Thursday, January 05, 2006

Courant Publishes Partial List of Donors at Controversial Fundraiser

According to this morning's Courant, many of the highest-ranking political appointees in the state attended the December 7th fundraiser at the heart of the Moody investigation. The Rell campaign has refused to release the full list of attendees on the grounds that because the money was returned, the list doesn't have to be made public.

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.

Source

Lender, Jon and Edmund Mahoney. "Top Tier Gave To Rell." Hartford Courant 5 January, 2006.

52 comments:

Blue in CD2 said...

Very well said GC!

Now lets see if the voter's catch on......

ctkeith said...

I wonder If Jen

Anonymous said...

A lot of these folks are holdover appointees from Rowland. You'd think they'd memorized the rules by now.

And then we have DPS Boyle who is supposed to be a white collar crime buster and DMV Carpeneter a former state cop who is blaming the local cops' lack of training for the DUI reporting screw ups at
his agency.

CT is a clown show!

Anonymous said...

It seemed reaonable that if the attendees at Marco Polo were not state employees that Rell could and should protect their names. I had seen five commissioner names when this broke and now I can't even count how many you posted there. If the attendees were state employees Rell should have honestly coughed up the names if she truly believed in ethics and that Moody's actions were "unwittingly" taken. She's boxed herself into a corner but my guess is the symapthetic 'free press' will, for the most part, give her the usual free pass to the bathroom.

franks said...

Genghis,

Aren't the other contributors the real story here. If you were looking to curry favor with Moody, Rell and infulence the head of a state agency then Marco Polo was the place to be and be seen.

Rell is making an mistake in not releasing the attendee's names, it invites a child's political game of Marco Polo in the press looking for the information, draging her campaign and her through a series of damaging stories examining her fundraising. Kevin Rennie's exposure of her use of lobbyists to rasie, but not contribute, is another indication that her fundraising is under pressure.

kerry guy said...

George Gallo had it right - they will all simply recut the checks, and their names will be reported as donors. What will be truly interesting is if the names of a lobbyist or state contractor come up as "unwittingly" attending the event as a guest. Don't put yourself on such a high horse if you don't know how to ride.....

Anonymous said...

Boy they never learn. If they had tackled this back when it first broke and released the names this would have played itself out last year.

Anonymous said...

Let's not make this investigation too complicated. The post says that 15 state agency heads were there. In playing "Am I hot or am I cold" with a reporter Rell had said the reporter was warm when guessing the fundraiser collected about $50,000. The typical take at one of these things is $2500 a head. Do the math and you'll see this was a Christmas - oops Holiday - party for Rell's agency heads.

Anonymous said...

Whoops...dumb me. I just read the embedded Courant story and the total at Marco Polo is 70 but I'm still going to guess it was a Christmas party for her staff including Deputy Commissioners, etc.

Rell has circled the wagons and hidden behind the investigation instead of telling what she knows. She is an amateur. Marco Polo, Marco Polo

Anonymous said...

It is not the crime, it is the coverup

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's always the coverup - like the way Lisa Moody reported herself to the elections commission (and put out a press release about it) and the way the governor is telling everyone to cooperate with Morano, period. Those dirty bastards - they're covering this one up, alright.

Sneaky of them to cover it up so good, huh?

Anonymous said...

Now it's Jodi "I'm not a crook" Rell. I watched WTNH at noon and I didn't see anything on Moodygate.

What this really goes to is Jodi's ability to do anything other than make statements to the press since obviously her people aren't hearing what she is syaing what she wants them to do without handing them instructions for an Erector Set or a Chia Pet - and then that goes to the ability and ethical standards of her people too now doesn't it?.

Anonymous said...

Nice try anon 2:41. Rell told them to cooperate but many of them are 'lawyering up' as they say on the tube. Why doesn't Aunt Granny tell us everything she knows about Marco Polo? Marco...

Proud Moderate Dem posing as Aunt Granny said...

