Friday, October 06, 2006

Slushy

Updated 10/7, 3:47pm: See below

Gov. Rell has apparently broken one of her own rules regarding slush funds, according to the Journal-Inquirer:
Five months after sealing so-called "slush funds" in the state budget, Gov. M. Jodi Rell reversed herself this week, drawing $20,000 to help a fellow Republican from Windsor seeking re-election.

Rell's budget director, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Robert L. Genuario, confirmed Thursday that his office approved $20,000 for the Suffield Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle. (Phaneuf)

Okay, so she probably did this for the right reasons. Later on in the article, Fahrbach says that she's been working for a long time to get this vehicle, and I'm sure it's something the fire department needs.

Still. It looks kind of rotten.
[House Speaker James] Amann said "there is no doubt this is a double-standard" for the administration to decry this budgeting practice, then use it to assist one of Rell's political allies.
[...]
Republican legislative leaders also have criticized these funds, which were regular budget components under former Gov. John G. Rowland, a Republican who also had to work with a Democrat-controlled legislature. Republican lawmakers said the funds are used primarily by Democratic legislative leaders to fund pet projects and win votes, without these projects being identified publicly and having to undergo the scrutiny of the budget process.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, called the accounts "back-door budgeting" back in May and praised Rell's decision then to seal the funds. (Phaneuf)

This isn't a huge thing. It's going to a good cause.

It also happens to benefit a Republican state representative in a re-election race. It violates her own rule about slush funds, and re-opens them to Democratic use as well as GOP.

And that's what bothers me about Rell. She champions reform, but then either she or someone on her staff acts to undo things in small, yet significant ways. Three steps forward, one step back.

Most people won't pay attention. This is a complicated and boring one, like the Moody scandal, that most people won't care about. But it's there. Add it to the list.

And seal the slush funds for good, next year.

Source
Phaneuf, Keith. "Rell flip-flops on 'slush funds' ; taps account to help Windsor Republican lawmaker." Journal-Inquirer 6 October, 2006.

Update: 3:47pm

Derek Donnelly, who is running against Fahrbach, released this statement:
Derek Donnelly, Democratic Candidate for State Representative in the 61st District, announced today that once elected, he will introduce legislation to end the
practice of funneling money through secret "slush funds."

"An equitable and transparent system," Donnelly said, "is imperative to ensure that hard-earned tax dollars are spent appropriately. State funds should be used to assist municipalities in lowering property taxes, not to assist endangered incumbents with their re-election efforts."

Donnelly said his legislation would end the practice of distributing funds without the approval of the legislature.
[...]
Donnelly, who is endorsed by the Uniformed Professional Firefighters of Connecticut, did not criticize the intended use for the funds. He was, however, admittedly confused as to why the incumbent would attempt to acquire funding for the SUV, particularly after the Board of Finance approved funds in the last budget to pay for this vehicle.

"Clearly, the incumbent utilized these secret "slush funds" to advance her reelection effort," Donnelly said.

Even if such a bill were passed, I wonder if, should Rell be elected, it would get past the governor. She's territorial.

18 comments:

ken krayeske said...

Cliff Thornton and I visited Gov. M. Jodi Rell's train and bus press conference in Windsor Friday. The DeStefano campaign sent a cordial chorus of two dozen, who said "Hello, Governor," and bid adieu to her excellency in harmony, as well.

I kind of wished they had heckled her, because her speech was lip service to smart growth, and it might have made it a little more exciting. Her speaking style lacks passion, and her actions as chief executive officer do not match her rhetoric. And if she is saying there is too much pavement, we are way too late.

Then, her logic befuddled me - how can she say she will reduce sprawl and promise to eliminate property taxes on cars, thereby subsidizing the problem - the automobile? Nary a word from her about property tax reform.

Standing next to her was DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy, a woman I have a deep respect for. McCarthy can quote Amory Lovins in conversation about the big picture of energy and environmental problems facing our species. Yet McCarthy blamed DeStefano for the debate closure. Reasonable minds can disagree on this.

Afterwards, I sidled up to the press gaggle and asked Rell why she was keeping Cliff out of the debates. She, too, fingered DeStefano.

How does she get away with it? I asked her if she thought two debates was enough, and she said of course. Then one of her henchmen told me to enough. I kept talking.

Rell is untrustworthy, and does not deserve to lead the state of Connecticut.

KK

P.S. Check out Rick Green's free college column in Friday's Courant. The Green Party is gaining traction. Just a Fun question for Friday night: If he has some friends over at his house for beers, is it a Green Party?

PPS - Yankees will win this afternoon. and take the series back in the Bronx. If not, Torre loses his job.

Anonymous said...

Of course she should be hit on this. The only thing she is good at is being trustworhty, so if she is a liar, what is she good at??? I sat in traffic yesterday from New Haven to Norwalk for an hour and a half. There was 2 separate construction projects on a Thursday night--one in Bridgeport and one in westport. This is bullshit. I am 27 years old, so i've been driving for 11 years. They have been doing construction on exits 25 to 27 the entire time I've had my licence. Isn't there something wrong there? I mean, the egyptians built the goddamn pyramids in 25 years...and CT can't fix a highway in 11. Why can't the Con Dot fix 10 miles of highway in a 10 year deadline? Who is going ot be held responsible for this?

