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Democratic Party Goes Forward With Malloy Mailer

by | Oct 15, 2014 1:07pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Campaign Finance, Election 2014

The Connecticut Democratic Party didn’t wait for the Federal Election Commission to rule on whether it was okay to use federal funds on a mailing featuring Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Instead, it sent the mailing.

The mailing, which arrived at the home of a registered Democrat this week, touts Malloy’s record of investing in education and was paid for using money from the party’s federal account.

“By investing nearly $562 million in education, Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy is improving our schools,” the mailer reads.

The disclaimer at the bottom says it was “Paid for by the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, www.ctdems.org, and not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.”

Devon Puglia, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party said with conflicting guidance from state and federal regulators “we are forced to proceed based upon our good-faith interpretation of federal law.”

He said the party sought the advice of federal regulators as “an extra quality control step… to ensure we are in compliance with both the letter of the law and its spirit.”

The mailer arrived the same day as the public comment period on the Democratic Party’s request to the FEC closed.

House Republican Leader Lawrence Cafero, whose caucus objected to the Democratic Party’s request, was surprised to learn the party took action before receiving guidance from federal regulators. 

“The fact that they acted before receiving clarification means they broke the law and the SEEC [State Elections Enforcement Commission] has to take action against the candidate who benefited, in this case the governor, the party, and the treasurer,” Cafero said.

He called the decision to move forward with the mailing “brazen.”

“Not only did they take the bold step of asking, but the brazen step of doing it without even a response,” Cafero said. “If they broke the law they should be subject to fines and penalties.”

State election regulators sharply criticized the Democratic Party Tuesday in their written objection to the request.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission told federal regulators Tuesday that if the Democratic Party was allowed to send this mailing it would “cynically circumvent our state’s carefully tailored pay-to-play state contractor provisions.”

The Connecticut Democratic Party asked the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 1 to allow it to use funds donated to its federal account to pay for a mailer. The deadline for individuals and organizations to object to the request closed Tuesday.

State election regulators said what the Connecticut Democratic Party is essentially trying to do is to get federal election regulators to issue a decision that would allow it to pre-empt Connecticut laws that ban clean election candidates from receiving state contractor donations. Its objection to federal regulators outlines the history of corruption in the state, which led to passage of the Citizens Election Program in 2005.

An attorney for the Connecticut Democratic Party who filed the request with the Federal Election Commission argued that the mailing, which prominently features Malloy, also includes get-out-the-vote information. A portion of federal party funds that can be used for get-out-the-vote efforts.

But state election regulators said it would be wrong for federal regulators to assume they have jurisdiction over the mailing because it “glibly” includes “a stray get-out-the-vote message.”

“The state party is essentially requesting that the Commission issue an advisory opinion stating that Connecticut may not bring an enforcement action against it for choosing to break Connecticut’s campaign finance laws by using state contractor money to pay for the portion of the Malloy mailer that is dedicated to promoting the success of a Connecticut publicly-financed candidate for Governor — an activity that is expressly prohibited by Connecticut state law,” the SEEC wrote in its objection.

The Connecticut Democratic Party uses a footnote in its request to explain that it’s been separating state contractors from non-state contractors in its federal fund.

“Although it is not germane to the proper disposition of this request, it is worth noting that the CDSCC [Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee] has established a segregated federal account in which it deposits contributions from known state contractors. This account is not used for any communication that advocates the election or defeat of any state or local candidate and is used exclusively for federal and administrative purposes in order to ensure compliance with the spirit of Connecticut law.”

But state regulators say they have no way of knowing that.

“It is impossible to know whether the money they are accepting and using is state contractor money forbidden by state law to be used in support of state candidates. If they were going to effectively remove state contractor funds, they would use Levin funds as allowed under federal law,” the SEEC wrote in its objection Tuesday.

According to the Federal Register, the law generally requires the FEC to issue an advisory opinion within 60 days of receiving the request. However, the commission has an informal practice of attempting to respond to certain significant, time-sensitive requests within 30 days. The Connecticut Democratic Party asked for the request to receive expedited treatment, but it’s unclear at the moment whether the commission will agree.

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(21) Archived Comments

posted by: cnj-david | October 15, 2014  1:39pm

That’s Malloy in a nutshell.  It doesn’t matter what the laws are, it doesn’t matter what’s right, it doesn’t matter what’s moral—all that matters is what he wants.