Marco Polo was born in 1254 to Niccolo Polo, a leading merchant of Venice. In 1260, Niccolo and Maffeo Polo, Marco's father and uncle, traveled to Peking (Khanbaligh), which Kublai Khan had made the capital of his extensive empire. After nine years, the men returned to Venice having made a promise to the Khan that they return to China and bring with them some friars in order to aid in the introduction of Christianity. Seventeen-year-old Marco joined his father and uncle for this second journey, which began in 1271. The party was well-received by the Khan in 1275, although they did not bring the friars he had requested.

Because Marco Polo was more "a studious young man with a gift for languages" than a merchant like his father, the Khan appointed him to civil service in 1277 (Collis 382). Marco rose quickly through the ranks and was sent by the Emperor on several confidential missions. Marco eventually became pretect of Yangchow, an large city on the Grand Canal. "His career was the most brilliant any European has ever had in the Chinese service," and during his fifteen years of duty he gained much information about India and Japan and also learned of China through the Mongol point of view (Collis 383). When Marco applied for leave around 1290, the Khan refused because he could not stand to lose the excellent service of the man. Marco was finally granted leave in 1292, but only because he was thought to be the best man to escort the Lady Kokachin to Persia, where she would marry Kublai Khan's grand-nephew. Marco was allowed to leave on the condition that he would return to the Khan's service; however, the Khan's subsequent death released him from this obligation.

Marco continued his journey and arrived in Venice in 1295. At this time, Venice was at war with the republic of Genoa, and a ship on which Marco was traveling was captured by the Genoese. Marco was held prisoner in Genoa from 1296 to 1299, and it was during these years that the Travels was produced. Polo dictated to a fellow prisoner by the name of Rusticello of Pisa. After his release in 1299, Marco Polo lived in Venice where he became the joke of the townspeople who did not believe his travel stories. He died in 1324 and was buried in the Church of San Lorenzo.

Anonymous said...

Is the Governor really a grandmother or are you just making fun of her because of her age and because she is a woman?

I thought you liberals were all about diversity and sensitivity. Too bad she's not Jewish and black...then you really could have a field day!!!

MikeCT said...

Our own Rep. David McCluskey was interviewed today on public radio's national Marketplace program about a "health care campaign in 31 states to ensure the largest corporations, such as Wal-Mart, stop shifting health care insurance costs onto workers, taxpayers and other businesses."

MikeCT said...

Oops, sorry - meant that post to go in the open forum.

Anonymous said...

Genghis-

Unfortunately for your pontificating, I've been told that the Rell campaign will have raised in excess of $850,000 in the last quarter. That's more than any candidate has raised in a quarter yet and sets her on pace to raise between $3-4 million for the campaign. Back to the drawing board?

ct_guy said...

Once again DeStefano stumbles over himself:

Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s secretary and her City Hall extension should not have been used to receive RSVP calls for a gubernatorial campaign event earlier this week, the mayor’s spokesman acknowledged Thursday.

Well well, a government staffer playing a role in a fundraising event? Why does that sound so familiar? Hmmm... oh that's right it's EXACTLY what he's been attacking the Governor for!

It's just one mistep after another for that campaign lately. Bungled ID card plan, screwing up their filing, and now this... what's next??

From here

HypocriteWatch said...

Stand by for windy and slightly hysterical explanations from DeStefano acolytes about how this is different -- another clerical mistake, no doubt, to be dismissed with a shrug and a "What, Me Worry?" smile. Or Shonu will tell us how this is a traffic ticket compared with the GOP bank robbery.

Anonymous said...

Marco Polo is a kids Game that is to be played in a swimming pool.

Object of the Game: Not to get caught by "Marco" (the person who is "it")

Rules: One person is chosen to be "it" he/she closes his/her eyes and gets on one end of the swimming pool. He/she counts to 10 and shouts "Marco" and all the others in the pool shout "Polo". The one that shouts "Marco" has to try and catch one of the persons who shouts "Polo". It can be shouted as much as possible. Once he/she catches a person, then that person is now "it" and so on.....

