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7 Indicted, Including Donovan’s Former Campaign Manager

by Christine Stuart | Jul 26, 2012 10:16am
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired

Christine Stuart file photo

Robert Braddock Jr. and his attorney Frank Riccio ascend the steps of the courthouse in New Haven earlier this month for his arraignment

(Updated 3:37 p.m.) Federal authorities arrested six more individuals connected to the campaign finance scandal involving donations made to the Chris Donovan’s campaign Thursday morning.

According to a recently unsealed federal indictment, the feds arrested Josh Nassi, Donovan’s former campaign manager, Benjamin Hogan, an employee of Smoke House Tobacco, David Moffa, a former union president, Daniel Monterio, an owner of a company in Waterbury, Paul Rogers, a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco, and George Tirado, another co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco.

Hogan, Moffa, Nassi, Rogers, and Tirado will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis at 2 p.m. today in New Haven federal court. Monterio is out of state and his first appearance has yet to be scheduled.

Until today, the only one indicted by federal authorities was Donovan’s former finance director Robert Braddock Jr. The information released Thursday brings the number of those indicted in the case up to seven.

Earlier this month, Braddock pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiring to hide the source of nearly $30,000 in campaign donations to his former boss’ campaign on behalf of a group of smoke shop owners looking to defeat legislation.

Braddock worked for Donovan’s campaign for Connecticut’s 5th U.S. Congressional District seat.

The Courant reported earlier this week that the former union official believed to be one of the three unnamed co-conspirators in the original indictment was seen leaving federal court.

Ray Soucy, the former union official, had no comment for Fox News reporter George Colli as he exited court Tuesday with his attorney and the proceedings were not open to the public. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office Soucy pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of devising a scheme to bribe a public official, and one count of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission. He faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison on the fraud conviction and a maximum term of five years on the conspiracy conviction.

According to the information provided Thursday, Soucy was the one who arranged for the straw donations to be delivered to the Donovan campaign on behalf of the smoke shop owners.

The last $10,000 in straw donations, according to Braddock’s indictment, was delivered May 14 at the Democratic nominating convention.

When Soucy entered the convention he was taken to a separate room where Donovan approached him and engaged him in a conversation, according to the indictment. Following that conversation, which is not detailed in the indictment, Soucy was led into a back room where he delivered three $2,500 payments to the campaign, and one $2,500 check to the Democratic Party.

As he was exiting the building, Soucy saw Braddock who then guided him to a “quiet location,” according to the indictment. Soucy then told Braddock “he had just ‘thanked the man,’ and that ‘twenty thousand was well worth it . . . And another ten grand.’”

“You’re the man,” Braddock replied, according to the 20-page indictment.

Donovan has denied having any knowledge that his campaign staffers were trying to trade his influence as Speaker of the House for campaign donations.

As soon as Braddock was arrested at the end of May, Donovan fired him, Nassi, and Sara Waterfall, the deputy finance director. The campaign hired former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy to conduct an independent investigation, which concluded Donovan had no knowledge of the allegedly illegal donations.

With three weeks to go before the Democratic primary, Donovan still has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but the ongoing investigation continues to be a liability for his campaign.

The latest indictment puts Donovan even closer to the action, alluding to statements made by others on May 8 and May 16 suggesting that he helped kill the roll-your-own legislation, here:

On May 8, 2012, Soucy and NASSI discussed a series of proposed amendments to the RYO Legislation that would have effectively stripped the RYO licensing and tax provisions from the legislation. Soucy advised NASSI that “it looks like the RYO language is getting taken out for free, or . . . is Public Official Number I behind this?” NASSI responded, “Yeah, yeah, I mean we’ve been sending the message that the bill is dead,” which, according to NASSI, may have prompted other legislators to load the bill down with other amendments. Soucy then advised NASSI that “where credit’s due, they want to give credit, but . . . if it’s not due, they don’t want to do. They’re ending up with a freebie.” NASSI responded, “what’s happening is all this stuff is happening behind the scenes. They’re telling people that the bill is dead . . . So, once, once the message is sent that the bill is dead, thatrs when you start seeing all these other amendments.” Soucy then confirmed, “So, [Public Official Numberl] is behind the deal, which is good,” to which NASSI responded, “Yeah, yeah.”

