Tuesday roundup

Headlines:

  • Murphy fires up labor.
    With his endorsement virtually assured, an animated Chris Murphy told the Connecticut AFL-CIO Monday that its help is essential to his winning a U.S. Senate seat against "a right-wing cabal" intent on strangling labor.

    Murphy, a three-term Democratic congressman seeking the state's open U.S. Senate seat, ignored attacks by Susan Bysiewicz, his rival for the Democratic nomination, and focused labor's attention on Republican Linda McMahon.

    Delegates to the labor federation's political convention cheered Murphy as he yelled that he has a simple message to McMahon and the billionaire backers of conservative "super PACs" who think they can buy elections: "Hell, no!"

    [...]

    "They want to end the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, so they can never stand in the way of profits, and they want to strangle organized labor, so the workers never, ever rise up again," Murphy said.

  • Look who's coming to New Haven.
    A lawyer and political activist who took on Connecticut's last two governors as well as the coach of the UConn Huskies is heading to New Haven-to take the helm of a clean-elections fund that took on the mayor.

    The lawyer/activist is Ken Krayeske (pictured). New Haven's Democracy Fund-the body responsible for approving matching dollars for the campaigns of mayoral candidates who agree to abide by fund-raising limits-just hired him to serve as its new executive director beginning July 1.

    Krayeske replaces Robert Wechsler. He will receive $70 per hour for up to $25,000 a year as the fund's only paid staffer. He'll be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the fund, including handling questions and preparing for board meetings.

    Besides administering the fund, Krayeske vowed to spread the word about its mission so more people participate.

    "I'm thrilled. I'm so excited to be in a position to push campaign finance forward," Krayeske said. "It's already established [in New Haven]. I want to build it."

  • SCULLY: Waterbury-The [Ethically Challenged] Center of the Universe
    An economic development czar for a Connecticut city is paid a total of more than $350,000 for his work. The taxpayers pick up the bill for the position. Any taxpayer or media organization would be entitled to scrutinize the work that was done on the public dime, right? Not if the employee is former Gov. John Rowland and the city in question is Waterbury.

  • More on Waterbury...
    On Friday, the city of Waterbury dodged and whitewashed details of just exactly what Rowland did in exchange for receiving more than $350,000 directly from taxpayers to coordinate economic development efforts from January 2008 to 2012.

    Waterbury's willingness to bend and break the state's Freedom of Information Act law to protect Rowland makes one wonder if the former governor was working something close to a "no show" job in Waterbury, or if records associated with it will show a myriad of other "consulting" gigs in which Rowland lined his pockets by leveraging his taxpayer-bestowed power and influence.

    Waterbury taxpayers paid Rowland $100,000 a year until last spring, when it was cut to $50,000 after aldermen finally realized that Rowland was working a second full-time job in Farmington every day hosting an afternoon radio talk show on WTIC-AM.

    On Friday, the city of Waterbury refused The Register Citizen's and New Haven Register's formal request to release records of Rowland's schedule, correspondence and expense reports from his four years of work funded by taxpayers, The public does not have a right to see it, the city argues, because of the unique arrangement in which Rowland was technically employed by the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce, and taxpayers reimbursed the chamber for his salary.

    One of many reasons reporters want to see those records is to determine whether the chamber and the city were notified by Rowland of other, overlapping sources of income during his service to taxpayers.

    At one point last fall, for example, we now know that Rowland was receiving $5,000 a month from Brian Foley's business, while receiving a salary from WTIC to host a prominent radio talk show in which he trashed Wilson-Foley's opponents without disclosing the conflict, while still receiving the reduced $50,000-a-year salary from Waterbury taxpayers.

    Who else was paying Rowland?

  • OIB: "Okay Class: What Would You Ask The State Senate Candidates?"
    So far OIB's coverage of the Aug. 14 Democratic primary has largely centered on the personalities in the race for Connecticut's 23rd Senate District. Maybe we can help the candidates with some questions. What would you ask State Senator Ed Gomes and his two opponents, party-endorsed Ernie Newton and State Rep. Andres Ayala? Ah, the possibilities are endless. You provide some questions and we will submit them to the candidates.

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