Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Moody Draws Fire for Ethics Violations

Chief of Staff “Unwittingly” Broke State, Rell’s Rules

M. Lisa Moody, Governor Rell’s longtime chief of staff, finds herself in ethics trouble today following revelations by the Courant that her actions in distributing invitations to a fundraiser to state commissioners violated her boss’s self-imposed campaign ethics standards, and quite possibly state ethics rules.

…Rell's top aide violated her boss's own ethics policies by handing out fundraiser invitations to top appointees on state time at the Capitol.

Chief of staff M. Lisa Moody also directed those appointees, the governor's commissioners, to distribute the invitations for a big fundraising reception last week. That was less than two months after Rell publicly reminded commissioners that it is against the law for them to solicit campaign contributions.

Despite the prohibition against commissioners and deputies soliciting contributions, Garfield said, state election laws do not ban a person in Moody's position from handing out fundraiser invitations in a state building on state time.

But Rell's own self-imposed rules clearly apply to what Moody did. On Oct. 19 … the governor's special ethics counsel, Rachel Rubin, issued a detailed list of policies and prohibitions for all agency heads and their deputies. First on the list: "State employees shall not engage in any political activity during regular working hours unless during lunch or while on approved leave."

The memo also stated: "State employees shall not use state funds for political activity. This includes the use of the office." (Lender)

Moody claims that she didn’t know she was violating ethics rules, and others in the Rell campaign, including the governor herself, say they were unaware of Moody’s actions.

I don’t believe the first. Moody has been around the Capitol for a long, long time, and is known as someone who pays a lot of attention to detail. She’s also one of the people who is primarily responsible for cultivating the governor’s image as a squeaky-clean reformer. She should know ethics rules for the state and for her boss’s campaign backwards and forwards.

As for the second…

Officials in Rell's campaign said they were unaware of Moody's actions, including finance director Peggy Deschenes, who was listed on the invitations as the person to respond to. (Lender)

Right.

So if Moody (and probably others) knew what she was doing, why take the risk? The answer, in all likelihood, has to do with the looming end of the fundraising reporting period. Rell’s own ethics rules make it nearly impossible to raise as much money as her Democratic opponents, but Moody must be under enormous pressure to deliver respectable numbers. The Rell campaign so far has seemed very willing to bend their own rules, which could eventually backfire on their candidate.

The elections enforcement commission, the same one that gave Rell a pass on campaign materials created too far ahead of the date of her official announcement, needs to make a good faith effort to get to the bottom of this.

There should be consequences for Moody, if Rell wants her image to remain untarnished. At the very least, the governor should consider whether having the same person run both her Capitol and campaign operations is in her best interests.

Lender, Jon and Edmund Mahoney. "After Rell Draws Ethics Line, Aide Crosses It." Hartford Courant 14 December, 2005.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is just the tip of the ice...Anyone who lives in a glass house needs to be careful when they start throwing stones.

Chris MC said...

Well, some things really do never change.

Looks like Malloy and DeStefano hit the nail on the head last week, huh?

Why hasn't Moody already resigned? How long before she's gone?

The Governor's duplicity on campaign finance reform is undeniable. Moody might not be Peter Ellef, but it is just a matter of degree, isn't it GC?

Genghis Conn said...

The Malloy campaign's initial response:

Calling it "part of a disturbing, long-time pattern," Democratic candidate for Governor Dan Malloy, Stamford's Mayor, today said, "For years, unethical and illegal activities have been occurring under Jodi Rell's nose - yet she never seems to know until after the fact. This latest incident is yet another indication that Jodi Rell is, at best, unbelievably unaware of what's going on around her."
...
"Clearly, Gov. Rell's aide shouldn't have done this - that's obvious. But I'm less concerned with whether or not this person is 'fired,' or resigns, than I am with the fact that for more than a decade Jodi Rell has failed to see - or at least has claimed not to see - improper activity all around her. At some point, people should stop allowing the Governor to use the 'I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing" defense, and they should start asking her the tough questions."

Anonymous said...

Moody isn't going anywhere. She is the Wizard behind the curtain. Rell will sink or swim with Moody captaining the ship, because there is no one else she trusts.

Anonymous said...

I guess Sweet Polly Pure bread ain't so pure!

Anonymous said...

It's the jet ski incident all over again. It's a non issue until the voters decide that Jodi is Eddie Haskell.

Anonymous said...

The only guy who can handle Rell is Kevin Sullivan. He proved his worth when he helped bring Rowland to justice in fron to of the GA. He's a pro and he knows the issues better than the two city mayors.

Anonymous said...

this really is a non-issue, but Malloy's response is sharp and on-point. Probably not worth whatever outrageous fee GSG is commanding, but maybe Roy isn't completely useless after all.

ticked off republican said...

As a Rell supporter I am disgusted. While I do not think that Malloy and DeStefano "hit the nail on the head" it will definetly hurt her campaign, even more so if Moody remains. Rell needs to ask her to step down or fire her at this point.

And to say she didn't realize this was against Rell's policy. You are her freaking Cheif of Staff, how could you not know!

Genghis Conn said...

The DeStefano response:

"Once again, Governor Rell was asleep at switch. For 10 years as Lt. Governor to John Rowland, she was asleep at the switch as scandal engulfed the Rowland-Rell Administration. She has been asleep at the switch as jobs have fled Connecticut, as the DOT’s trains were delayed by more than a year and as the Department of Social Services refused to release critical documents to the public. When is Governor going start taking responsibility for moving our state forward? We need leadership that isn’t asleep at the switch."

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Roy is useless as a senior campaign person...he is 0 for 4....he and Chris McCardle are the 2 biggest political ego's around with nothing behind them.

Mr. Reality said...

