1,000 $1,000
Timothy Bannon Glastonbury CT $1,000 $1,000
James Mullarkey Hartford CT $1,000 $1,000
Stephan Hoffman Greenwich CT $1,000 $1,000
Tammy Levine Greenwich CT $1,000 $1,000
Arlyn Gardner Rye NY $1,000 $1,000
Desmond Smith Greenwich CT $1,000 $1,000
Rita Lane Harrison NY $1,000 $1,000

 

Outside money turns Hartford Democratic Town Committee into a Luke Bronin slush fund

Thanks to the behind-the-scenes involvement of Governor Dannel Malloy and some of Connecticut’s power elite, on Monday, July 27, 2015 the Hartford Democratic Town Committee endorsed Luke Bronin to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor rather than sticking with Democratic incumbent Mayor, Pedro Segarra.

That same day, Dorothy Bronin of Stamford and Andrew and Rita Bronin of Greenwich each wrote $2,000 checks made out to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee.

Over the following weeks, donors from Greenwich, Connecticut dropped another $15,500 into the Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s coffers.  An additional $13,000 arrived from New Yorkers, $8,000 from California donors and large donations from individuals in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Florida added at least $8,000 more.  Most of the checks were written for the maximum allowable contribution of $2,000 per person and many had already given the maximum legal amount to Luke Bronin’s campaign committee.

Although the Hartford Democratic Party reported no itemized contributions from January 1, 2015 through July 24, 2015, according to the Committee’s most recent campaign finance report that was filed earlier this week with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Hartford Democrats have raised more than $84,000 raised since Party establishment refused to support the city’s incumbent Puerto Rican Mayor and replaced him on the Democratic Party line with a wealthy, privileged candidate from Greenwich who has never run for office or been involved in municipal government.

The massive influx of campaign cash is particularly telling since over the past five election cycles, the Hartford Democratic Town Committee has never spent more than about $16,000 in a local campaign year.

Campaign Contributions flowing through the HARTFORD DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE

Campaign Year Campaign War Chest
   
2015 $84,000+
2013 $16,500
2011 $11,605
2009 $2,430
2007 $5,151

 

In addition to the massive level of donations from out-of-state contributors, the Hartford Democratic Town Committee has also received more than $10,500 from wealthy donors who live in West Hartford and thousands more from campaign contributors in other wealthy suburban communities.  State contractors and state lobbyists also wrote out large checks to the Hartford Democrats following their endorsement of Bronin.

Of the money spent by the Hartford Democratic Town Committee so far this fall, most of it appears to have gone toward Bronin’s “Get-Out-The-Vote” effort on primary day including $10,725.50 to an organization called Voices of Women of Color and $5,150 to Angel Morales who has faced a myriad of arrests, convictions and legal problems while serving as the Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s Secretary, an aide for the Connecticut Senate Democrats, a candidate for the legislature and a campaign worker in Hartford.

Considering a number of the largest donors to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee also gave the largest allowable contributions to Bronin’s own campaign committee, Bronin’s political operation was able to use a campaign finance loop hole to collect as much as $3,500 per person rather than the $1,500 per person that is allowed under Connecticut State Law.

With nearly $1 million raised as of two weeks ago and the majority of those funds coming from state contractors, lobbyists, out-of-state donors and contributors from his home town of Greenwich, Luke Bronin’s campaign for Mayor of Hartford had already become the most expensive mayoral campaign in state history.

Like Governor Dannel Malloy, Luke Bronin is making a mockery of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.

Not surprisingly, Luke Bronin and Dannel Malloy have the same set of campaign advisers and many of the same campaign donors, contributors who appear perfectly willing to do as directed to provide the two candidates with campaign donations that far exceed what state law intended to be legally appropriate.

Check back for more about on the state contractors, lobbyists and big money donors who have been pouring money into Malloy and Bronin’s campaign operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And for that, Bronin has Dannel Malloy to thank.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke & Sara Bronin and the “Laws are only for the Little People” Crowd

For weeks, Hartford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin was breaking Connecticut law by accepting a significant in-kind corporate contribution from the New York public relations firm that had hired Governor Dannel Malloy’s former spokesperson.

By using Andrew Doba as his own Press Secretary and Communications Director Bronin was violating two of Connecticut’s most important campaign finance laws, a prohibition on corporate contributions and a prohibition on contributions in excess of $1,000 when running for mayor.

It was only after Wait, What? reported on the Bronin campaign’s violations that Luke Bronin finally saw fit to end the illegal maneuver.  Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission has yet to fine Bronin’s campaign.

And yesterday, it was attorney and UConn Law School Professor Sara Bronin whose activities violated both Connecticut’s campaign finance law, and of even greater consequence, the Connecticut State Statutes that prohibits state employees from utilizing state resources to engage in political activities.

Fellow blogger and commentator Kevin Rennie revealed the latest chapter in the Bronins’ stunning and wonton disregard for the laws related to state employees and campaign finance in an article entitled, “Sara Bronin Has a Primary Request–and Sent It From Her UConn Email Account and published yesterday on his Blog, Daily Ructions.

In 2007, a similar violation by a Department of Transportation employees who was also a South Windsor Republican office holder and candidate led to punishment that included a 6 month suspension and unpaid leave that cost her $8,160 a month in her state salary.