Anonymous said...

this is a perfectly legitimate use of the slush fund. the governor needs as many people from her own own party as possible as she can get in the legislature to keep fiscal responsibility and this helps with that mission.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>>Who is going ot be held responsible for this?

Given half a chance the Lamontista's will blame Bush somehow.

Bet on it.

bluecoat said...

I guess DeStefano and Glassman don't support lamont because they are blaming it on Rell:Late-Blooming Issues As Vote Nears
Rell Feels Heat Over I-84 Drainage `Fiasco'
October 7, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief

bluecoat said...

and this doesn't sound so good either:Where's home? Dems say Stamford candidate lives in Norwalk

Anonymous said...

FYI - NRCC is in full panic mode - the $7.8MM includes a little under a million for the three CT Republicans...

Get ready to say goodby to them.

Shadow said...

Anonymous - It can't be a "perfectly legitimate use of the slush fund" unless it's part of the law; if she puts no slush fund period into the law, then she should abide by that law. I have always been a strong advocate fiscal responsibility and sensibility, but this is not about the reason for this particular exception being legitmiate; it's about whether making such exceptions is legitimate period. The problem is when you allow exceptions it sets a precedent for politicians to make less appropriate exceptions in the future. It's the same problem that exists with the excessive use of Presidential signing statements; unchecked discretion overriding laws that were put in place for a reason.

I know that's not as direct and vehement a criticism of Bush as Authentic Connecticut Republican wanted, so I'll try to do better as to not shatter his illusions about anyone who disagrees with him; here it goes...

VIVA LAMONT! VAYA CON LAMONTISTAS!*shoots machine guns wildly in the air*

Anonymous said...

it's only 20,000 dollars and nobody will really notice so it's ok to do. jodi needs as many republicans in the legislature as she can get to block same sex marriage, mandatory EC in the ER's and many other important anti=family issues that the libs would push down our throats.

Ghost of Yogi said...

This is bad. She is breaking her own virtuous promise. Who can you believe when Snow White tells you lies.

If I were a Republican, I would just not vote, for mine heart would be broken. Thankfully, I am not. So I will vote for change.

I think everyone should vote for progress and change: John DeStefano.

CTRevolution said...

Typical Republican Rell, says one thing and does another. Anybody remember how she said that she wasn't going to take lobbyist money and then took it. How she wasn't going to take money from people involved in state contracts and then took it. How she was going to seal slush funds, and then handed $20,000 out. How she was going to clean up government and did nothing when her chief of staff broke the law.

Rell thinks she can get away with this. That she can get away without doing nothing on health care, energy and property taxes. Get away without having a campaign, a debate about where CT should be in 4 years. I can't wait to see Jodi at the debate Monday night. She will be held accountable for doing nothing for working families.

Anonymous said...

This deal smacks of Lisa Moody behind the scenes. And that brings about a very important question for the voters of CT: do you want four more years of Governor Moody, who has repeatedly violated Rell's own rules, lied to a legislative committtee and gotten a bunch of Commisioners fined running the state? Moody is th Wizard bhind the curtain. John Rowland didn't call them fat and stupid for nothing.

Anonymous said...

The Lessons of Moodygate should be enough to say no to four more years.

Anonymous said...

The state has a billion dollar surplus . The only change DeStefano offers is to spend it all and more on liberal social engineering.

Besides, why trade in Lisa Moody for Ed Marcus?

Shadow said...

> Anonymous: it's only 20,000 dollars and nobody will really notice so it's ok to do.

Republican morality, people. Take it in...

The only question is why you guys haven't put this quote on all the Rell, Shays, Simmons, and Johnson bumperstickers; you'd win in a landslide. In fact, I think you should make this moral argument the platform for the entire national Republican party... oh wait... it already is.

You know, I'm reminded of a line from The Simpsons where Mary Poppins-spoof Sherry Bobbins and the family sing: "If nobody notices, then nobody gets hurt - It's the American Way". Ironically, the writers of the show wrote that line as a critique of corruption and lack of accountability; I'm sure they never imagined it being embraced as a winning moral and political argument. Well done, young Republican.

Genghis Conn said...

Derek Donnelly, who is running against Fahrbach, said yesterday that he'd introduce legislation to ban this practice. See update above.

Ghost of Yogi said...

She is a liar. She tells us on thing and does another. How can people believe she is so clean when she continues to define and redifine her position.

There was a former Governor who did the same thing. Rell is hoping CT voters are stupid.

Anonymous said...

A burgular broke into the car of Stamford Senate Republican cnadidiate Giordano's campaign tresurer that was parked outside of his Norwalk home and took all of the campaign records including the campaign checkbook so he can't make the Tue reporting deadline. The Norwalk PD is on the case. Giordano beleives this theft and the ealrier theft of trash cans from outside his home are a conspiracy perpetuated by the Democrats backing McDonald for re-election. Giordanogate, I guess.