The governor's office has, at a cost of about $3,000 of state funds, printed up about 10,000 copies of a glossy brochure highlighting the achievements of Gov. Jodi Rell through the past year. Democrats and other opponents were quick to criticize the flier as suspiciously resembling campaign materials:
"I thought she had announced for governor and somehow I had missed it," said Roy Occhiogrosso, a longtime state Democratic operative and now a consultant. "It's either the least informative annual report ever, or it's a campaign mailing and she owes the taxpayers a lot of money."
But a spokesman for Rell, Rich Harris, defended the brochure as a useful means of communicating with citizens. He denied that it was promotional in its purpose, and said its timing had nothing to do with any anticipated run by Rell for governor in next year's election.
"The timing has to do with her one-year anniversary as governor," he said.
Huh. I seem to recall seeing something like this done in Massachusetts by the Romney Administration, so perhaps it's legitimate. But then again, the governor does seem to be using taxpayer funds to promote herself, even though she's not officially running for anything. This is one of those murky gray areas that Rell has thus far scrupulously avoided.
From an administration that has been very careful to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the release of this flier seems like a strange oversight. This is at worst thinly disguised campaign literature, and a misuse of taxpayer money. At best, it's an error in judgement by a governor who really should know better.
Lender, Jon. "Rell Flier Draws Critics." Hartford Courant 20 August, 2005.