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Subpoenas Offer Glimpse At Federal GOP Probe

by Christine Stuart | Feb 21, 2014 3:52pm
(22) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Election 2014, Legal

CTNJ file photo

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero

(Updated 5:13 p.m.) Subpoenas released Friday show that federal investigators plan to search through text messages, emails, contracts, and other correspondences as they scrutinize the relationship between top Republican staffers and two direct mail companies.

The federal subpoena dated Feb. 14 asks for “Any and all documents including, but not limited to, correspondence, memoranda, letters, emails, text messages, invoices, contracts, agreements, with any direct mail vendor utilized by the Connecticut House Republican Office.”

All four subpoenas ask for all correspondence House Republican staff had with George Gallo, the House Republican chief of staff, who resigned before news of the federal inquiry broke.

The subpoena also asked for information regarding The Vinco Group LLC, the consulting firm Gallo created in 2003 and used to do some of his political consulting work. In addition, it asked for any information pertaining to Direct Mail Systems of Florida and King Strategic Communications of Ohio, another direct mail company used by Republican lawmakers dating back to 2008, according to campaign finance filings. Direct Mail Systems has not returned calls seeking comment. Joe King, president of King Strategic Communications, responded today with a written statement:

“While none of the issues raised involve our company, we understand that authorities often need incidental data to help them do their job,” King wrote. “We will, of course, cooperate. We’re proud of the all the work we do and we always operate in a legal, ethical and above-board manner.”

The Office of Legislative Management also was subpoenaed. The language in that subpoena was exactly the same as that of the other three.

One of the subpoenas released Friday by House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero was for the New Friends PAC. Cafero and his staff inadvertently failed to mention that New Friends PAC was subpoenaed Thursday when he acknowledged the federal investigation and Gallo’s resignation.

All four subpoenas ask lawmakers and staff to appear before a grand jury to testify at 9 a.m., March 4, in New Haven.

“The FBI didn’t indicate exactly what they were looking for, what potential crime they were trying to investigate, so we don’t know the answer to that,” Cafero told a few reporters Friday morning outside his office.

Sources say about 10 Republican lawmakers who used Direct Mail Systems of Clearwater, Fla. also were questioned Wednesday afternoon in their offices at the Legislative Office Building.

Cafero said he was one of the lawmakers questioned, but was unable to say how many other lawmakers may have been questioned by federal authorities.

Cafero said it’s an ongoing investigation and federal authorities “have asked us not to talk about it.”

Thomas Carson, a spokesman for Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, declined comment.

Chris Healy, another former Republican Party chairman, said that during his tenure as chairman the Connecticut Republican Party used Direct Mail Systems because it was one of the direct mail houses that knew how to handle political mailings. From graphic design to postage, these firms handle everything for the candidate or political committee.

“There’s a lot more to this,” Healy said Friday referring to the intricacies of political mail.

There are about a dozen national direct mail companies that do business in the state of Connecticut.

Quinnipiac University Law Professor William V. Dunlap said based on the information that’s been released at this point “we don’t really know what the FBI is after.”

He said they seem to be looking into financial transactions regarding direct mail companies, but even if a candidate was directed to use a company it’s not necessarily a crime.

Dunlap also pointed out that a federal inquiry may not lead to criminal charges, and if there are criminal charges they won’t necessarily be against the candidates who used these companies.

Hugh McQuaid contributed to this report

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(22) Comments

posted by: art vandelay | February 21, 2014  7:31pm

art vandelay

I’m just wondering if this is Chicago Style Politics, Obama turning the Feds loose on the GOP.  With all the enormous fundraising the Democrats have done preparing for next falls election, nobody seems to be knocking on their door.  Sounds fishy to me.

posted by: StanMuzyk | February 21, 2014  8:57pm

@Art: You coined it -
“Elementary - My Dear Watson!”  But watch what you transmit—or someone may be knocking on your door—as I’m sure they are checking the e-mails as they have with the same diligence
of the the White House telephone eavesdropping scandal. Our freedom of speech can easily be monitored and used against us.  God Bless America—even though HIS Federal presence has been removed by law.

posted by: Lawrence | February 21, 2014  9:25pm

Art.


Arthur.

Please.

 

You are embarrassing yourself.

 

Just stop posting, as most right-wingers have done for the past 24 hours all across Connecticut, and curl up with a nice, dog-eared copy of “Going Rogue” or “Demonic” and a big box of Kleenex ultra-soft tissues.

You’re going to need it.

posted by: Jayhawk | February 21, 2014  10:39pm

Seems that the pro-business Republicans don’t believe that there are any Connecticut companies that can handle political printing and mailings.  They sure did not look too hard to find any, I suppose it was just easier to send all that taxpayer money out of state.

posted by: EdLeadershipcrisis | February 22, 2014  10:19am

The probe should extend to all local GOP town committees, their chairmen and treasurers, so see who may have been strong-armed into sending funds to these direct mail entities.

posted by: CharlieH | February 22, 2014  10:39am

I’m having a hard time understanding the crime. Gallo recommended a mailing house, service was good and the price was right. What’s the problem? The feds may be looking to manufacture a crime here.

Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent Paperback
by Harvey Silverglate

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594035229/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393078260&sr=1-1&keywords=harvey+silverglate+three+felonies+a+day

posted by: art vandelay | February 22, 2014  1:49pm

art vandelay

@EdLeadersjhipcrisis,
The probe should also extent to ever Democratic Town Committee in the state as well.  I’m really surprised the Feds have not looked into the “shake down” the Democrats performed on NU and other quasi Government Agencies in Connecticut.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | February 22, 2014  5:49pm

Hey Larry-

Do they just let you out on weekends?

posted by: CharlieH | February 22, 2014  6:39pm

I hope the interviewees had an attorney present, there have been a lot of problems with the FBI interview process and Form 302.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/harveysilverglate/2011/07/27/constructing-truth-the-fbis-nonrecording-policy/

Why the FBI doesn’t record interrogations
http://jonathanturley.org/2013/05/11/why-the-fbi-doesnt-record-interrogations/

posted by: Lawrence | February 22, 2014  8:14pm

Chien, it’s always much simpler than it appears. Blaming Obama and Holder is a huge cop-out for the supposed “party of personal responsibility.” And the fact that comments like that were the first online response by so many right-wingers (and on the Rowland investigation, too) is hugely embarrassing, indicative of intellectual dishonesty, and symbolic of why the GOP is a dying breed in CT and across America.

And, No, no one lets me out on weekends. I’m shut in 24/7.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | February 22, 2014  11:45pm

Thought so. You should get out more and get some sun!

posted by: dano860 | February 23, 2014  12:17am

If we should have learned anything from the past debacles it must be that early reports and snip-it’s do not give us the whole story. The truth has yet to be determined and the accusations have yet to be disclosed.
We are all ready to try the cases in the media, for our own causes, with hyperbolic rhetoric but the facts are out of our control.
Take a break, sit back, we may need a bigger refrigerator or more investigations by the SEEC.
Stand by…more to come!

posted by: StanMuzyk | February 23, 2014  11:00am

@Lawrence:  You defend the bankruptcy-driven Obamaism in Connecticut adopted by Gov. Malloy that is burying our state—by taking a whack at former Gov. Rowland. It’s like Obama still blaming former Pres. George W. Bush for his inadequate rule. Who are you fooling Larry?  That’s why Democratic Congressmen are distancing themselves fro Obama if the want to be reelected.  You, however, sound like a die-hard Democrat who does not have to distance himself from Obama. However—unless Malloy distances himself from Obama—he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of being reelected as governor.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | February 23, 2014  11:04am

DrHunterSThompson

So, I’m combing through the comments, searching for one with a clue.

Nope, no one with a clue - sad to report.

HST

posted by: Angela55 | February 23, 2014  12:17pm

Oh please give me a break.  The GOP and their drones want us to think they are being attacked by Obama????  They are not above the law.  Extortion is against the law and this is not new.  The feds should see what the GOP does in Florida.  This is common practice for them in Fl.  Their favorite consultants/lobbyist get the business and who knows the kickbacks that may happen.  I worked inside the Fl legislature and Boy what they do in Fl makes this look like chump change.  Then they try to make it look like it’s Obama.  Please spare me that garbage.  They want to be above the law.  I hope they get caught because of their arrogance.  They have gotten away with so much.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | February 23, 2014  1:10pm

Lawrence: I agree completely with your comment. It IS a sign of intellectual dishonesty when commenting on a particular topic to start out with the equivalent, “Oh, yeah? But what about [insert name/topic here]?”

posted by: EdLeadershipcrisis | February 23, 2014  10:23pm

@Art - indeed both state parties shake down their local town committees and pressure them into expenditures they’d rather not make.

posted by: edw | February 24, 2014  9:47am

I have not figured out what the crime here might be. No mention of “kick backs”. The only thing I can think of is “campaigning while Republican”.

posted by: Direct Mail Company | February 25, 2014  4:32pm

As the owner of a Direct Mail and Digital printing company in Cheshire CT, that has completed many political mailings, we have known that quoting problems (State not even going out for quotes) have existed for quite some time and have relayed that information to State Rep’s.  If they had even looked a tiny bit they would see that many companies are right here in CT!  Again, our taxes working hard in another state.  Z

posted by: StanMuzyk | February 25, 2014  4:50pm

@Direct Mail Company: That’s because in Connecticut we are getting “Taxation—Without Representation.”

posted by: Angela55 | February 25, 2014  4:55pm

Each leader in the state legislatures will pick their own “consultant/lobbyist” that they “do business” with.  Kickbacks are a very real possibility and it’s easy to do.  I worked in the Florida legislature for many years and it happens there all the time.  The leaders will blackball anyone that goes against their candidates and consults for the opposition even if they are in the same party.  They are a bunch of thieves making money from their positions as our states and America fall apart.  They fight so hard to be Speaker and Sen. President because it pays !

posted by: Katheryn E Brown | February 25, 2014  10:10pm

If there is nothing to it then why did George Gallo resign?