Here are at least a few of those who attended:
The list includes at least 15 state agency heads, including the leaders of some of the biggest departments - such as Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Yelmini, Public Works Commissioner James Fleming and Leonard Boyle, the former federal prosecutor who is Rell's commissioner of public safety.
Also attending were the leaders of some lesser-known agencies, including Richard Gray, executive director of the quasi-public Connecticut Health and Education Facilities Authority; and Marie O'Brien, president of the quasi-public Connecticut Development Authority.
In addition to Boyle, Yelmini, Fleming, Gray and O'Brien, the following heads of state agencies attended the event: Transportation Commissioner Stephen Korta; Motor Vehicles Commissioner Ralph Carpenter; Environmental Protection Commissioner Regina McCarthy; Labor Commissioner Shaun Cashman; Economic and Community Development Commissioner James Abromaitis; Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell; Consumer Protection Commissioner Edwin Rodriguez; Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin; Robert Genuario, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management; and Jennifer Aniskovich, executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. (Lender & Mahoney)
Ignoring for a moment the fact that at least a few of these people may have been invited by means less than legal, the list itself is worth thinking about. As the article mentions, it's unusual to have so many powerful people together at the same fundraiser. Why collect them all together at the same place at the same time, and so early in the campaign cycle?
I believe that the answer to both this question and the question of why Moody and these commissioners were willing to overlook state campaign laws as well as the governor's own rules has to do with the approaching fundraising deadline. Rell very badly wants to prove that her method of raising money is just as effective as the traditional methods employed by the two Democrats in the race. She needs to do as well as or better than DeStefano and Malloy for the last quarter, or else face questions about whether she really can raise enough money for the campaign. That question leads to other, more troublesome questions about her viability as a candidate, and the depth of support for her in the state. Therefore, Rell's campaign needed to raise a ton of money from individual donors, quickly.
State department heads, all of whom were either appointed or confirmed in their positions by Rell, are some of the most reliable sources of campaign cash for the governor. Moody knew this, and probably put pressure on them to attend and donate. It paid off. More than $50,000 was raised in one night from people who have a vested interest in keeping the governor happy.
The fact that Moody was willing to break her boss's rules (and possibly state law) to get as many people to this fundraiser as possible suggests that Rell's campaign is not raising enough money. We'll see soon enough when their fundraising totals are released, but I'm willing to bet that the final number isn't going to be impressive. They have plenty of excuses (late start, strict self-imposed rules) but those won't be enough to stave off the questions.
That just leaves the problem of why Rell's campaign isn't releasing the list of attendee names. They would have been public knowledge had the campaign not returned the money, and, more likely than not, almost all of those people turned around and donated the money again. A quick scan of the people who donated after the Moody scandal broke will give us a good idea of who was there. Perhaps the campaign doesn't want to add fuel to the fire. I can't blame them. The Moody investigation is going to be a thorn in their side for at least the next month--maybe longer.
Lender, Jon and Edmund Mahoney. "Top Tier Gave To Rell." Hartford Courant 5 January, 2006.