Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Senate Researching Expulsion Rules for Newton

Newton May Face Senate Investigation

Just the other day, the Democratic Senate seemed willing to let the federal investigation of Sen. Ernest Newton, who is caught up in several ethical scandals at the moment, conclude before launching its own investigation. Calls for his resignation were held to be a bit premature. Today, they're looking at ways to kick him out:

Senate Democratic staff are researching the rules for investigating and possibly expelling a senator.
...
Williams said Connecticut has never taken the step of investigating and possibly expelling a legislator for violating the public trust.

"It has happened in some other states and we are doing the research right now in terms of what allegations, or in some cases specific convictions, have given rise to an expulsion procedure," he said.
...
Newton cannot be impeached under the state constitution. But the Senate can investigate a member and, by a two-thirds vote, expel him.
(AP)

A few more promiment legislators, including Republican Rep. Arthur O'Neill of Southbury (who chaired the Rowland impeachment committee last year--and did so quite honorably) are calling for a legislative investigation. So far, none is forthcoming.

Pressure for Newton to resign or at least level with his constituents is slowly starting to build. So far, on his lawyer's advice, he hasn't said a thing either way, which has the unfortunate effect of making him look guilty.

Newton has a reputation for being very stubborn. Maybe that's why they're looking at the expulsion rules: just in case.

Source
Senate investigates expulsion rules as Newton probe continues." Associated Press 18 August, 2005.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for Senate Democrats! They are doing what the three Democratic guberatorial candidates were too weak to do-- stand up to corruption in our own party.

If Newton is innocent, he should say so-- he hasn't even made that claim publicly. If he is guilty, he should resign. If he refuses either path, they should start an investigation followed by impeachment.

I don't think it i will come to that. I think (and hope) he will resign soon.

Slow Rheal Cormier said...

I am glad to see that the Senate Democrats are at least doing something about this. Our inability to act has already allowed Republicans to claim the moral high ground on campaign finance reform, and if Democrats continue to look like they are standing by Newtown they will look like hypocrites.

Nate said...

As has been pointed out, this is distinctly different from the Rowland situation in that Newton has not admitted to anything at this point (nor has he denied anything). I have no problem with calls for his resignation, I think that's entirely appropriate at this point. But expelling him without an investigation seems unfair to the people of Bridgeport-- they democratically elected him, and to cast their will aside without proof or evidence would be unjust. Realistically, his resignation/expulsion should not and will not close this matter anyway. A legislative investigation should be started immediately.

Genghis Conn said...

Nate,

I don't think that they're particularly serious about expelling Newton. They may be doing the research more as a way to send him a message than actually planning for his expulsion. I can't imagine that they would do anything without investigating the matter first. That may in fact be part of the rules, I don't know.

Genghis Conn said...

slow rheal cormier,

Democrats have a problem of leadership, and they have a problem of complacency, I believe. Legislative Republicans actually seem a little more focused, as of late; if only because they're finally starting to figure out that they are now entirely an opposition party.

BDRubenstein888 said...

I remember the old days when folks were innocent until proven guilty and people didnt act out of rank political expediency.

If the charade of a Senate investigation continues Newton's lawyer will have him plead the 5th amendment.

The present political climate where both parties try to be " holier than thou" reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials

Genghis Conn said...

I really don't think that the Senate will do a thing to him until they find out one way or the other what's going on. The federal investigation will be crucial to what the Senate does.

Again, I think the researching of expulsion rules is mainly to scare Newton.

Nate said...

Genghis, you're probably right about this being a scare tactic. This definitely allows the Dems to make a statement without anyone actually having to call for his resignation at this point.

FrankS said...

From the CT Post story noted earlier, Newtown disclosed the income and it's source on his ethics statements, that's hardly a bribe. If Newtown had no control over the state grant money awarded it sounds like a very difficult case.

Senate Democrats and Rell should be asking the state officials that proposed the grant and those who reviewed the proposal to explain and disclose how Newtown infulenced them.

Genghis Conn said...

Frank,

I'm not sure how getting money for something he shouldn't have been getting money for is not a bribe... very strange. But I don't know all the details, yet, although I'm not sure what reason Godbolt would have to lie about it.

And is a bribe still a bribe if you don't deliver?

FrankS said...

Genghis,

Godbolt is now a convicted embezzler, hardly credible and would probably say anything to lessen his sentence.

Newton's work for the agency was apparently properly reported and he had no control over the money being sought. Other state officals had to request the money and approve the request. If the money was improperly requested and approved, we need to have these other state officials exposed and removed.

How many state legislators work for groups doing businesss with the State? State grants and contracts are big business, just ask former State Sen. Aniskovich.

Anonymous said...

I think FrankS has hit the nail on the head. As DeLuca said in one report this week there are numerous legislators "working" for groups receiving state money. I realize that it's a part time job and they need to make a living. However, there's a difference between a real job where actual time and work is required and an arrangement whereby somebody gets put on the payroll soley to deliver the goods. And as everybody should know the legislature won't allow their Ethics filings to be posted on line so they go out of their way to keep this quiet. I'm won't go so far to claim it's criminal, but this does have the potential to develop into one "smelly" situation. That's one reason they wish Ernie would just disappear.