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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nancy Johnson proves again that she'll do anything for a buck

Remember that much-taked about photo-op Nancy Johnson had with Sen. John McCain in Danbury on Monday. Well, what the Danbury News-Times failed to inform the public was what Nancy Johnson had planned to do later in the day.

Johnson attended a fundraiser on behalf which was hosted by associates of former disgraced Governor John Rowland and former disgraced state Treasurer Paul Silvester.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson on Monday held a much-publicized fundraiser in Danbury with U.S. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and possible presidential candidate in 2008.

But Johnson, R-5th District, also is scheduled to hold another fundraiser across the state line next month that is likely to receive far less attention.

That event, a $500-per-person cocktail party at a hotel near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is being sponsored by several associates of former Gov. John G. Rowland and state Treasurer Paul J. Silvester, both of whom were convicted and jailed on federal corruption charges.

These aren't simple assocaites, these buddies of Rowland screwed the state big time and are the type of grade-A special-interest greedy individuals that will make you sick to your stomach.
But invitations to next month's fundraiser for the 12-term congresswoman in Cambridge, Mass., indicate that its "host committee" includes Ronald C. Kaufman, Anthony Ravosa, and Herbert F. Collins.

Kaufman, a Republican National Committee member for Massachusetts, was the lead fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association when it was headed by Rowland, who appointed Kaufman's wife to direct the governor's Washington, D.C., office.

Kaufman, who worked hand-in-hand with Rowland raising millions of dollars in campaign contributions for Republican gubernatorial candidates across the nation, is also a lobbyist who was paid $500,000 to try to help win federal recognition for the Eastern Pequots.

Ravosa, a former Springfield City Council member who now lives in Glastonbury, is president of the Vince Group, a consulting company that has had ties to the energy industry.

Ravosa, who has been a registered lobbyist in Massachusetts, hosted a fundraiser similar to that planned for Johnson during Rowland's first re-election campaign. The event also was held out of state, in the offices of a Boston law firm.

Ravosa is perhaps best known as the man who put Rowland together with officials from Enron at a meeting he set up in the governor's office in December 2000.

Ravosa also had taken an Enron representative on a tour of Connecticut to inspect sites for a fuel-cell project the company had planned with the state trash authority - one of two deals with the quasi-public agency that collapsed after the corporation's spectacular financial failure.

Enron documents show the company had offered Ravosa an unspecified "success fee" in connection with the fuel-cell project.

Herbert F. Collins, the co-founder and chairman of Boston Capital, a leading investor in multifamily housing and one of the largest owners of apartments in the country, was one of the biggest contributors to Silvester's failed 1998 election campaign.

Silvester as treasurer also had served as a director of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the quasi-public agency most responsible for dealing with the Federal Housing Tax Credit Program under which Boston Capital invests.

The firm also was a client of the New London law firm Tobin, Carberry, O'Malley, Riley & Selinger, which served as counsel to the underwriters of all nine bond issues the authority sold in 1998.

It seems like the Congressowoman knew her association with Rowland would sound alarm bells so, in a effort to avoid the Connectitcut media, they decided to hold the 500 dollar-a plate fundraiser across the border in Massachusetts that night.

How discreet .

Johnson's campaign were unavailable for comment and who could blame them. They did all they could to keep this shady fundraiser under the radar and they're hopng that this story will go away and they might get their wish simply because papers like the News-Times let things like this go unreported.

One of the major complaints people have about Johnson is her close association to lobbyists and special-interest groups as well as her willingness to accept contributions from these groups at a alarming rate. We've seen this best illustrated by the now famous MoveOn.com ads detailing Johnson's connection to special interest groups.

Under-the-radar events like this from Johnson seems to reinforce those criticisms.