If you’re as displeased as I am by his habitual arrogance and disregard for the constituency he’s supposed to represent - vote against him in the upcoming election.

posted by: GBear423 | October 15, 2014  1:41pm

GBear423

Why wait, the timing works in their favor.
The federal fund segregates contractor donations from non-contractor donations… really??? I guess if your fool enough to vote for a democrat then you swallow this stuff.
Its a “federal fund”  How can they be following the spirit of the law?? Is a mailer worth it?? they couldn’t pay for it with their State funds? they must be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Foley.

Hope you Malloy fans are proud of this… its wrong and its been like this.  The midnight legislation sessions, the E-Cert non emergency laws, the budget laws being inserted on last days of session, jetting to DC and CA for fundraising on tax payer’s dime, etc
This is how you want Connecticut ran?

posted by: jim black | October 15, 2014  1:42pm

Just ask Obama. The “law” doesn’t apply to democrats.

posted by: whatsprogressiveaboutprogressives? | October 15, 2014  1:54pm

I hope that the picture of him with the kids was taken in a studio and not a classroom. NO politician has the right to enter a school or educational facility for personal business.

posted by: dano860 | October 15, 2014  4:00pm

Thugs, plain and simple. I just tossed two of them into the recycle basket, waste of money!
It’s too bad his front man, Barry, had to hang in D.C. and pretend to be in charge tonight. He really needs to plug that leak in the Dems favorability rating. Maybe Dannel and the N.J. gang told him to stay home. The citizens of the cities he was visiting should be happy too, they will save the security costs associated with Barry coming to town.
Dannel’s new motto, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than than it is to get permission.

posted by: UConnHoop | October 15, 2014  4:10pm

This is even more brazen than I could ever have imagined Malloy and the Dems could ever be.  And where are all the so-called “good government people”?  Crickets…..

posted by: Noteworthy | October 15, 2014  5:37pm

This is a gross violation of state law. The party and Malloy both know it. That it was allegedly done without Malloy’s approval and knowledge is laughable. It really is pathetic to watch a grown man nurture such disrespect for the laws that govern 99.9% of the rest of us so that he can achieve his own personal ambition with help from the well heeled and well connected. What makes it worse, it that Danell could have been a good governor, outstanding even. But that would have required that he actually embrace what he said - transparency, GAAP, shared pain, tough union negotiations etc. In other words, shock therapy. The arrogance of this latest move is breathtaking.

posted by: Ct Hostage | October 15, 2014  8:27pm

wow.  just… wow….

I guess lawlessness in pursuit of power is now acceptable, as long as you are a member of he correct party.

Cannot wait for the comments defending this arrogant, obnoxious, flagrantly illegal action.

Vote Malloy, you mindless drones… Just hope that he screws you last.

posted by: RogueReporterCT | October 15, 2014  9:54pm

RogueReporterCT

Malloy needed a pivot on education as a last minute play to improve his odds. This was not it. The voters will see through the message of the mailer, that old dog about Malloy being pro-education. A few voters will be angered by it, given its dubious funding, maybe costing him a percentage point or two. But there might still be time to make up for lost votes with some genuine conciliation.

posted by: One and Done | October 16, 2014  2:59am

How is using your credit card to balance a budget good for your children long term.

If that is a taxpayer funded classroom, then this is illegal on yet another front.

posted by: GBear423 | October 16, 2014  6:09am

GBear423

Visconti would be doing Foley a solid if he brings this corruption up in tonight’s debate, which he very well may. I know this must bother him as much as those of us posting here.

Anyone notice its curiously quiet in this comment section…

posted by: Joebigjoe | October 16, 2014  6:57am

Funny how Kevin Lembo advertises on this site (which is good for the business) but I don’t recall one person ever saying they won’t vote for him, even the Republicans like me.

I think he has a cake-walk

posted by: art vandelay | October 16, 2014  7:56am

art vandelay

Why am I not surprised.  Democrats will do ANYTHING legal or illegal to get elected.  Look what happened in Bridgeport four years ago.  The Democrats knew they might loose so what do they do?  Mysteriously Bridgeport does not have enough ballots so SuzieB asks the courts to keep the polls open for another hour so the ballots can be stuffed and presto Dan Malloy wins by a razor thin margin.
I wouldn’t put it past the Democrats to pull another rabbit out of the hat to win this one.