Lisa Moody was the same person who was seen HUGGING Tom Swan after the campaign finance reform vote. Republicans are already ticked off at her and the Governor over this campaign finance mess. They've boxed themselevs into a corner with this joke legislation. Meanwhile Malloy and Destefano take money from everyone, dirty lobbyists and contractors, PAC's you name it. The funny thing is people on this board who champion getting rid of this money support them 100%. Ironic isn't it?

Blue in CD2 said...

^

Please name the "dirty lobbyists and contractors" that Destefano and Malloy have taken money from. If you cannot give a specific example please, for the sake of everyone, refrain from throwing out spurious and unfounded claims.

Im not saying its not true, but if you are going to make a serious claim please back it up with facts, I for one would be the first to listen.

As far as this most recent ethics violation - I think "the Teflon Granny" will remain in her vacuum of acceptance. Until someone gets a picture of Rell strangling a kitten with her bare hands, she sees to be safe.

As far as that Destefano press release - how many times can use say "switch" in one paragraph? I mean, jesus, go get a thesaurus.

Mr. Reality said...

What I meant Blue was that during this whole campaign finance reform debate we were all told how bad this Lobbyist, PAC and contractor money was, thus the Dems made a point ban it along with our Democratic I mean Republican Governor. Because if it wasn't dirty then why in the world would we want to ban it?

After all it was CCAG and Common Cause talking about CLEAN campaigns, not me.

ctkeith said...

HUGGING TOM SWAN!

Thats a terrible offence but still ain't anyehere as bad as Kissing W/

I'll make the Anon repuke a deal.

You get rid of Lisa Moody and we'll get rid of Joe Lieberman and we'll call it Forgotten.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Anon, very true, i think we can agree that the O in Roy O stands for O-fer. however, it is nice to see our dem candidates directing their fire at rell, instead of each other. i do wish they would put more effort into positively defining themselves though as the majority of CT has no idea who they are. also, blue in ct, are the kittens that jodi rell strangles the same ones that nancy johnson later eats?

Franks said...

What Rell needs to do is have her "Ethics Czar" openly review Moody's conduct.

The Elections Commission would only look at the agency commisioners or deputies, if they engaged in any fundraising.

How many people did she approach, in what mamnner, where and when, are all additional news stories that will reflect on Rell

Anonymous said...

Besides, isn't the Elections Commission still investigating the DeStefano non-compliant contributions? They clearly aren't up to the task of their job, as that investigation was announced several months ago and still no word on the outcome. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to look into Moody's apparent breach. I agree with the previous poster -- an open examination by the "Ethics Czar" is in order.

Anonymous said...

The people at lobbying group Common Cause and the rest of them lied when they said corruption was tied to campaign money but they are paid by their lobbyist employers to get public financing of campaigns so thsy lied to get their way. So what else is new in politics and lobbying???

KerryGuy said...

The ethics czar couldn't be bothered to address the violations of her "other" full-time employer, UConn, so don't hold your breath waiting for a ruling on this.

turfgrrl said...

This is the problem when you announce policy and then forget to clue the database about it.

Not just another Anonymous said...

I'm not suprised by this at all. Lisa and Jodi have a long history or putting the squeeze on and using the system.

Lisa is no different than Rowlands people .. or for that matter DeStefanos or Malloys. Its politics as usual. Ethics reform is a joke absolutly nothing will chage irrespective of party.

BTW Anybody every ever take notice that when Jodi was touting that she doesn't meet with lobbyist that she was meeting with Tom Swan (lobbyist).

What? said...

Where did you see that she hugged Tom Swain? He's a big democrat campaign operative who helped beat a sitting Republican Senator.

I don’t believe that for a second. Try again.

ticked off republican said...

ct-keith

Only problem is that Republicans LIKE Lieberman. You are all mad he dupped you guys but we wlcome him to our side of the isle every chance we get.

Give us someone we don't like, say, DeLauro, and you got yourself a deal.

Dave Mooney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aldon Hynes said...

A couple quick comments:

The use of switch:

It is important to keep repeating the word switch, because we need to switch who is sitting in the Governor's office.

Egos:
You can talk about Roy or Chris having big political egos, but I'll tell you, if my ego wasn't so easily bruised, I'd be in there fighting for the biggest ego.

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Anonymous said...

There has to be a reason to 'switch' who governs CT. Malloy didn't do anything illegal under CT law and neither did Rowland as supposedly Morano, a Rowland appointee, dragged 300 wits before a grand jury of a Rowland appointed judge but no crimes were found to be committed in the state. And then later Morano even tried reluctantly and half heartedly to have Rowland arrested for violating the state's revolving door laws but the judged he picked to sign it wouldn't. Nobody pays attention to this stuff and nobody cares. People vote their pocketbook and neither malloy nor DeStef have offered anything but school yard bullying of CT's favorite auntie.

Anonymous said...

Aldon you have noreason for a large ego..you never have been a senior advisor in any campaign except your wife's losing one...ergo..you have no experience in order to have an ego...lucky for you...roy o on the other hand is just a political prostitute, and i am continually amazed why politicians would want to pay him money for advise when he never wins campaigns...

Anonymous said...

Why do you allow anonymous comments?

Aldon Hynes said...

Anonymous(11:13) Most people with large egos have no reason to have one. I made the comment to try and bring a little levity to the whole discussion.

Now, my ego is hurt.

Anonymous said...

Where aren't the Democratic leaders in the General assembly joining Distefano and Malloy in asking for Moody's removal? Answer: This is a desperate politcal move on behalf of two candidates that have zero chance of winning and their friends in the house and senate know it so they remain silent. Besides, how many of them realize that the solictation of state workers happens on a regular basis especially in the Democratic party where the state unions are married to the party. Don't look for Democatic leaders to speak out anytime too soon.