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Democratic Donor Introduces Malloy At Breakfast

by Christine Stuart | Dec 10, 2013 1:59pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Business, Election 2014, Election Policy, Energy, Town News, Middletown

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy addresses the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Tuesday

An utility company executive who donated $1,500 to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s federal account in October introduced Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday morning at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

In introducing the governor, Rodney Powell, president and chief operating officer of Yankee Gas Services Company, was complimentary of Malloy and his energy strategy, which calls for the expansion of natural gas lines in the state.

Malloy joked that Powell and Middlesex Chamber of Commerce President Lawrence McHugh said so many nice things about him that “I thought I’d died and somebody was reading my obituary.” The remark elicited a chuckle from the audience.

But the Republican Party isn’t laughing.

“At this point, it should come as no surprise to anyone that another executive of a Northeast Utilities-owned, state-regulated utility has a cozy relationship with Gov. Malloy thanks to his donations to the Connecticut Democratic Party,” Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said.

Last week, the Courant reported that a top executive for Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Yankee Gas, asked about 50 of his managers to donate money to help re-elect Malloy next year.

“The next gubernatorial election cycle is upon us, and I am asking each of you to join me in financially supporting Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy” in next year’s election, Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas May said in an email The Courant obtained from a source.

Labriola called the donation to the federal account “a thinly veiled effort to circumvent the law.” There are limited uses for a donation to the federal party and as a state contractor, Northeast Utilities and its employees are prohibited from contributing to a state campaign.

Labriola called on Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Dinardo to give back the donations “to mitigate the appearances of impropriety and corruption.” Asked whether they planned to return the donations today, the state Democratic Party said they would not.

“The Connecticut Democratic Party follows all laws, rules and regulations for fundraising,” James Hallinan, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party, said Tuesday.

But Labriola said that Tuesday’s events “offer even more evidence that Dan Malloy and his state government are for sale to the highest bidder.” The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday was sponsored by Northeast Utilities, Connecticut Light & Power, and Yankee Gas Services.

This year, NU employees have contributed more than any other single group or company to the Connecticut Democratic Party. They have contributed about $51,500 for the party, according to campaign finance reports. Most of the donations came after May’s email to his managers soliciting contributions.

“I’m not a candidate for governor,” Malloy reminded reporters following his formal remarks at the event. “Who might, or who might not support me, or who supports Democratic causes, or who might not support Democratic causes are [questions] probably best directed toward them.”

But as governor, Malloy is the leader of the Democratic Party in the state and he’s been actively fundraising for it, including a trip to California in October.

“I will, do now and in the future, that which I’ve always done and that is to support Democratic causes,” Malloy said. “And quite frankly that’s what I’m doing. And the standard to apply is whether we are compliant with the law and we’ll hold ourselves to that standard.”

He maintained that he was not a candidate for governor and has not made a final decision on whether he will run for re-election.

“In the meantime, I’m going to support Democratic causes and make sure that those causes and those organizations live within the law,” Malloy told reporters.

His remarks came after a more than 20-minute speech where he reminded members of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce that when he took office the state was saddled with the “highest per capita deficit” in the country.

Thirty-fours months later, the state budget is balanced and the state is beginning to recover jobs. Pointing to a Labor Department report, Malloy said the state has recovered 67,000 private sector jobs since the start of the recession.

He said that before he became governor, the state invested in 119 companies. But because of changes the General Assembly made in October 2011 during a special session, his administration has been able to give assistance to about 1,400 companies, including more than 940 small businesses.

“When I’m doing this job I’m looking at the big issues and the long-term issues, and the short-term issues. How do we clean our air? How do we get cleaner energy? How do we get our universities to work together? How do we create a tool box for our economy?” Malloy said. “All of these things come together. This is all got to be part of a big package if we are going to move this state forward.”

Malloy acknowledged that his determination in improving the state doesn’t always coincide with the agendas of other people. Some of his policies have made him unpopular with the public according to the last Quinnipiac University poll.

The June poll found that 47 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing, while another 47 percent disapprove. The same poll showed one of his Republican opponents beating him by three points.

After rattling off what he believes are areas where the state has improved, Malloy said, “that’s why the opportunity to be governor for some period of time is too great an opportunity to waste. Sometimes people are critical of me. I’m a serious guy. I understand that. I don’t tell a good joke. I understand that.”

