Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Democratic State Central Committee, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo, Paul Vallas Bridgeport, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo
A few days ago, Democratic Party activists received an email from Governor Malloy asking them to help with this year’s local election by donating to the Democratic State Central Committee.
In his email, Malloy wrote;
“We only have four days left until the polls open. On Tuesday, Connecticut voters will choose local leaders who will make important decisions about their towns and cities. These decisions will affect budgets, first responders, emergency services and schools.
By making a minimum $5 contribution right now, you allow the Party to help campaigns organize more efficiently, use campaign tools more strategically and contact even more voters between now and Election Day.”
Regards, Dan Malloy
But what Malloy didn’t say in his email is far more interesting than what he did say.
On September 9, 2013, the day before this year’s local Democratic Party primary, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee siphoned off $20,000 from its state account and gave it to Mayor Finch and the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee to help them fund their endorsed slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education, candidates loyal to Mayor Bill Finch, Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas.
The endorsed slate, which ran on a platform of support for the corporate education reform industry, went down to a stunning defeat against a challenge slate made up of local Democrats who support local teachers, local schools and local public education. The challenge state won, in no small part, because they opposed Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch and Paul Vallas’ education reform initiatives.
As local Democratic town committees across Connecticut know, pumping $20,000 of in Democratic State Central funds to prop up a locally endorsed slate is unprecedented.
For decades the tradition has been to leave local Democratic primary battles to the people in the local community.
But Malloy’s commitment to anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public schools shows no bounds.
And by waiting until the day before the primary, Governor Dan Malloy, Democratic State Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee could be sure that the media and voters didn’t know that the Democratic State Party was underwriting the pro-Vallas slate until after Primary Day. (State law requires that campaign finance reports be submitted seven days prior to the primary and then in October).
But now that the post primary State Elections Reports have been filed, the news is even more incredible.
In addition to giving Bridgeport’s endorsed slate $20,000, Malloy, DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee picked up the cost for all three local mailings for the Bridgeport endorsed slate.
Democratic State Central paid an out-of-state direct mail company of $9,471.44 on August 26, 2013, $3,911.21 on August 29, 2013 and $4,735.72 on September 10, 2013.
This means that in addition to the $20,000 donation to the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, Democratic donors from around Connecticut paid an additional $18,118.72 to support Bridgeport’s losing pro-corporate education reform slate.
And the amount spent to support Finch’s losing slate may be even higher since the State Party’s expenditures are listed as being for printing and don’t reveal if the Democratic State Central Committee also paid for the postage for these mailings.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that during the same time period, Democratic State Central Committee paid Governor Malloy’s chief advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso, a total of $13,500. None of those funds were allocated to the Bridgeport campaign, which seems odd considering how active Occhiogrosso has been in the corporate education reform effort in Connecticut.
Since January of this year, Occhiogrosso’s company has billed A Better Connecticut, the leading charter school advocacy group, over $2.3 million for television ads, polling and strategy to support Malloy’s education reforms.
Oddly, the latest Democratic State Central Committee report also fails to show any expenditures for polling and opposition research in Bridgeport even though it is widely known that a poll was done by the pro-Finch operation and an opposition research firm out of Oregon was hired to do background checks on the individual members of the challenge slate and their supporters.
With no expenditures listed for public opinion polling, opposition research or Occhiogrosso’s firm, the Bridgeport and Democratic State Central Committee campaign finance reports reiterate the likelihood that Finch, Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee violated Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.
Considering the historic role of the Democratic State Central Committee, the Bridgeport situation seems like an utter fiasco.
At least $40,000, and perhaps much more, was diverted away from helping Democrats beat Republicans and instead it was used to silence the opponents of Malloy’s education reform strategies.
Did the Democratic State Central Committee approve these massive expenditures?
Were Democratic Town Chairs told that they were raising money that would be spent in a Bridgeport Primary and not to beat Republicans?
What about the many donors to the Democratic State Central Committee’s annual Jefferson, Jackson Bailey dinner. Where they told their contributions were going to be used to fight Democrats and not Republicans?
