Saturday, January 29, 2005

B'Port State Senator Target of Federal Investigation

Ernest E. Newton II (D-Bridgeport) is the focus of a federal investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by either (or both) the senator and his sister. What's interesting is this:

Sources said the probe appears to be focusing on allegations that contractors must still "pay to play" in Bridgeport, as was the case during the administration of former Mayor Joseph P. Ganim.
Sources also reported that federal agents are investigating a vaguely defined job Newton had held with PSG, a Rhode Island company that ran the city's sewage treatment plants for years. Newton worked as a customer service representative.

PSG played a part in the corruption case that sent Ganim to jail for nine years. The company was linked to kickbacks to Ganim, and the current federal investigation into Newton and his sister may be a spin-off of that earlier probe.

Apparently Ganim was the rule, not the exception.

Source: Cummings, Bill. "Newton probe widens". Connecticut Post 29 January, 2005.

Unfortunately Bridgeport, too, seems to be the rule rather than the exception. In the past decade, corruption allegations have surfaced in three of Connecticut's largest cities: Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Haven (New Haven's mayor escaped corruption charges there in the late 1990s, but expect them to return from the grave--he's running for governor next year). There seem to be scams and shady deals going on all over the state.

So, what will the Democrats do with Newton? He's the number three guy in the Senate. So far, they're not saying much of anything. No one has encouraged him to step down, and Newton says he's staying. But if more comes out about this (and it looks like it will) the Democrats in Hartford ought to place pressure on him to go. I guarantee that the Republicans are watching very closely.

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