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Thursday, October 12, 2006

DeStefano files ethics complaint against Rell

It seems like Governor Rell was a tad bit dishonest when it comes to her accepting campaign contributions from state contractors and John DeStefano is calling her out on it.

From DeStefano's press release:
The DeStefano gubernatorial campaign filed a complaint today with the Elections Enforcement Commission concerning the October 10th filing of the "Jodi Rell 06" campaign finance report. Reviewing the report, it's clear that Gov. Rell accepted money from state contractors, but broke the law by not reporting it.

"Since starting her campaign Gov. Rell has maintained that she will not take money from state contractors," said Derek Slap – Director of Communications for the DeStefano campaign. "Gov. Rell has consistently broken that promise. Now, with her recent filing, it's apparent the governor has crossed a line: she and her campaign are breaking the law by hiding the fact that she is taking money from state contractors."

Chapter 150 sec. 9-333j of Connecticut 's campaign financing laws specifies: "Each statement filed under subsection (a), (e) or (f) of this section shall include.... for each individual who contributes in excess of one thousand dollars in the aggregate... a statement including whether the business with which he is associated has a contract with the state which is valued at more than five thousand dollars."

In at least three instances Rell's campaign failed to identify state contractors on its October filing, a direct violation of the aforementioned law. The Department of Administrative Services shows contracts for several companies whose employees gave more than $1000 to Rell in the aggregate.

(1) William J. J McGrath's $2,500 contribution on 9/19/06 is not marked as a state contractor contribution. His employer, Halloran & Sage has at least a $50,000 contract with the state.

(2) Deborah Poerio's $2,500 contribution on7/11/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. Her employer, Manchester Memorial hospital has at least a $40,000 contract with the state.

(3) Norman Marieb's $2,500 contribution on 7/19/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. Her employer, Hospital of St. Raphael , has at least a $40,000 contract with the state.

It is likely that these examples represent only a small portion of state contractors that have not been reported in the October filing. This is because DAS does not record all state contracts. There are good reasons to believe that the following also have state contracts:

(1) Rupesh R. Shah's $1,500 and Jane M. Swift's $2,000 contribution on 9/19/06 are both not marked as state contractor contributions. They are both directors at WellCare.

(2) Steven H. Kaplan's $1,250 contribution on 9/7/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. He is the president of the University of New Haven.

(3) Dijuana K. Lewis' $1,500 contribution on 8/30/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. She is the president of Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

During Monday night's debate the Garde theatre in New London , Gov. Rell said, "I pride myself on being the only governor to not take special interest money to fund my campaign."

It's now clear that the Rell campaign is willing to break the law to perpetuate that myth.

"We believe the Elections Enforcement Commission should immediately launch an investigation so this matter can be resolved before Election Day. Voters deserve to know the truth," said Slap.

Now, lets go to the video tape and watch as DeStefano rips Gov. Rell's claim that she didn't take any contributions from special interest groups or state contractors. Pay particular attention as Rell refuses to answer any of DeStefano's charges.

Finally, lets go back in time and see what the print media had to say about Rell's contributions.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell - whose office only last weekend issued a statement declaring that she wasn't accepting campaign contributions from state contractors and lobbyists - has received a total of at least $175,000 from more than 200 individuals employed by state contractors and two others identified themselves as lobbyists, state records show.


The reports filed by the governor's campaign committee with the secretary of the state's office reveal that dozens of her biggest benefactors between November 2005 and June 2006 weren't low-level employees at companies that hold state contracts, but high-ranking executives.

Those who filled out a space on Rell's campaign contribution forms identifying themselves as employees of a state contractor, each of whom gave $2,500 to the governor, include:

* Five top officials at three of the biggest insurance companies in Connecticut: Ronald A. Williams of Farmington, president of Aetna; Alan M. Bennett of Madison, chief financial officer at Aetna; Craig R. Callen of Hartford, an Aetna senior vice president; David Johnson of West Hartford, chief financial officer of The Hartford; and Jay S. Fishman of Englewood, N.J., the chief executive officer, chairman, and president of St Paul Travelers.

* Three senior officials at Fairfield-based General Electric: Chairman Michael Neal of Weston, Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin of Weston, and Vice President and Senior Tax Counsel John Samuels of Greenwich.

* Three principals in MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., a New York firm that invests in both public and private companies: Ronald Perelman, the financier who serves as the firm's chairman; Howard Gittis, its vice chairman and chief accounting officer; and Barry Schwartz, its executive vice president and general counsel.

* Key executives at various other companies, including: George David of Avon, chief executive officer of United Technologies Corp.; Nathaniel D. Woodson of North Haven, chief executive office of the New Haven-based utility United Illuminating Co.; Michael J. Critelli of Darien, chief executive officer of Stamford-based Pitney Bowes; Larry R. Gottesdiner, chief executive officer of Northland Investment Corp., which owns the Goodwin Hotel and other Hartford properties; and Diane P. Wilson of Berlin, chief financial officer of Vertex Inc., a New Britain-based software and development firm.

Similarly, 59 individuals associated with firms with state contracts also have contributed $1,000 each to Rell.
They included Carl Johnson of Farmington, a partner Blum, Shapiro & Co. P.C.; James S. Ciarcia of Rocky Hill, a financial analyst at Northeast Utilities; William M. Samuelson of Cheshire, director of business and professional banking at Webster Bank; William Huntley, president of racing, sports, and gaming technology at New York-based Scientific Games Corp.; and Charles DiBona of Stamford, a broker at Marsh & McLennan.

The chief spokesman in the governor's office, Judd Everhart, trumpeted Rell's support for tough campaign finance laws in a statement issued last Saturday, when Rell and several legislative leaders were honored by three national watchdog groups.

The statement said the governor was "setting the tone for Connecticut's reforms" by following the requirements of legislation that has not yet taken effect, adding that "her campaign is not accepting contributions from contractors, lobbyists, and other sources banned from gubernatorial campaigns beginning in 2010."

Seems like the current governor has a history of imitating her predecessor and DeStefano's complaint will bring the whole issue of Rell's questionable dealings with state contractors back to the front burner.