And why is Governor Malloy misleading Democratic donors now by claiming that their contributions will go toward one thing when he knows that money is being spent for something else?
Finally, Malloy’s email contains one other extraordinarily interesting tidbit.
The small print of the email reads; “Your contribution will be used in connection with federal elections and is subject to the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contribution exceed $200 in a calendar year.”
In fact, in recent months Malloy has been raising money into the Party’s Federal Account. While Malloy can use those funds in a gubernatorial campaign year they cannot legally be used in local elections.
So while Malloy’s email says give $5 to help local races, it also reveals that the money may be shifted to the Democratic State Central Committee’s federal account where it can be used next year, when there are federal races, but not this year.
The questions about Malloy’s fundraising practices are growing exponentially.
Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Last April, Governor Malloy attended the “the star-studded White House Correspondent’s Dinner.”
His ticket and travel expenses were picked up by People Magazine.
The trip sparked a lot controversy including blog posts here at Wait, What? (Dannel’s Spring Break 2013 – The White House Correspondent’s Dinner April, 27 2013 and Wait, What? Malloy Reimburses People Magazine…)
At the time of the trip, Malloy’s office released a statement saying, “Instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayers, the Governor is personally paying the cost.”
Actually Malloy told Channel 8 news, “I could do it with state dollars, or I could do it with someone else’s dollars. I thought doing it with somebody else’s dollars made a lot of sense,”
But six months later, the Governor’s Office finally responded to a Freedom of Information request about the trip.
The documents that were released to NBC news revealed that while Malloy did “pay his own way” to the White House Gala, taxpayers picked up the $4,808.58 bill for his security detail.
When confronted about the conflict with the earlier statement, Malloy’s spokesperson explained that the Governor never said he was paying for all the costs associated with the trip to the Correspondent’s Dinner.
Instead the spokesman explained, “What we said was the Governor, rather than saddling taxpayers with the cost for his travel expenses, he paid for it himself.”
It campaign speak it is called “political spin.” In the real world it’s called never quite telling the whole truth.
Now questions are raging about Malloy’ recent California fundraising trip.
Both the governor’s office and the Connecticut Democratic State Party have refused to reveal details about the trip that Malloy took last Friday and Saturday.
According to the media reports, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee paid for Malloy’s trip…but that excludes the costs incurred by the state troopers who went with the governor.
So despite what the Governor and his operation said about the Democratic Party picking up the tab, the cost to Connecticut taxpayers for Malloy’s trip ran into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, as the Hartford Courant reported, the governor’s fundraising trip apparently including a stop to raise money from a California Democrat whose company has had “lucrative state contracts.”
But Malloy’s office and the state Democratic Party also refused to provide answers about the possible solicitation of a state contractor.
The Courant explained, “According to press reports, while on his fundraising trip, the governor was a guest of Lenny Mendonca, a prominent Northern California Democrat who co-founded the public sector practice at McKinsey & Company,” which has had contracts with UConn totaling $4 million over the past two years.
The Courant quoted Republican State Senator John McKinney as saying, “The revelation that the governor met with a state contractor while on a fundraising trip for the Democratic Party raises a number of questions. If the governor was soliciting a state contractor, or his employees for political contributions, then he clearly violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, if not the laws themselves.”
The Courant added,
“There was no response from the governor’s office. Malloy’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, referred questions to the state Democratic Party. The party’s spokesman, James Hallinan, had this to say: ‘The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’
But did Malloy meet with Mendonca, as Peterson’s tweet suggested?
Hallinan would not answer that question. Instead, he said: ‘Again, we don’t comment about [Democratic Party] finance issues. That’s just our protocol. The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’”
At a press conference yesterday, reporters asked Malloy, once again, about the California trip and whether he met with the state contractor.
About the trip, Malloy said “talk to the party.”
About raising money from Mendonca, Malloy said, “I think I did have contact with such a person but not in connection with raising — to the best of my knowledge — money for Democratic causes.”