And as for the Aunt Granny tag, it's the one Rell has asked for if you listen to the way she talks to (or is it patronizes? take your choice) the electorate.

Anonymous said...

ct_guy,

The article actually states that it was NOT a fundraiser and not one dime was collected at the event. That's not spin, that's the truth. So it's not at all what Rell and her staff did and, in fact, is not illegal at all.

Anonymous said...

Employers don't generally pay for their employees housing, heat, lights, maintenace or food so I do not know why they should be paying for their healthcare except that during WWII employers started doing it to get around the wage and price controls so they could keep good employees. We live a lot longer these days and it has less to do with the cost of healtthcare doubling as a % of GDP and more to do with improvements in the work place, the environment and education. We pay entirely too much in this country and this state for doctors and hospitals (CT has one of the highest per capita costs). GM was and maybe still is the biggest private purchser of healthcare in the country and they are going in the tank soon to be passed and possibly oblitersted by Toyota. McCluskey is working on the right problem but he has the wrong solution. There are other ways to block WalMart like stop giving them tax breaks to set up in CT.

Independent1 said...

The New Haven Independent has a story on DeStefano using city workers on city time also.

Karl said...

Looks like the DeStefano campaign is taking a play from my playbook.

Have a staffer do something questionable, but not illegal, like take six RSVP's to a nonfundraising event. Just enough to keep the discussion about the criminal investigation into the opponents campaign alive.

Brilliant!

Blue in CD2 said...

^

Thanks for posting that. I missed that JI article.

Best nugget from the article -

Mayor DeStefano refused to answer questions about the matter when asked about it Monday night. He was talking to reporters and to the public on the second floor of City Hall when asked about the invitation. He started laughing and walked away, dismissing the question as beneath him. "I didn't even pay attention to it," he said. "If that's the best they're coming up with, good!"

WOW. Its seems that if JD "dismissed" a few more campaign bungles, he wouldnt even remember he was running a campaign for Gov.!

Bush league.

Anonimity Breeds Contempt said...

Is it just me, or is everything "beneath" the interest of Mayor Destefano.

How tall could his horse be?

"The Anonymous will inherit the Earth"

ct_guy said...

Anon 10:26,

Blue in CD2 pretty much summed up my point.

DeStefano is running for Governor on, amongst other things, a platform of ethical reform. He has repeatedly said Rell is "asleep at the switch" and basically is not running a tight enough ship.

Well what does his campaign tell us about the kind of ship he runs? Let me assure you that the people running his campaign will be the very people he brings in to run his Governor's office if elected. This is no longer one isolated mistake; they are showing a pattern of inept behavior. Worse still, he is shrugging off problems that are remarkably similar to what he's attacking the Governor for. He seems, to put it bluntly, rather full of sh*t.

Honestly, the quote from that article sickens me: "I didn't even pay attention to it. If that's the best they're coming up with, good!". Frankly, that type of arrogance reeks of John Rowland.

Anonymous said...

Is Genghis Conn a decendant of the Kublai Kahn?

And where's Aldon after last night's drinkfest? Hope he's OK.

Anonymous said...

DeStefano needs to find better people to run his campaign, using city employees to scheldue him, cops to drive him and his mayoral spokesperson to answer media sent all the wrong signals.

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(11:09): Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just tied up with a bunch of other issues. The drinkfest was good. When the dust settles, I’ll write a blog entry about it and talk about round two.

As to someone at Mayor DeStefano’s office receiving a couple phone calls from people saying they would attend the non-fundraising coffee and desert celebrating Mayor DeStefano’s inauguration, yeah, as you all expected, I don’t find it a big deal.

I was at the coffee and desert. If anything, the biggest topic of discussion, other than how good some of the deserts were, was about the Mayor’s youth initiative. I hope you’ve been reading some about the youth initiative, on the blog, at the New Haven Independent, as well as from traditional news sources.

Yes, ethics are important. However, I thought ethical reform was Rell’s key issue. While we want ethics in government, I believe Mayor DeStefano’s key issues are about things job growth, transportation, education and health care.

