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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Are Democrats slow to condem Newton

An interesting article appeared in today's Connecticut Post in which Republicans express outrage and accuse the Democratrs of being hypocritical in their unwillingness to condem Sen. Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport).

From the Connecticut Post
As Democrats seeking the governor's job said Monday that Sen. Ernest E. Newton II should not be forced to resign despite accusations of bribery, Republican leaders said their political opponents are trying to pick and choose which corruption scandals they address.

"It's hypocritical, to say the least," said John Cattelan, executive director of the state Republican Party, Monday.

Newton, a Bridgeport Democrat, is under federal investigation. This month, Warren K. Godbolt of Bridgeport, the head of a nonprofit job-training agency, pleaded guilty to bribing a state official, identified as Newton, for help in obtaining state money for his organization. Court records show the FBI intercepted hundreds of phone conversations in the investigation.

Republicans note that the Democrats were quick to seek GOP Gov. John G. Rowland's resignation last year when it was revealed that state officials, contractors and subordinates had helped remodel the governor's summer home at Bantam Lake. The governor later pleaded guilty to one corruption charge, "theft of honest services," and is serving a year in federal prison.

But the three Democrats who have declared their interest in the gubernatorial race — New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy — all said Monday that Newton has time to decide whether to return to office when the Legislature reconvenes in February.

"I'm not surprised," state Republican Chairman Bill Hamzy said Monday of the Democrats' response. He said that in light of Godbolt's guilty plea, he doesn't see why majority Democrats don't at least call for a Senate investigation.

The Democrats are digging themselves in a hole over the Newton affair and it would be wise at this point for the leaders to be more vocal in their displeasure of him as they had no problem blasting Rowland over his affairs.

This case is not going to get any better for Newton or the Democrats and the faster they distance themselves from him, the better it will be for the party as a whole. Newton is not a politician the Democrats can afford to stand behind at this point.