Such a person?
To the best of my knowledge?
Whether you call it political spin or not telling the whole truth it is a sad commentary about Governor Malloy’s “commitment” to transparency, open government and telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Denise Merrill, George Jepsen, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Denise Merrill, George Jepsen, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Maybe they just can’t help themselves…
The television advertisement came on during the Cooking Channel’s popular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. One moment it was Guy Fieri talking about a fish taco and the next it was Governor Malloy telling people about a forum for distressed homeowners to be held Oct. 22 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. After Malloy extolled his dedication to helping keep people in their homes, Attorney General George Jepsen picked up where Malloy left off.
It wasn’t immediately clear who paid for the advertisement or why Malloy and Jepsen were the most appropriate people to tell those of us having problems keeping our mortgage payments current that help was available.
But apparently it was part of a multi-pronged public relations initiative following their press conference on the matter. (See Connecticut launches mortgage assistance forum; braces for prolonged shutdown, Connecticut To Hold Mortgage Assistance Event In Hartford On Oct. 22 or Sixth Mortgage Assistance Event Set Next Week In Hartford.
Considering none of the articles mentioned the television ads, maybe Malloy and Jepsen forgot to inform the media that they were using the mortgage crisis as a way to help push up their name recognition.
Television ads cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars, a piece, to run.
And most politicians love to have others pick up the cost of some of their ads. For example, “old timers” will remember Governor Rowland and his wife paddling around in a canoe as part of the state’s strategy to convince tourists to come to Connecticut.
Thinking about who is picking up the tab for the Malloy/Jepsen TV ads, it is hard to know what would be worse. Are the taxpayers paying or the banks that are involved in the program including Bank of America, CitiMortgage, First Niagara Bank, HSBC National Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McCue Mortgage, Nationstar Mortgage, Ocwen Loan Servicing, People’s United Bank, PNC Mortgage, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, Webster Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Meanwhile, the saga of Secretary of State Denise Merrill’s newsletter continues to attract attention.
The Courant’s Jon Lender broke the story last Friday with an article entitled Merrill Uses State Office To Send Newsletter To Democratic Activists.
As Lender reported, “Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has been using her taxpayer-funded office to maintain a computerized list of names and email addresses of thousands of Democratic activists and campaign contributors — to whom she sends a monthly newsletter touting her accomplishments.
Her actions are reminiscent of widely condemned practices by her predecessor in the office, Susan Bysiewicz. Bysiewicz’s campaign for state attorney general failed in 2010 amid a scandal over a politically tinged “constituent database” — which Bysiewicz maintained in her office and utilized to send a similar newsletter of her own.”
Following Lender’s story, Secretary of the State Merrill started back-peddling.
First came Merrill Says She’ll Talk ‘Later In Week’ About Newsletter
And then: Merrill Apologizes And Ends Newsletter and Denise Merrill Sees The Light, Drops Email List
These two situations raise significant questions about what is and what isn’t okay when it comes to maximizing the power of incumbency.
It seems pretty clear that sending a newsletter to political supporters is stepping over the line.
But is working to build name and image recognition by gratuitously featuring the Governor and Attorney General in television ads about mortgage assistance really any more acceptable?
It’s not as if the end game is any different.
Just ask all the Democrats who condemned and taunted John Rowland and his wife when they appeared in ads paddling around a Connecticut lake.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
In the world of politics, it was the type of media opportunity politicians dream about.
The Governor of Connecticut raced to New York City yesterday to the give top officials at Con Edison and the MTA “the old what-for” in response to the “catastrophic power outage on the New Haven Line of Metro-North Railroad that is causing chaos for commuters in southwestern, Connecticut.
After the meeting Governor Malloy held a press conference in Grand Central Terminal’s venerable Vanderbilt Hall.
“I have to tell you, I’m the governor of 125,000 pretty unhappy commuters right now,” Malloy told the media.
According to the Governor, when the MTA and Con Edison explained explained the three to four-week timeframe needed to fix the problem, the Governor’s retort was, “That’s unacceptable…We made them aware that’s unacceptable.”
