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Friday, December 16, 2005

Will this translate into trouble for Gov Rell?

The small dark cloud over Gov. Rell is slowly getting larger by the day.

From The Hartford Courant
Investigators working for the state's chief criminal prosecutor began interviewing state commissioners and other political figures Thursday to determine if any of them broke the law by soliciting campaign contributions at the direction of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's top aide.

The investigators began appearing unannounced at state office buildings before noon, seeking to question the commissioners and other political appointees about what they did with invitations to a Dec. 7 fundraiser for Rell's gubernatorial campaign.

The governor's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, had distributed the invitations to commissioners at her Capitol office. Some commissioners have acknowledged passing the invitations along to their politically appointed deputies. That could violate a prohibition against campaign solicitations by commissioners and their deputies. If a violation is found, Moody could be implicated through her involvement, lawyers familiar with such violations said.

At least five commissioners were visited by the investigators Thursday. Some later acknowledged being interviewed by the investigators, while others declined comment and referred all questions to Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano. The commissioners' responses to the investigators varied, according to political and other sources familiar with the matter.

[...]

Rell was informed that her commissioners were being questioned, but didn't know how many were approached by investigators, a spokesman said.

"I am aware that investigators from Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano's office are interviewing commissioners, their deputies and others regarding the handling of invitations to a recent campaign fundraiser," Rell said in a statement issued by spokesman Judd Everhart. "I am pleased that Mr. Morano is acting with all due haste. I expect that everyone involved will fully cooperate with any inquiries."

Everhart said he was not aware of unconfirmed reports that a couple of commissioners declined to answer questions without first consulting lawyers. He declined further comment when asked whether Rell would take action against appointees who failed to cooperate with the investigation.

Morano's agency is the second to investigate the fundraiser for possible election law violations.

Jeffrey Garfield, director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, disclosed Wednesday that he was opening an inquiry. Garfield can impose fines if he finds violations. Morano's office is empowered to look for, among other things, criminal violations that carry penalties of as much as five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

We'll have to see how this all plays out but at this point, someone in the Governor's inner circle has alot of explaining to do.

It's one thing to claim not know what shady things Govenor Rowland was doing while Rell was second in command but this nonsense happened under her watch with her chief of staff.

The people of this state deserve an explaination into this matter and hopefully we'll get one soon and/or the Goernor takes action against anyone who violated the rules soon. Someone who is running for re-election, Rell doesn't need this type of drama hanging over her neck and you know DeStefano and Malloy would like nothing more than to turn this into a campaign issue.