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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lieberman forced to explain expenses

You learn alot about a politician when you look at their financial records and one should wonder why Lieberman took so long to comply with the Federal Election Commission's disclousure requests.

Could his connection to a Rowland crony have anything to do with it or are there more skeletons in Lieberman's financial closet?

From the Journal Inquirer
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman - responding to a second Federal Election Commission warning to fully explain his campaign expenditures - has provided the agency with details about the quarter-million dollars he spent on his re-election bid last summer.

The 84 pages show the three-term Democrat, who as of Sept. 30 had $3.4 million in campaign cash on hand, spent most of the $253,503 he disbursed over the summer on routine operating expenses, including travel, food and beverages, and printing, as well as on fees and salaries and benefits for his staff and fundraising consultants.

But they also show that the senator's travel expenses included a $4,600 bill from a helicopter service in New Jersey, Liberty Helicopter of Linden, and that he contributed $4,000 in "excess funds" to Vernon Democrat Joseph Courtney, the likely challenger of U.S. Rep. Robert Simmons, R-2nd District.

Similarly, the records reveal that Lieberman on Sept. 30 - the last day of the second quarter covered by his latest finance report - refunded $2,500 in contributions to his campaign from Mark Wertheim, a West Hartford businessman linked to the corruption scandal surrounding the now-imprisoned former Gov. John G. Rowland.

Wertheim has functioned as a landlord for a company owned by Wertheim's wife, which secured two leases for state offices at a former shopping center in Windsor that were worth at least $838,000 a year.

The Wertheims were personal friends of Rowland and his wife and had held a campaign fundraiser at their home for Rowland. Rowland had thrown Mark Wertheim a 50th birthday party at the governor's mansion, and the Wertheims treated the Rowlands to a skiing vacation at a condominium they owned in Manchester, Vt.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blasted the shopping mall leases as a "sweetheart deal" and the state auditors objected to changes made to them after an oversight committee had approved their outlines, saying they said would generate a $350,000 windfall for the Wertheims.

An FEC official wrote Lieberman's campaign committee in September, noting its failure to specify some $264,217 in operating expenditures and $16,892 in other disbursements. She added that the committee had until Oct. 31 to respond with either a written response or amendment to its latest report or face an audit or enforcement action.

The same official had sent a similarly worded letter to Lieberman's committee four months earlier, giving it until July 17 to explain $133,584 in operating expenditures that were summarized in its April quarterly report.
You heard of the expression "follow the money trail." Well, if the Journal-Inquirer can connect the dots between Mark Wertheim and Lieberman, you have to wonder other questionable donations you will find in Lieberman's financial records.