With photographers clicking away and video cameras rolling, members of the media noted that “the governor appeared his usual coiffed self,” promoting one reporter to ask Malloy how he had gotten to Grand Central.
“’Not by train,’” Malloy said with a smile.”
Governor, just a suggestion… take it for what it’s worth, but next time, think about going with a frown or a grimace and the comment, “As a result of the MTA and Con Edison’s gross failure to do their job correctly, I was forced to take a car.”
Or at the very least, try not to smile.
It sort of detracts from your “message” that you understand the plight of the 125,000 Connecticut voters, I mean commuters, that you are trying to impress.
You can read about the exchange here: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Malloy-threatens-lawsuit-over-rail-service-4847267.php
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stamford Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stamford
Maybe it is unquenchable desire to alienate key constituencies within the base of the Democratic Party.
Or maybe it is just his feeling that he always knows best.
But last week, in the contested race for the Mayor’s job in New Haven, Governor Malloy, the titular head of the Connecticut Democratic Party, endorsed the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for Mayor, Toni Harp, over her other Democratic rivals.
Today, Malloy traveled to Stamford, but instead of endorsing the Democratic Party endorsed candidate for Mayor, David Martin, Malloy crossed over to endorse Martin’s challenger, William Tong.
It is an unusual move for an incumbent governor to get involved in intra-party battles; it is even more unusual for the party leadership to back the candidate who has failed to earn the support of the local Democratic leadership.
While both Martin and Tong are well-known in Stamford, the city’s Democrats endorsed David Martin for Mayor. Martin is widely recognized as a smart, dedicated and seasoned member of Stamford’s city government. Instead, Malloy endorsed William Tong, a long-time Malloy confidant.
David Martin’s campaign manager was quick to respond saying, “This election is about who will put the people of Stamford first and who has the experience to take action on day one. That is why David has earned the overwhelming endorsement of the Stamford Democratic Party…”
With fifteen days until the Democratic Primary, it will be to see how Stamford voters respond to Malloy’s endorsement.
One thing is for certain… With each passing day, Malloy seems to be increasingly dead set on giving more and more Democrats reason to leave his side.
Al Barbarotta, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Al Barbarotta, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Wait, Can you run that by me again…?
Over the weekend, three Connecticut Hearst Media Group reporters, Kate King, Neil Vigdor and Ken Dixon published a front-page story in the Stamford Advocate.
Considering it was the last “real” weekend of the summer and the newspaper’s primary readership is in Stamford, most Connecticut residents might have missed it.
However the piece should definitely be marked “MUST READ” since we’re likely to be hearing a lot more about this growing controversy.
The piece explores the relationship between Governor Dannel Malloy and contractor Al Barbarotta.
Malloy is renting his Stamford house for $8,000 a month. Barbarotta, a Stamford contractor who made tens of millions thanks to city contracts when Malloy was Stamford’s Mayor is “managing the house” for Malloy while he lives in the Governor’s Mansion.
Some of the newspaper’s findings are more than a bit breathtaking.
The Stamford Advocate piece starts with a description of a moment during a recent Stamford Board of Finance meeting in which a Hearst reporter asks Al Barbarotta, “if he’s aware of the unauthorized use of a city truck by a city employee whom Barbarotta hired to do landscaping at Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Stamford home, where Barbarotta is caretaker.”
“’No, I haven’t heard,’ he says sarcastically, smirking as he pulls the cell-phone from the pocket of his khaki pants…He brashly invites the reporter to look at the screen, which shows two missed calls from “GovernorMalloy.” Barbarotta likes to describe himself as the governor’s “best friend.” Cell- phone titles aside, he routinely calls the governor “Danny.” But the relationship between the two men extends far beyond the realm of friendship to the world of politics, power — and money.”
As the paper explains,
“Barbarotta’s construction company, AFB Management, has earned millions of dollars in outsourcing work in the city where Malloy was mayor from 1995 to 2009 and references that money can’t buy. In addition to Stamford, the firm’s reach extends from New Haven to Waterbury and Barbarotta’s hometown of Trumbull, with AFB managing 11 million square feet of public school facilities throughout the state and hundreds of acres of parks and beaches.