So, to Karl, as much as we think Rell talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk when it comes to ethics, our desire is to talk the talk and walk the walk on bigger issues like how we can make Connecticut better through initiatives like Mayor DeStefano’s youth initiative.

Anonymous said...

Jeez sometimes it's better not to try Aldon. You basically just said that the DeStefano campaign is trying to focus on issues bigger than ethics. Nice.

Also, in interest of keeping our FACTS straight, it wasn't that "someone at Mayor DeStefano’s office received a couple phone calls", it was that an invitation paid for by the campaign directed people to contact the mayor's office (and the CITY EMPLOYEES there) to follow up. This, while legal, is not very ethical.

By the way the AP has now picked up on this as well.

Anonymous said...

Aldon; glad you're OK. Thought you might have been a little hungover if the drinkfest had been a throwback to a hippiefest. DeStefano reads real well, and he's no doubt bright, but he's a little bit of an enigma for me as I try to figure out what lever (and it will be a lever) to pull this November. Some of the stuff he is done in New Haven on development and transportation and even taxes seems counter to his staed policies. That's my perception and not an attack.

Rell is staring to do some things that makes sense so maybe somebody better than Moody is now pulling her strings.

My vote will be for what admin will take the stae in the right direction.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Not only does Aldon suggest that DeStefano is only interested in walking the walk on issues "bigger than" ethics, he fails to note that DeStefano dispenses a torrent of ethics advice to Rell and others while doing it.

"Governor Rell needs to stop hiding behind her press aides blaming others. She needs to hold a news conference today to answer questions," stated DeStefano. - DeStefano news release, December 15

His pal Kevin Sullivan, meanwhile, spouts off about wanting the governor to "do as she says, not as she does." Kevin will want to hold a news conference on this issue soon, don't you think?

Also, we will all be waiting with bated breath for Nancy DiNardo to demand that DeStefano reimburse the city for the costs of the secretary's time - just as she demanded Moody's time be repaid.

And isn't there a ban on one campaign paying the expenses of another? Aren't inaugural celebrations considered campaign expenses?

But hey, no big deal. The Mayor says the questions are beneath him.

"The Governor owes the public answers,” said DeStefano. - DeStefano news release, December 15

All together now: Hypocrisy still sucks.

Becky said...

Anonymous 11:43...

I am the DeStefano for Gov. Scheduler - a paid staff member. I keep a schedule separate from the city's schedule. The mayor drives around in a campaign car - paid for by DeStefano for CT. A paid DeStefano Campaign staffer drives that car. If you have not noticed Shonu Gandhi is our campaign spokesperson - she handles all press inquiries. Any other questions?

Aldon Hynes said...

Yes, I do believe that Mayor DeStefano’s youth initiative which he spoke about at his inauguration is much more important than the couple of phone calls that at city employee received about an inauguration event at the Mayor’s house.

Yes, I do believe that elected officials owe the populace answers. The Mayor has said that this was an inconsequential incident. The State Elections and Enforcement Commission has concurred. I don’t see what else needs to be said. Meanwhile, we are still waiting to hear back from the two separate investigations in to Moody’s actions

Anonymous said...

Becky, you must have been off on those days that Bass wrote about, like...

Tuesday 10/11/2005

* Fairfield Day
6;30a-7:30a: Police to pick, up mayor @150 Judwin Ave.
8:15a-9:15a: Clarke's
10:00a-11:00a: @Starbuck's 19 Post Road West Westport
12:00p-1:00p: 35 Mason St. 3rd floor Greenwich
2:30p-3:30p: Scheduling mtg. w Karen DuBois Walton, Rob Smuts, Chrissy Bonanno, Kate McAdams, Paul Nunez, Derek Slap, Shonu Gandhi, Michael DePalma and Rosemarie Lemley
3:30p-4:00p: Mtg. w Karen DuBois Walton, Frank Altieri, Mark Pietrosimone and Joe Clerkin Re: Budget
4:00p-5:00p: Mtg. wi Jim Maloney, et als @ mayor's office
5:00p-6:00p: Mayor's Night In
8:00p-9:00p: New Canaan Town Comte. mtg. @Town Hall/main auditorium/back door Main St. New Canaan

