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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Gov. Rell does the right thing

Hat tip to Governor Rell in coming clean with the release of her donor list from the now infamous Dec 7th fundraiser.

What she does with her CHeif of Staff Lisa Moody is another matter...

From The Hartford Courant
After nearly a month of indecision, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's election campaign said Monday that it is close to making public the names of about 75 mostly senior administration employees who attended a controversial fundraiser now under investigation by two state agencies.

Rell's campaign press secretary, Rich Harris, said Monday afternoon that the governor's campaign personnel were calling people who donated at the Dec. 7 fundraiser at the Marco Polo Restaurant in East Hartford "to let them know of the governor's intention to release the list of names."

Harris said it is possible that the names will not be released today, because the campaign's priority is to meet a deadline of midnight today for filing its official campaign financing report with the secretary of the state.

The Courant last week listed 15 commissioners and agency heads identified by sources as having attended or made contributions in connection with the fundraiser. Sources say the list Rell's campaign will release will include at least nine other department or agency heads in addition to those previously reported.

The contributing commissioners or agency heads not previously reported include Banking Commissioner John Burke, who gave $500; Homeland Security commissioner James Thomas, $100; Revenue Services Commissioner Pamela Law, $2,450; Connecticut Innovations Inc. President Chandler Howard, $2,500; Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, $2,000; Agriculture Commissioner R. Philip Prelli, $2,500; Children and Families Commissioner Darlene Dunbar, $1,000; Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Thomas Kirk, $1,500; and S. Derek Phelps, executive director of the Connecticut Siting Council, $1,000.

Many of the agency and department heads were accompanied by deputies or other high-ranking members of their staffs.

There is nothing illegal, in itself, about such an aggregation of appointees at a fundraising event.

But questions of illegality have arisen in connection with the Marco Polo event because Rell's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, handed multiple invitations to several state commissioners in the governor's Capitol office suite - some with her handwritten notation to "bring check" - and asked them in turn to give invitations to subordinates.

Officials who passed the invitations on to others may have violated a state law banning the solicitation of campaign contributions by "any department head or deputy department head."