But controversy inevitably seems to follow the 62-year-old Barbarotta, a major bundler of campaign cash for Malloy, whose close ties to the governor have previously raised questions of impropriety and cronyism.”
As some will recall, Malloy and AFB Management were investigated by Connecticut’s Chief State’s Attorney just before Malloy ran for Governor in 2006. The corruption investigation was base don’t he allegation that “Malloy used his influence to award city jobs to contractors who worked on his home.” Malloy and AFB were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
Now Malloy and Barbarotta are back in the news, but Malloy is not bound by municipal ethics laws and apparently the relationship is outside of the jurisdiction of State Ethics laws.
In response to the Stamford Advocate, Malloy’s spokesperson acknowledges the close friendship between the two, but brushes aside any suggestion of an improper alliance between the first-term incumbent and the construction manager…’It should be noted that Mr. Barbarotta is not a lobbyist, is not a pre-qualified state contractor and does not do business with the state of Connecticut whatsoever,’”
But what is the relationship?
The weekend Stamford Advocate reports on Barbarotta’s role with the Newtown School following the December 2013 Sandy Hook Massacre.
“In the days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, the governor needed help with the sensitive task of relocating students from Sandy Hook to a moth-balled Monroe school. Malloy turned to his friend Barbarotta, much to the confusion of other contractors at the site.
A series of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act questioned Barbarotta’s role in the move, including an exchange between Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra on whether contractors should send their invoices to AFB. Barbarotta’s company manages school facilities in Trumbull, where he has traded barbs with Herbst.
‘I do not know what legal authority Mr. Barbarotta would have to tell subcontractors working on behalf of the town of Newtown to send invoices to his office,’ Herbst wrote.
Herbst provided the newspaper a copy of AFB’s directive to the contractors who were assigned to the Sandy Hook Elementary School relocation, as well as correspondence from Newtown counterpart Llodra.
‘I am remembering a conversation I overheard when Newtown first met with the team from Monroe at Chalk Hill School,’ Llodra wrote. ‘Al Barbarotta indicated to the group gathered that he was assigned by the governor to handle the entire project, including all the invoicing and the information about costs and donations would be turned over to the governor’s office.’”
Meanwhile, as noted, Barbarotta is taking care of Malloy’s Stamford house. The Stamford Advocate reports,
“In the Stamford landscaping work on Malloy’s property, city officials are now conducting their own internal investigation into whether Ron Markey, who is the city deputy tree warden and was working as a subcontractor on the governor’s property, violated the municipal code of ethics.
‘Ronnie Markey works for the city,’ Barbarotta said Tuesday. ‘AFB manages the city’s parks department. I’m an independent contractor so I do work all over the state. The governor asked me to help oversee his house. I called (Markey) up – the governor had no clue I called him.’ On Thursday, Malloy’s office released a copy of a bill for $1,596 for the tree work that Doba said the governor plans to pay and includes the customary 5 percent management markup fee assessed by Barbarotta.”
And the connection and relationship goes deeper and deeper.
According to the Stamford Advocate,
“The day before Hearst reported on the work at Malloy’s Stamford home, which the governor is renting out for $8,000 a month, Malloy showed up in shorts and a polo shirt for the grand opening of Parker’s Steaks & Scotch, a Trumbull restaurant Barbarotta is a partner in.
‘He has known the governor a long time,’ said DiNardo [Connecticut’s Democratic State Chair], who was also at the opening. ‘He is certainly supportive of the governor. In his business, he has tried to be bipartisan.’”
The paper also reveals,
“Barbarotta, his family and his employees are major supporters of Democrats, contributing $7,700 to political action committees and candidates in 2009 and 2010, including $4,250 for Malloy and now Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
In a process called “bundling” several AFB employees gave money that was recorded at the same time. On May 21, 2010, eight AFB employees contributed $100 each to Wyman.