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2005/10/anyone_home.html

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(1:51) Actually, what you have there is the schedule from the Mayor's office, and not the campaign schedule. Becky keeps the campaign schedule. It is worth noting that the campaign does try to keep the Mayor's office informed of activities that the Mayor is doing during the campaign in an effort to avoid scheduling conflicts.

I will also comment on the New Canaan DTC meeting, since I was there. Becky did drive the Mayor down to that meeting (since it was a campaign event, and not a Mayoral event). There was a good discussion about issues there, job growth, transportation, affordable housing. I would encourage all of you to get involved with your local town committees, find out when Mayor DeStefano will be there and go hear him.

Anonymous said...

Aldon: Distinguishing the "mayoral schedule" from the "campaign schedule", Bass reported police pickups on five days.

BECKY said...

As scheduler I schedule all campaign events.

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(4:08) I'm glad the Mayor was attending to Mayoral duties five days a week.

Anonymous said...

Great, crime's so low, cops are doing taxi duty.

Independent1 said...

Aldon & Becky .... touchy, touchy, touchy!

Aldon Hynes said...

Yeah, we shouldn't have police escorts for elected officials. We should do away with Secret Service as well.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Aldon, now you are just being silly. the correct thing to do here is for you and the JD campaign to acknowledge mistakes and make efforts to make the campaign more professional. by going immediately to the defensive and the dismissive, you hurt the very cause you are trying to help. as democrats look for a candidate to support, we want to see campaigns that are run with precision, not strife with beginner mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Does the DeStefano campaign use a Prius or is that just a show car paid for by the taxpayers,

methinks he's back riding large in the Lincoln SUV..@ 7mpg

DeanFan84 said...

Again, you guys want to confuse a simple mistake, with an intentional violation of campaign finance law. Are we incapable of discerning the differences?

Do we get to play this "gotcha" game every time a campaign staffer makes a mistake? There is no evidence that the rules were purposely abused.

That being said, the DeStefano campaign clearly needs to get its act together. And Proud Moderate Dem, I agree with you completely.

DeanFan84 said...

Regarding the Mayor's transportation, the former Mayor had a paid driver. When DeStefano was elected, he decided he would drive himself. The city does provide him with a car, which used to be a big, black Lincoln Navigator.

He now drives a Prius.

Anonymous said...

DF, that's his taxpayer proved show car. Think Ms. Gandhi is shlepping him to the Gold Coast looking for scratch in THAT ride. I doubt it.

He's back in the Lincoln burining a huge hole in the Strategic Pertoluem Reserve.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

DF84 said, Do we get to play this "gotcha" game every time a campaign staffer makes a mistake?

I dunno, DeanFan. Whatever we're doing, though, it looks like we're going to get to do it on a pretty regular basis, doesn't it?

And - though it's anathema to you to admit it - ct_guy is dead on when he says, [T]he people running his campaign will be the very people he brings in to run his Governor's office if elected.

Shonu for chief of staff? The mind fairly boggles. Talk about amateur hour! Say what you will about Moody - and God knows, you and The Ethics Mayor have had an awful lot to say - at least she has some experience in the job.

But then, being a freshly minted Yalie, Shonu probably already knows every damn thing worth knowing anyway, right?

Still looking for those Malloy, Sullivan and DiNardo news releases, by the way ...

Anonymous said...

Aldon, which of these folks require a police escort while campaigning

Dodd
Lieberman
Johnson
DeLauro

or in the past, Curry, Kennelly or Bysiewicz?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that we need laws to tell our politicians what is right or wrong but that's the way it goes. Political Ethics should always be at least one step above what is required by the law and not always being tested as mob bosses and teena gers do.