Monday roundup

The latest...

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal does Face the State.

  • The Journal Inquirer strikes back!

    World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., the Stamford company co-founded by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, violated federal election law when it assisted her campaign by threatening to sue the Journal Inquirer for criticizing her, the newspaper says in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission.

    The newspaper's complaint, lodged late last week, charges that the corporation's assistance was rendered by WWE Senior Vice President Brian Flinn, who sent the threatening letter accusing the JI of libel. McMahon ran the company as its chief executive before resigning in favor of her husband.

    At issue are two columns written by the JI's managing editor, Chris Powell, and published in the newspaper this year asserting that McMahon, also the Republican Senate candidate in 2010, when she spent $50 million of her own money on her campaign, was trying to buy the election and had drawn her fortune rom the business of violence and pornography. The columns did not mention WWE.

    The corporation maintains that its threat was intended to protect its good name.

    Flinn demanded that the JI retract Powell's commentary by today or the corporation would "seek legal and all available remedies." Through its lawyer, Richard P. Weinstein of West Hartford, the JI refused the demand last week.

    In the newspaper's complaint to the FEC, Publisher Elizabeth S. Ellis said the WWE's threat "meant to discourage our right to comment on Mrs. McMahon."

    Similarly, Weinstein said the only purpose of Flinn's letter was "to use WWE to defend the candidate and to seek to have a chilling effect on journalists in Connecticut who might otherwise criticize Linda McMahon during her campaign."

  • Common Cause to Gov. Malloy: "Sign the Disclosure Bill"


    "Common Cause calls on the Governor to sign an incredibly important disclosure reform measure that is sitting on his desk, HB 5556, An Act Concerning Changes to Campaign Finance Laws and Other Election Laws, "said Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut.

    After the Supreme Court's misguided Citizens United decision in 2010, Connecticut's General Assembly passed a disclosure bill that we now know is inadequate in its ability to shed light on secret money spent at the state level.  Special interests injected huge sums of money via front groups who hide behind shell groups into many state races around the country in 2010.  State level candidates in Maine, North Carolina, and other states were targeted with vicious attack ads and we expect to see more of this kind of secret spending in 2012 in Connecticut.

    "The Governor has been quoted in the press stating his concern about the recent scandal involving allegations of donors who sought legislative action by hiding the true source of their contributions  behind straw donors.  We share his concern about this scandal and we want a prompt investigation to determine who was involved so that the public can know what happened, and wrongdoers prosecuted," said Quickmire.  "But we don't want Governor Malloy to lose sight of the fact that a bill is sitting on his desk that could help shed light on the true source of donors who will be spending huge sums of money in the 2012 state elections.  If the Governor does not act to sign HB 5556 into law, we could very likely see corporate and well-moneyed interests threatening candidates with huge independent expenditure campaigns where the true source of those expenditures are hidden from the public."

    "There has been a lot of misinformation about what the bill will do, what it won't do and inaccurate allegations that the law bans independent expenditures," said Karen Hobert Flynn, Vice President of Common Cause.  "Many, including business interests at the Capitol - and groups who spent years in litigation to prevent our Citizens Election Program from becoming law, contend the law is unconstitutional.  They are wrong. "

    "This bill will shine a light on shadowy front groups who try to hide the true source of who pays for negative attack ads.   The bill will also provide accountability and empower voters, shareholders and the boards of entities who make political expenditures by requiring disclosure of attack ads," Hobert Flynn added.

    "The Governor has the opportunity to be a national leader in passing a disclosure bill that could be the model for the federal DISCLOSE act and for other state bill,"  Hobert Flynn continued, "We call on the Governor to sign the bill into law.  If he has concerns about the language or the intent of specific parts of the bill, he could easily work with House and Senate leaders to make some adjustments to the bill."

    The Brennan Center for Justice is a widely respected nonpartisan public policy and law institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy with experts in campaign finance and constitutional law.   Their analysis, attached, outlines why each element of this bill is constitutional.

  • Aldon Hynes over at the Orient Lodge highlights examples of the media dropping the ball when it comes to the Chris Donovan controversy.

    Perhaps the most glaring error is that several newspapers such as The Day are reporting, Donovan to sit out special session as FBI probe continues. The heading is inaccurate. Speaker Donovan will participate in the special session, however, as the article goes on to state, he "will temporarily relinquish his leadership role during the state legislature's forthcoming special session". The Patch is similarly reporting, House Speaker Chris Donovan Won't Take Part in Upcoming Special Session. In The Patch's case, it does not appear that the article corrects the error in the headline.

    Matt DeRienzo is also particularly sloppy in his editorial, OPINION: Chris Donovan's betrayal of Connecticut's working families. He writes,

    On Thursday, the FBI arrested his finance director, charging that Donovan, or "Public Official Number 1," as he is referred to in court documents, used his position as speaker to squeeze campaign contributions out of businesspeople affected by pending state legislation he controlled and then hide it from the Federal Elections Commission.

    However, that's not what the FBI said. The affidavit talks about the conspirators hoping to get the Speaker to oppose a certain bill, but there is no indication that the Speaker even knew of the effort, let alone tried "to squeeze campaign contributions out of businesspeople". I'm fairly disappointed in Matt, because in other cases, he has tended to rely on facts instead of conjecture or hyperbole.

  • Maybe someone should tell our Governor that the Cold War ended years ago.

    Citing veterans' concerns over the New Haven People's Center's communist ties, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy pulled funding for renovations to the building from Monday's Bond Commission agenda.

    "I have to say, I've thought a lot about this project over the last few weeks. Enough questions have been raised and clearly we do not have a consensus on this particular issue. I'm particularly concerned about the opposition of veterans groups. Therefore I have decided we should not go forward with this project," Malloy said during the meeting.

  • So much for the GOP having clean hands...and Cafero releasing this info at 7PM on FRIDAY is a nice touch.

    The federal investigation into House Speaker Chris Donovan's congressional campaign also included donations to Republican political action committees under the purview of House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero's office.

    Cafero's press aide delivered a statement to the Capitol press room after 7 p.m. Friday evening explaining that federal authorities told Cafero that Republican leadership PACs also had received straw donations in connection to the roll-your-own cigarette legislation.

    Cafero was one of a dozen lawmakers interviewed Thursday by federal investigators. During the course of their conversation, Cafero said he learned that straw donors also delivered five $1,000 checks to three House Republican PACs.

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