When Malloy won the governorship by a mere 6,500 votes in 2010, Barbarotta co-hosted a victory party for his friend at the Old Town Hall in Stamford.”
There is a lot more to the story and the story is undoubtedly only the first of many.
Readers can find Saturday’s Stamford Advocate piece at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/The-man-Gov-Malloy-has-on-speed-dial-4758969.php#photo-5078635
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Teacher Evaluations Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Teacher Evaluations
With the 2014 gubernatorial election less than 16 months away and facing growing opposition from school teachers, parents and others who recognize the unfairness of attaching teacher evaluation programs to student’s standardized test scores, Governor Malloy announced today that he wanted to “reduce” the number of standardized testsand allow communities to forgo using test scores in their teacher evaluation programs.
However, even a quick review of his proposal reveals that his plan to give communities flexibility for only one year – thereby pushing the mandatory use of standardized test scores until after the next gubernatorial election.
Furthermore, even under Malloy’s plan students would be facing far more standardized testing next year.
But don’t let the facts get in the way of a political ploy to try to persuade pro-public education voters to overlook Malloy’s dismal record on public education.
According to a blog update posted on the Hartford Courant’s website;
“Connecticut students could see a different standardized test next year and teachers might not see the test scores used in their evaluations, if federal officials give the OK.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday that he wants districts to be able to give a test called the Smarter Balanced assessment, which is related to Common Core, an effort to create nationwide education standards.
And Malloy said he wants Connecticut schools to have the option to not use state test scores in teacher evaluations for the upcoming school year, as teachers make the transition to that new test.”
According to the Courant, “The Democratic governor said that such a change would be a “matter of fairness.”
In a quote that is truly laughable, Malloy went on to say, “We ask so much from our hardworking teachers…Providing a level of flexibility to districts will give them the chance to adapt to the many changes that are coming without backing away from the reforms we fought so hard to achieve.”
Readers may remember that it was only last month that the Malloy administration pushed through a legislative change that PREVENTED towns from coming up with their own teacher evaluation plans if they didn’t submit such plans by July 1, 2013.
So last month Malloy was taking away town’s flexibility and this month he is offering them flexibility for one year … an election year.
More of these antics to come.
You can find the Hartford Courant blog at: http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/gov-let-districts-make-test-scores-optional-in-teacher-evals/and a CT Mirror story on the proposal here: https://www.ctmirror.org/story/state-seek-flexiblity-rollout-teacher-evaluations-common-core
Bridgeport, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Working Families Party Bridgeport, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Working Families Party
FACT: Dan Malloy became Governor Dannel Malloy thanks to the Working Families Party.
When counting the Republican and Democratic Party vote, Malloy actually lost to Tom Foley by a vote of 560,874 to 540,970. That left Malloy 19,904 votes behind.
However the Working Families Party cross-endorsed Malloy and 26,308 Connecticut citizens cast their vote for Malloy on that Party’s line, which lead to Malloy a 6,400 vote victory over Foley.
Now comes the news that the political consulting firm associated with Malloy’s campaign has conducted a message testing public opinion poll to identify how to beat the Working Family Party’s Bridgeport Board of Education members and keep the Board under the control of members loyal to Mayor Bill Finch and Paul Vallas.
Talk about ungrateful…
It is not yet clear who paid for this political campaign survey, although more will be known after the next campaign finance reporting period.
What is known is that the survey has been done by a Florida polling firm called Kalamata Research, LLC.
According to records filed with the State of Florida, Kalamata Research’s co-owners include Global Strategies Group and Britt Power. Britt Power is an original Global Strategy Group’s employee and serves as the company’s Director of Corporate and Advocacy Research, as well as the head of the company’s Qualitative Research Department.