As for Sara Bronin’s action, Kevin Rennie writes;

They are throwing everything they have at befuddled incumbent Pedro Segarra in his Hartford Democratic mayoral primary with Greenwich Brahmin Luke Bronin and Company. Below is an email Sara Bronin, the candidate’s abrasive spouse, sent today to University of Connecticut School of Law community from her UConn email account.

From: Bronin, Sara <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 8:18 AM
Subject: Election Law Monitoring 9/16
To: [email protected]

Hi everyone,

Putting on my Hartford resident hat, rather than professor hat for this community listserve announcement:  For those of you who may not know, there is a municipal election happening in Hartford this Wednesday, 9/16, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  One of the Democratic candidates is seeking law student/attorney poll monitors to ensure that the election runs more smoothly than last time.  (It was so bad that the State mandated a monitor to oversee the City registrar…)  For those of you who want to get some hands-on experience in election law, now’s your chance!

If you’re interested, please get in touch with Laura at 860-318-5279 or [email protected] and she will provide further instruction.  If you speak Spanish, please let her know.

Best,

Sara Bronin

Of course, as Sara and Luke Bronin must certainly know, the Connecticut state laws prohibiting state employees from using public resources to further a political campaign or engaging in political activities on state time could not be clearer.

And those laws have been regularly enforced…

In a similar situation in 2007, the focus was on Janice Snyder, a South Windsor Republican and DOT employee.

On November 3, 2007, the Hartford Courant wrote;

The chairwoman of the board of education, a Republican up for reelection Tuesday, has been placed on paid administrative leave from her job at the state Department of Transportation after local Democrats asked for copies of e-mails sent to and from her work e-mail account.

Janice Snyder, who has worked 32 years for the state Department of Transportation, was placed on leave Monday. Judd Everhart, a DOT spokesman, said Snyder would remain on leave “pending an internal investigation of the use of her computer.” Snyder is an assistant director of purchasing for the DOT.

The e-mails came to light after a member of South Windsor’s Democratic Town Committee sent a request under the state Freedom of Information Act to DOT Commissioner Ralph Carpenter.

While Snyder was eventually allowed to return to work, her punishment for violating Connecticut law was significant and costly.

Lets face it…Claiming ignorance of the law won’t be a good defense, especially since both Luke and Sara Bronin received their law degrees from the prestigious Yale University School of Law.

Perhaps even more relevant is the fact that Luke Bronin, who served as Governor Malloy’s chief lawyer from 2013-2015 and collected nearly $400,000 in taxpayer funded salary and benefits knows, or should have known, all about Connecticut’s ethics and campaign finance laws.

And there is certainly no excuse for Sara Bronin, who as a law professor at the UConn School of Law, has collected, over the years, a publicly funded salary and benefits in excess of $780,000 from the University of Connecticut.

The truth is that when other state employees and candidates have violated Connecticut State Law they have been held accountable.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether these two key allies of Governor Malloy are treated differently than everyone else has and would be treated.

Maybe, in the end, the Bronins are right…  Maybe when you travel in the “right” circles you get to play by a different set of rules because, when all is said and done, the laws really are only for the Little People.

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

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

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

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

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

In addition to his duties here in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy will become the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in just a few months.   In that role Malloy’s duty will be to raise money for the various Democratic candidates running for governor in 2016, while helping to get out the vote on behalf of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Malloy has already been to New Hampshire to campaign for Hilary Clinton.

Considering the incredible importance of Hispanic and Latino voters across the nation, Malloy’s involvement in helping to take down a major Latino leader will certainly not go unnoticed.

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

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

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

Bronin’s campaign donor list is also flush with more than 50 of Malloy political appointees, including many who are collecting six figure incomes after getting appointed to state jobs by Malloy over the past few years.  The list includes present and former state commissioners and deputy commissioners, executive assistants and appointees to various boards and commissions including the Parole Board, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Board of Regents.

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

As of the last campaign report, at least 33 state lobbyists, along with a number of their spouses had given to Luke Bronin’s campaign.  The list includes many of the most influential names in the lobbying business.

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

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

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

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

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

For example, The Konover Company, a real estate management firm that profits from state contracts poured at least $71,000 into Malloy’s 2014 campaign effort via the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”  Those same individuals are among Luke Bronin’s largest campaign contributors.

Another prime example of the Malloy/Bronin reach is the fact that Bronin has collected $4,000 from Anthony Gaglio, Anthony Gaglio Jr. and their spouses.

The Gaglios own Viking Construction Inc. a company that donated $63,500 to Malloy via what the Harford Courant called, “a controversial state Democratic Party federal account that supported Malloy’s re-election.”

Reporting on Viking Construction’s donations to Luke Bronin, the Hartford Courant explained,

“Calls to Viking were not returned Thursday or Friday. Viking, a major player in residential construction, was general contractor for an affordable housing development recently built in Darien in cooperation with Malloy and state economic development officials.

Bronin, responding to a question about the Gaglios’ contributions, said in an email Friday, “I was introduced to them by a supporter, and after sharing my vision for a vibrant Hartford, I was pleased to get their support.”

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

Among the large law firms that have provided Bronin with campaign donations are Pullman & Comely; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Shipman & Goodwin; Murtha, Cullina; Day, Pitney and Robinson & Cole.

These same firms were instrumental in funding Malloy’s Democratic Party campaign slush fund with about $45,000 coming from Pullman & Comely, $30,000 from Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, $11,000 from Shipman & Goodwin, along with sizable donations from Day Pitney; Robinson & Cole and others.

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

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

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

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

Connecticut State Contractors pouring money into Luke Bronin campaign

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

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

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

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