But he said “nobody has more hope and more expectations for the state of Connecticut and what we can do in the medium-term, and the long-term, than me.”

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(8) Comments

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 10, 2013  2:56pm

A clear case of political payola that does not leave YankeeGas/Northeast Utilities—“smelling like a rose!”

posted by: JamesBronsdon | December 10, 2013  4:43pm

Unless Labriola is going to lead the Connecticut Republican party to unbridled populism, he should zip it about the “cozy relationship” between a corporate contributor and a Democrat politician. If the Republican party could have that same cozy relationship with a well-heeled corporate donor, are they going to pass on it?  Doubtful.  Let the Dems have their conflicts of interest, and the Republicans theirs, and let the public know and the chips fall where they may. There’s nothing to be gained for the pots to call the kettles black.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 10, 2013  5:32pm

The end does not justify the means—because it benefits a political party.

posted by: art vandelay | December 10, 2013  7:20pm

art vandelay

The Republicans better start concentrating their efforts on gaining a STRONG presence in Connecticut’s inner cities and with minority voters.  Until they gain support in those areas, they don’t stand a snowballs chance of regaining the Governors seat let alone a majority in the House.  Attacking the Democrats and their fundraising efforts is a waste of time.

posted by: Lawrence | December 10, 2013  9:26pm

For the second time in 24 hours, I will agree with JamesBronsdon’s comments.

Mr. Labriola certainly knows that Republican politicians have practically owned corporate America and its political contributions for a century or more.

The fact that Gov. Malloy is making inroads with state businesses due to his attention to their needs must be completely unnerving to Republicans like Mr. Labriola, esp. as the party faces a fundraising showdown with Democrats in the coming year.

Republicans have badly lost social issues wars, and all that they have left in a sluggish economy is the supposed mantle of being the ‘business-friendly’ political party and their mostly hollow rhetoric about fiscal accountability.

Well, we’ve seen enough to know that the GOP talks a good game about cutting state spending and borrowing, then can’t move fast enough to take credit for the state bonding and spending released for their districts.

And we know that Gov. Malloy has done more to retain and grow state businesses than Gov. Rell ever did.

So, yes, there is a new fear in the CT Republican Party that Gov. Malloy and Democrats have largely played their cards right, and now stand ready to reap the monetary benefits (in the form of campaign donations) of the myriad social and business policies they have fought for and passed into law.

And all the GOP can do is shake their fist and complain, wishing they had it as good, and claiming they never did.

Meanwhile, the specter of Citizens United and GOP billionaire campaign funders like Thomas Peterffy hang in the air like Marley’s ghost. “I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Merry Christmas, CT GOP!

posted by: Noteworthy | December 10, 2013  10:22pm

haha..this is a very funny article. Malloy isn’t a candidate, but he’s extorting all the contributions. I guess that makes him a thief. And he says we used to have the highest per capita deficit - and he solved it by having the highest per capita taxes, the highest per capita debt, the highest utility costs, the history making tax increase - the largest in the country…hahah…this is great theater.

As for Rodney Powell and Yankee Gas - disgusting.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 11, 2013  10:58am

Art Vandelay:  The Democrats OWN the inner-city votes—
since former Democratic state leader John Bailey imported the welfare vote from the Southern states 50 years ago.  The grandchildren of the welfare imports are still on state welfare—and still vote for the likes of Gov. Dannel Malloy and his big spenders—who won’t put the welfare crowd to work—because they want to insure that they get the inner-city welfare voters keep voting Democratic to keep them in office. This is why Republicans can’t get the state taxpayer paid inner-city vote —and as of six months ago—still had a 47% job approval rating.

posted by: art vandelay | December 11, 2013  2:45pm

art vandelay

To Stan,
What you stated is 100% correct. The Republicans must realize they can no longer depend on the “majority”(now MINORITY) rural vote to win elections. Republicans have to nurture a strong presence in the urban cities or they are finished as a political entity. Republicans need to send a message to urban residents that the Democrats in this state have NOT done them any favors over the past 70 years. The Republicans cannot write off the urban vote and expect to win future elections.