Global Strategies Group is also the home of Malloy’s former chief advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso and the firm work for both ConnCAN and A Better Connecticut, two charter school advocacy organizations that have spent millions of dollars lobbying for Malloy’s education reform initiative. In fact, A Better Connecticut, which was created by the present CEO and former CEO of ConnCAN paid Occhiogrosso’s company $2.3 million over a 90-day period this spring for media advertising to support Malloy, at the very same time that Malloy was demanding that the General Assembly fully-fund his charter school expansion and other “education reforms,” while making record cuts to a variety of other vital services.
As an employee of Global Strategies Group, Britt Power reports that she “specializes in devising customized positioning and research strategies for clients looking to extend or manage their reputations, launch services or products, expand their client base or gain a competitive edge. From website usability testing, to focus groups, to intricate segmentation studies and elite interviewing, Britt’s clients rely on her for savvy strategic insights.”
The “savvy” survey being conducted in Bridgeport asked questions about the level of support for Bridgeport’s education reform efforts, while testing the popularity of Paul Vallas and, none other than, Dan Malloy. Identifying recognition and support for possible messengers is a vital step in the process of identifying who would make the best spokesperson for the pro-Vallas, Democratic slate of candidates this fall.
Even more interesting, the Global Strategy Group’s political opinion survey sought to identify how best to attack the Working Family candidates by asking questions about present Working Family Party Board of Education members such as incumbent Maria Pereira.
The survey also asked about former Connecticut Superior Court Judge, Carmen Lopez, the leading pro-education advocate who brought the pending lawsuit the seeks to oust Superintendent Paul Vallas based on the fact that he lacks the legal qualifications to serve as Bridgeport’s superintendent. Lopez also played a prominent role in the successful effort to get the Connecticut Supreme Court to rule that the Malloy administration’s effort to take over Bridgeport Schools was illegal.
As Connecticut political observers know, Bridgeport also played a pivotal role in Malloy’s gubernatorial victory in the 2010 election and getting a handle on the present political landscape in Bridgeport would be very advantageous to Malloy’s re-election hopes.
That said, it is generally illegal for a political action committee or a nonprofit organization to conduct polling and then share it with another campaign committee. However, considering Global Strategies Group conducted this new political poll and serves as Malloy’s political consulting firm, it would be virtually impossible to determine whether information is being used for this fall’s municipal election or being used to shape next year’s gubernatorial election strategy.
What is clear is that some education reform advocacy group has just spent tens of thousands of dollars to hire Malloy’s political team to help protect the Bridgeport forces loyal to Mayor Bill Finch while seeking to develop information to run a negative campaign against the members of the Working Families Party….
Campaign Finance, Democratic Legislators, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance, Democratic Legislature, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Following the Rowland scandal, the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Governor Rell signed into law the most comprehensive state-level campaign finance reform initiative in the country.
Since then, incumbents have been chipping away at the law.
This year, Governor Malloy and the Democrats in the legislature made their most dramatic and audacious effort, to date, to undermine the law.
And they succeeded…with Malloy signing the new bill into law yesterday.
At a time when the public understands that campaign money plays too much of a role in American politics, Malloy and the Democrats took significant steps to reverse earlier limitations on campaign donations and spending.
As a result of the new law, significantly more money will be spilling into Connecticut campaigns.
Among other things, the law doubles the amount campaign donors may contribute to political parties and actually removes the cap on how much political parties can spend on publicly-financed candidates.
The most incredible new development is that the law now allows a candidate to help raise money for a political action committee that will later spend that money to support the very candidate who helped raise it.
As reported here at Wait, What? and elsewhere, Governor Malloy has held at least 15 fundraisers for a political action committee called Prosperity for Connecticut. Under the old law, there were severe limitations on how that committee could spend its money, ensuring that its primary purpose was not to support any affiliated candidates.
The new law changes that system completely.
Malloy can now help a Super PAC raise unlimited amounts of money and that PAC can then spend that money to support Malloy.
The effort to water-down Connecticut’s campaign finance law even brought former Governor Jodi Rell back to the public arena. In a written statement, the former governor said, “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.”
Malloy and legislators are quick to point out that Connecticut’s new law also includes a provision that requires groups making independent expenditures to disclose their campaign donors. This is certainly a worthy requirement, but they could have easily stopped there without using that positive development to cover up their ongoing effort to remove limits on their own fundraising and spending.
