The hearings into the events surrounding the fundraiser at the Marco Polo in December are continuing, although it's sometimes hard to tell. They've been lost in the manic pre-convention shuffle.
This is too bad. Some remarkable things have been said. For example, the chief of staff, Lisa Moody, said the following yesterday:
Moody further testified that ... she was not aware of a state law banning those officials from soliciting political contributions. That ban was referenced in an Oct. 19 memo that Rachel Rubin, then Rell's special ethics counsel, explained during a meeting Moody attended.
"I was not hanging on her every word," Moody said. "I was not paying attention."
Even though Moody's name was on the May 2 memo, she said Rubin was the principal author. She also signed an official acknowledgment, as other staff employees were required to do, saying she'd received and would obey the memo.
But, Moody testified, "I did not fully read, and comprehend and absorb this memo. ... I didn't take the time to read it - despite the fact it had my name on it. ... I made a mistake in having signed it, saying I had. ... I did not read it and memorize it. I admit that. And I was wrong not to." (Lender)
Then today Rachael Rubin, former "ethics czar", said this:
"I told her I didn't think it appropriate to hand out invitations in the office. I told her about the appearance of someone observing that might not approve, or say she was conducting campaign activities in the office ... She said that she would not do it again."
Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, vice chairman of the legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee, then asked Rubin, "She did do it again, didn't she?"
"I did not observe her doing it," Rubin said, "but apparently she did." (AP)
Moody must not have been paying attention then, either. She even sent an invitation to a Rell campaign event to Rubin, with the words "Pony up, Czarina" (a reference to Rubin's unofficial title) written on it.
Don Williams asked the crucial question:
The question Gov. Rell must now answer is, 'Is it really believable that Lisa Moody didn't know what she was doing?' And if Moody is not believable under oath, can she continue to serve as chief of staff?"(AP)
Gov. Rell has restated her trust in Moody's credibility, saying that her own trust in Moody is what "counts the most."
Being moral and ethical is about making hard choices. It's about putting what's right, proper and ethical above friends, family or even your own best interests. The need for members of the governor's staff to act in a forthright, ethical and upstanding manner, especially following the Rowland scandal, should come before the governor's friendship with Lisa Moody.
It's time to be stern, Governor, and make the hard choice. Moody isn't credible at all anymore, and she has either just lied or displayed an astonishing disinterest in campaign ethics to a legislative committee.
It's time for her to go. At this point, it's the right thing to do.
Lender, Jon. "Moody: `I Was Not Aware'." Hartford Courant 18 May, 2006.
"Rell's former ethics czar says she warned Moody about invitations." Associated Press 18 May, 2006.