And here:

During the evening of May 16, 2012, Soucy met NASSI at a restaurant in Southington, Connecticut. At that meeting, NASSI provided Soucy with the check that BRADDOCK and Soucy had agreed should be returned because it was written in a RYO smoke shop owner’s name. In exchange, Soucy provided NASSI with another $2,500 check in the name of a different conduit contributor, who was not affiliated with the RYO smoke shops but, rather, was another employee of MONTEIRO’s construction company. NASSI said, “I definitely appreciate it, man.” Soucy responded, “Hey, he did what he said he was gonna do. Gonna kill the bill, he killed the bill. You know?” Soucy and NASSI then discussed the fact that other legislators had attached meaningless amendments to the RYO Legislation after learning of Public Official Number l’s opposition. Soucy said, “So [Public Official Number l] put out the word, ‘dead’?” NASSI responded, “Yeah. Yes he did.”

The legislation died during the regular legislative session which ended May 9 when it was never called for a vote in the Senate. But legislation is never truly dead and some lawmakers, along with the Department of Revenue Services, wanted it revived for special legislative session on June 12.

On May 24 a legislative aide sent Nassi an electronic message informing him the RYO legislation may be revived during the special legislative session. The indictment says the legislative aide and Nassi then discussed strategies to prevent it from being considered.

Braddock was arrested by the FBI on May 31.

The RYO legislation was eventually passed during the June 12 special session, in part because lawmakers didn’t want the public to think their influence could be bought.

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(7) Comments

posted by: lkulmann | July 26, 2012  10:43am

Donovan’s credibility is mud…CT just can’t afford these sorts of political and government ‘leaders’ Party’s over people. We’ve got hungry people to feed, sick people to take care of and businesses that need money to start up…Go suck the llfe out of some other State with your ‘straw’ donations whatever the heck those are…Shooo…go away!

posted by: Tessa Marquis | July 26, 2012  10:44am

Everyone who hangs around politics knows NOT to have straw donors.

From personal experience I know that Donovan despises raising money, but he had nothing to do with this campaign aberration. It is all just sad.

I Continue to Stand With Chris Donovan.

posted by: MGKW | July 26, 2012  10:51am


‘nuf said.

posted by: CharlieH | July 26, 2012  1:30pm

2 out of 8 charged are with AFSCME. Time to revive this oldie but goodie.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | July 26, 2012  2:07pm


Charged: David Moffa, 52, of Middlebury, the former President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 387, representing employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction

Pled guilty: Ray Soucy a state Department of Corrections employee and treasurer of AFSCME, Local 387.

Which always begs the question: What made these guys think Donovan could be bought? There didn’t seem to be any question and they went about it like it was old habit.

There’s much more to education reform, charters, and the push for vouchers for private and parochial schools. The racketeering must end. The publci sector union monopoloy is an invitation to abuse. Cue “Sweet Home Chcago”

A state like CT doesn’t lose almost $300 million in Federal Education funding over 3 years without payoffs. Then the chutzpah to ask for raises to increase education funding at state taxpayer expense?

There’s only one way that heppens.

posted by: MGKW | July 26, 2012  4:07pm

Our state, since I have been here, has had a government scandal almost every year…Santapietro,Guardano, Ganim, Rowland, DeLuca, and that is a partial list…As a voter and a citizen it gets both tiring and frustrating about who you can trust or not..whether Chris Donovan knew what his underlings were doing or not he should have exercised extraordinary discretion in picking these people…he fired those involved but his judgement is still in question. His general election was an uphill battle to begin with due to his challenge of attracting independents…now his challenges of attracting independents is that much more difficult.

posted by: jenand | July 28, 2012  9:25pm

MGKW - Nicely said.  It is so very demoralizing to see clearly that corruption is alive and well in Ct. Maybe the vigilange of the FBI will put a dent into it.  Say it ain’t so Donovan!! - but it appears to be too late. With great angst, I say to Esty - “You go Girl!