As usual, Governor Malloy explained away his actions yesterday with a slew of half-truths and deceptions saying, “The bill I’m signing today requires a level of disclosure that few if any other states require. No bill is perfect, but this bill makes Connecticut a national leader in requiring disclosure and transparency.”
Now that is an Orwellian description of a piece of legislation if there ever was one.
You can read more about the successful effort to undermine Connecticut’s public financing system on the following links; http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/hc-campaign-finance-changes-20130611,0,7166515.story and http://www.ctmirror.org/story/malloy-signs-campaign-finance-law-loosens-restrictions.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
For a Democrat to be elected governor in the State of Connecticut he or she must have the overwhelming support of Democratic voters and receive a sizable share of unaffiliated voters.
By simply focusing on the projected vote between Governor Malloy and Tom Foley, the media is missing the most critical piece of the story.
Since Malloy converted from being Dan Malloy to Dannel Malloy he has consistently worked to alienate the Democratic base.
While the latest poll gives Malloy decent numbers for leadership skills and his support for gun control, the survey indicates that Malloy does not have the broad based support he would need from Democratic voters to win.
The most revealing details include:
- Only 3 in 4 Democrats have a favorable opinion of Malloy.
- Only 75 percent of Democrats believe Malloy deserves to be re-elected.
- Only about 6 in 10 Democrats approve of the way Malloy is handling the state budget.
- And less than 2 in 3 Democrats approve of the way Malloy is handling education issues.
- Perhaps most unsettling for Malloy is the news that only 50% of Democrats approve of the way Malloy is handling tax issues and fully 40% of Democrats actually DISAPPROVE of his handling of tax issues
- And when it comes to the all-important issue of – “It’s the economy stupid” — 0nly 60 percent of Democrats approve of the way Malloy is handling the economy.
Having studied more than five decades of Connecticut election returns, the news contained in this poll is almost unprecedented for a Democratic incumbent governor.
The only news that is almost as bad is Malloy’s lack of support among the key ticket-splitting unaffiliated voters.
As of now, only 35% of unaffiliated voters believe Malloy deserves to be re-elected and an incredible 53% of unaffiliated voters DO NOT believe he deserves re-election.
The full poll results can be found here: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/connecticut/release-detail?ReleaseID=1911
Additional analysis can found in the Wait, What? post from earlier today:
The art of reading political polling: Headlines aside, latest poll is VERY bad news for Malloy
A quick sweep of this morning’s news headlines reveals the following:
CT Mirror headline: First 2014 poll shows Malloy trailing Foley by 3 points
CT Newsjunkie headline: Poll: Foley Beats Malloy By 3 Points
Hartford Courant headline: Latest Poll: GOP’s Tom Foley Leads Gov. Malloy, 43 Percent To 40 Percent
All three statements are “true” but none of them accurately report the key information contained in this public opinion survey.
At this point in the 2014 gubernatorial election one number rises above all others. It is called the “re-elect” percent. It tells candidates, campaign managers and political strategists where the incumbent really stands.
Malloy’s “re-elect” number in the latest Quinnipiac Poll is 44 percent. That means only 44% believe that Governor Malloy deserves to be re-elected.
It is a disastrously low number, probably the worst of any governor in the country who is considering running for re-election.
According to the new survey, 44 percent say Malloy deserves to be-reflected, 46% believe he does not and the rest are undecided.
The race between Malloy and Foley or Malloy and anyone is primarily the result of name recognition, and will change dramatically. Changing the re-elect percent is a much more challenging task.
The fact is that a candidate with a 44% re-elect percent is not in a position to win.
The poll also fails to properly explore a challenge to Malloy from within the Democratic Party or, more importantly, a challenge from a third party candidate running on a more Democratic agenda.
A third party challenge from a true Democrat would likely end any chance Malloy has to win re-election.
Headlines aside, this poll is disastrous news for Connecticut’s incumbent governor.