On a side note I love the ad for Denise Merrill.  She certainly obtained her goal of modernizing elections.  We now have open elections so anyone in this state or out of state can vote. As the old saying goes: Vote early and vote often.

posted by: Joebigjoe | October 16, 2014  9:24am

Art to your point, I am willing to listen but no one has ever been able to convince me why, if the government provides the services at reasonable times and reasonable locations at no cost, one should be allowed to vote without a photo ID. 97% of people have some type of photo ID, so if the other 3% arent willing to make the effort to get one, if the service is provided them, then I can assure you that they don’t know enough “civicly” to vote and impact an election.

posted by: GBear423 | October 16, 2014  9:37am

GBear423

@Joebigjoe-  I won’t vote for him. he is culpable in many a fiscal sleight of hand.  ya he has a great web site, but that is simply delegating a job that needed doing, a basic function of his office.  Granted he did it while others would shrug their shoulders and just count on getting another term being a faceless pol on the Dem line.
I do believe he is responsible for all the surplus and no surplus, and surplus reports, which is all crap.  We are in debt, period. 

There is no surplus cause we OWE.  Get a comptroller that says that, and you have a servant worthy of your vote my friend.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 16, 2014  9:56am

“Malloy’s continued lawlessness” is the reason that Connectcut is in such bad economic shape.  He does not care about Connecticut or state resident’s, All he cares about is winning the election “by either hook or crook.”

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 16, 2014  10:09am

Obama could not come to Connecticut to attempt to save Malloy from defeat by Tom Foley, so instead Dannel “sold his soul again” with an illegal attempt to win the election.  His political greed is promoting votes for Foley.

posted by: state_employee | October 16, 2014  3:53pm

this is beyond low even for corrupt dan-the-man. 
he sits quietly by while this happens.
if the repubilcans were doing this, he would be on every news station screaming from the top of his lungs.

posted by: mikea | October 16, 2014  4:50pm

I have no problem with people being able to donate to the politicians of their choice.

The real problem is that the state just gives away hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to private business and groups.  The Dept of Econ and Community Development gives away state $$ to the politically favored.

And then some of the recipients happen to give campaign contributions to the party in power.

Example: NBC Sports/Stamford gets a First Five grant of $20M from the state.  Ten NBC Sports execs gave about $7K to the CDSCC.

Example: Mystic Aquarium got a grant for almost $600K last year. The president and VP contributed $8,500 to to the CDSCC.

Example: Goodspeed opera House got $77K in state grants.  Executive Director gave $5K to the CT Dem State Central Committee.

Sources:
http://www.ct.gov/ecd/lib/ecd/Econ_Dev_Prog_Rpt_July_2014.pdf (spreadsheet at end)

http://www.transparency.ct.gov/html/searchGrants.asp

http://www.fec.gov/fecviewer/CandidateCommitteeDetail.do
Committee ID : C00167320

People should be able to voluntarily give what they want to the candidates they like.  But stop letting the state give away tax dollars (that are collected involuntarily) to these private orgs.  It is crazy and sure looks bad.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 16, 2014  7:08pm

Don’t be surprsed if Malloy gets a “pat on the back” with this devious caper from his idol and soul-mate Pres. Barack Obama. Obama won elections by also not playing by the rules.

posted by: Breeze | October 18, 2014  8:56am

Just read the first 20 comments and pretty predictable. It’s like you guys live in another universe. This sounds like the same crowd that wanted to impeach Clinton for lying about his favorite color. (Remember, though, what the Republican judge said on the P. Jones case: the Lewinsky affair was immaterial to a lawsuit that was without merit.) Then this crowd voted for a president that is arguably the worst ever (remember him telling us that the surplus was “your” money and how you guys lapped that up without blinking, without even mentioning the 25 years of deficits that preceeed the surplus?). Then you guys flipped out when we elected a president with a foreign sounding name and to underscore that he isn’t a “real” American, you embarrassed yourselves and were labeled birthers. Oh and let’s not forget the debt ceiling and your infantile threat to take the ball and go home if you didn’t get your way. This story about the Malloy mailers is perfectly suited to stir up the reactionaries and zealots, the ones who never tire of predicting doom and gloom. Carry on with the cacophony of whining. It’s what you do best.

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